Who am I? This is a question we have all asked ourselves, either consciously or subconsciously. Every one of us has wrestled and struggled with our identity at times. Even the most self-assured of us questions who they really are down deep inside. Part of the reason for this struggle is where we allow our identity to come from. One of my favorite authors, Paul David Tripp, says it like this, “You will either define yourself vertically or horizontally.” What he is saying is that you are either going to let God tell you who you are, or you are going to let something or someone in this world tell you who you are. Rather than allowing our identity to come from God, we often let other things define us.
These influences come in various forms. For some of us, it is our past that defines us. We view ourselves as nothing more than a culmination of all of our mistakes and choices. We have allowed our past to determine who we are today, and greater yet, tell us who we will be in the future. It haunts us, enslaves us, and controls our lives. For some of us, it is people who define us. We get our identity from our relationships, what people think or say, or from who we are accepted by. We live life through our children, we live for the praise of people, or we run from relationship to relationship searching for our identity in a person or people. Possessions are another battle ground area for us. We think that our home, clothes, or image are where our identity lies. If I could just have… (you fill in the blank) then I would feel secure. Finally some of us think our performance determines our value. How successful we are in any area of life is where we are searching for our identity. For all of us, these are battleground areas and Satan loves to attack us where we struggle.
I want to leave you with two keys that will help you in the struggle of identity. 1) Ask God to help you win the battle in your mind. Much of this battle is fought in how we think. Scripture is filled with wisdom on how we are to win the battle of the mind. How we think has a direct effect on how we live. 2) We must root ourselves deep in scripture that we might have a clear understanding of who God is and who we are. In order for you to have a healthy identity, you must know the God of the Bible and allow Him to tell you who you are. Scripture is the way that God has revealed Himself to us in this way.
May God grant us victory in the battle of our identity. May each of us seek to define ourselves vertically rather than horizontally. Each week in April, we will be looking to God’s word on how to battle these areas. We hope you join us.
For His glory and your joy,