Last weekend I had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of David Powlison at the CCEF National Conference, which inspired some helpful introspection on the subject of identity.
Near the beginning of his talk, Powlison asked, “Who are you really? What defines you?”
It’s a big question! Where do we seek our identity? Does my social media profile tell the story of who I am? Does the way people view me determine who I am?
These common misdirects are accompanied by so many others. If you know God, then here’s what’s true of you:
You’re not defined by your job;
Or your health;
Your family, whether family role or family history;
Your ethnic background;
Your current suffering.
These things may be factors in your identity, but they don’t ultimately define you.
“You are defined by your relationship with the living God.”
Powlison’s words cut swiftly through the noise of identity crisis. He continued, “You must get who you are straight. And who you are is that you belong to God.”
Short. Simple. To the point.
Our relationship with Jesus says so much – all the most important things reside there. It says we are:
Pondering this list, I realize that so much weariness in my life is rooted in identity amnesia – in forgetting what’s at the core of my identity. Rather than being defined by my relationship with the living God, I grow concerned with lesser defining factors that are always in flux.
Jesus offers something better. And that’s a truth I hope to never forget.
When the weight of identity misplacement lies heavy on me, there’s a song I love that helps open my eyes to what’s true. The song is called “Come to Me,” and here are some of its lyrics:
Weary burdened wanderer
There is rest for thee
At the feet of Jesus
In His love so free
Listen to His message
Words of life, forever blessed
“Oh, thou heavy laden
Come to Me, come and rest”
There is freedom, taste and see
Hear the call, “Come to Me”
Run into His arms of grace
Your burdens carried, He will take
While God is faithful to change hearts and minds in the lives of His children, we also understand that change is a process, and often times far from simplistic or quick. Habits of life and thinking tend to change over time as the Holy Spirit works in hearts. This process of change is called “progressive sanctification.” It can be helpful and sometimes necessary to seek help from other Christians who can faithfully lead and walk with us, providing biblical encouragement and instruction along the way for the implementation of God-honoring, Christ-centered change. If you are struggling with life’s challenges, we would encourage you to seek help from your pastor, a godly friend, or a biblical counselor who is committed to seeking answers from God’s Word. To find a biblical counselor you can contact us or visit biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor in your area.
Born and raised in the Dallas area, Ryan loves calling Texas his home. He met his wife Jessica at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, where he serves on staff and is a counselor for Grace Biblical Counseling Ministries. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, and in May 2015 he graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a B.S. in Ministry Leadership.