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9- The Power of IDENTITY

So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.  -Genesis 1:27-28

But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh…? God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”  -Exodus 3:11, 14

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.  -Revelation 4:11 

There are three basic types of people in this world – motivated by different things… Which one are you?

___ Thinkers.  Thinkers are educators, philosophers, authors, pastors, politicians.  They believe knowledge is power and want to help others know what they know.

___ Fighters. Fighters operate with a deep sense of courage and responsibility.  These everyday warriors care about defending the defenseless and protecting others.  They are cops, soldiers, and fire fighters.

___ Doers. Doers must be part of the action and are very results-oriented.  Farmers, laborers, and factory workers make the world go around.

Knowing HOW God made you is important in answering the question WHY He made you. The danger is that culture wants to redefine you.  This world’s fads would try to erase how you were made and rewrite a new identity.  

‘Counterfeit’ identities are offered by your Enemy on the following bases:

Pleasure (Happiness) – I’m the life of the party – I’m all about being happy & making people happy.

Possessions (Wealth) – I’m afraid that people won’t love me if I don’t pick up the tab.

Position (Accomplishments) – The size of my office and my trophy shelf give me a sense of importance.

Power (Authority) – I feel valuable because of the things I can do for others.

Performance (Success, Failure) – I worry that my foreclosure will cost me friendships.

Which ‘counterfeit identity’ is the most tempting for you to accept? (circle the one you most identify with)

YOLO

I’m sure you’ve run into YOLO, even if you didn’t know it at first.  YOLO means ‘You Only Live Once.’  It’s the mantra of the modern generation.  Live for the moment.  Live for your happiness.  Go for what you want and don’t look back.  Get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can!  YOLO.

But just because it’s popular doesn’t make it right.  The Apostle Paul said, in Romans 1, that living for pleasure apart from God ends in destruction – every time.  I will never find fulfillment, satisfaction, or happiness in things here.  I will never find anything that will give me a solid sense of identity apart from God.  Any real identity begins with God. It begins with how God relates to me and what God has assigned to me.

Through a burning bush, God called Moses to lead His people.  Moses asked a simple question of identity: “Who Am I?” (see Exodus 3). The answer came back through the fire: “I Am.”  At first, it doesn’t seem like God answers Moses’ question – but He did.  He gave us the pattern to searching out the answer to the question of our identity…

My ‘I Am’ begins in His ‘I Am’

The ‘I Am’ is the name of God that represents his eternal, all-powerful, self-sufficient faithfulness.  He is Life – unchangeable, uninterrupted, and immutable. My identity begins there.

I must realize that I’ve been uniquely created in His image to glorify Him (Ps 139:15-18).  I am not a cosmic accident.  I didn’t just arrive here by chance.  I owe God something.  I am an Image-bearer – that tells me who I am. God knew me before I was known!  Before I was named or known on earth, before I every knew my favorite color or flavor, before I lost my first tooth, before I worked my first job, before I experienced my first kiss, He knew me and had already determined my identity.

Let’s BOUNCE BACK

I really can’t go any further in getting unstuck until I come to terms with the purpose of my existence.  He has set the course of my life that I should live for His pleasure, and not mine only.  And you, too. He has planted certain loves, tailored passions, and specific drives in you… So are you fulfilling that calling?  Are you living up to your purpose as an image-bearer?

Here’s a simple exercise to get us thinking about identity… Write a 140-character-max biography of yourself. Here’s mine: “believer, family man, question-asker, communicator, hope-seeker, lover of chai, dark chocolate fanatic” As you can see, I like simple and to-the-point; no fluff. It only took me 42 tries to get it the way I want it.

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