Introductions. The few seconds where we decide how to tell new people who we are as a person. Every time we meet someone new, we almost instantaneously begin to formulate how we will put our best foot forward. We want to explain who we are as quickly as possible, so the other person will like us almost immediately. Our desire is to make a good impression that others will remember.
A sample introduction might look something like this:
“Hi, I’m John.”
“It’s nice to meet you Jim. I just graduated with my Masters in Biblical Counseling from Southeastern and right now I’m working as a landscaper. What do you do?”
You might start with something more general, like the reason you’re in the same place at the same time, but we quickly find ourselves asking and answering the question, “What do you do?”
As we meet new people, we are telling them what we do, not who we are. We are interested in the social capital of others and perhaps we want them to know that we have some of our own to give. In a society that is driven by social status, money, marital status and the desire to feel important, we have begun to find our worth not in who we are as people or what we are passionate about, but in what we “do” for a living.
When is the last time that you have introduced yourself without quickly getting to your job, title, significant others name, or for those of us in or recently out of the academic sphere, field of study?
The largest problem with tying our identity to a single part of us, such as what we do as a career, is that our identity is then situational. We would have to redefine ourselves often. Every time we change our position, get promoted, or get laid off, we are no longer able hold to our identity.
What happens when we no longer hold that title or position? What if we are unable to continue in the role we’ve been in for years? Do we cease to be the person we were?
The answer is no. We are still the person we have always been even if we have to relearn how we interact with the world around us.
To prevent ourselves from having to redefine ourselves continually, we must begin to fix our identity to something more permanent. Something never-changing; eternal.
You must affix your identity to the identity that you can be given in Christ.
We must stop considering how it is that we choose to write our story and understand how it is that our story fits into His larger story.
Understanding how you are part of His eternal story gives you the freedom to not tie your identity to your job or to another person, but to the creator of the universe. We must listen and hear who God says that we are as a part of his story. From the beginning, we have been made in the image of God Himself:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27) (ESV)
Beyond creation, when men fell to sin, we were apart from God and could no longer allow ourselves to be identified with him. Continually searching to redefine ourselves by our wealth, power, and abilities; however, because of God’s goodness we were allowed to know him once again. We were allowed to come to him. Through Christ death we are allowed once again to live as image bearers of God. We no longer have to seek to find our importance in ourselves but can put all of ourselves on Him. We can stop seeking to make ourselves great and instead seek to make His kingdom great.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:4-9) (ESV)
By allowing ourselves to be identified as children of the eternal King of the universe we have the constant, never-changing identity of “Child of God”. We will never have to redefine ourselves because we are told that Christ will never forsake us. We will never have to go back to the drawing board of life because once we have found our identity in Christ we cannot be fired or have to live in fear that our title will be revoked.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10) (ESV).