Thursday, February 23, 2006

identity crisis

This morning in American literature, my professor took a brief hiatus from an off topic lecture and said something I thought was significant. We were discussing a short story by Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal,” a horrible short story in which a young man is faced with intense pressure to conform to what society wants.

My professor said, “The crime is in losing your uniqueness. Don’t lose track of your own individuality. . . Part of knowing yourself is knowing your place in history.”

The idea boils down to an identity crisis. Society says, “Who are you? Discover the real you. What is your purpose? Find the inner you.”

I believe there are three important questions: Do you know your identity? What/who determines your identity? What do you do about your identity? The question following these is: why am I here on earth?

At one point or another, humanity must ask themselves this question. In a secular world this question is so important that over 4 million copies of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life have been sold.

This question is so important that books, articles, and speeches have been devoted to it. It is so important that a big focus of today’s society is helping people feel good about themselves. Not knowing why you’re here, or who you are, can lead to depression. What is the point of life if you don’t understand your purpose in it?

These are questions I don’t have to ask, because I know the answer. I know who I am, because my identity is immutably linked to Christ.

I bear the legacy of Adam and Eve, who shortly after the beginning of the world, brought sin into the world. I am a sinner. There is nothing good in me.

Every act I do, anything I might consider “good,” doesn’t measure up. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”- Isaiah 64:6

That is depressing. No wonder anti-depression medications like Zoloft are necessary.

However, I have reason to rejoice. I have not been left to die in my sin. I am the recipient of mercy. I was dead in my sins, but I have been redeemed and set free.
Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. . .”

Now I have a new identity. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”-Galatians 2:20

I am a new creation, born again, now a servant of Christ. “For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” -Romans 6:19

I know my identity. I am a daughter of my Lord and Savior. By saving me from inevitable eternal suffering, Jesus has determined my identity.

What can I do about this identity? I will glorify God and enjoy Him forever!

A Christian brother said something significant today. He said, “People wonder why I’m so happy, and I want to tell them why.”

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11

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