Why Identity Matters

The first day of summer, I thought, would be a great day to release my new book, From Glory to Glory: Finding Real Significance in an Image-Driven World. Little did I know that it was also National Selfie Day. Some researchers estimate that 93 million selfies are taken each day across the world. Selfies have become so amazingly popular that more people are now killed taking selfies than by shark attacks.

Why are selfies so popular? Because they are all about us. But do you realize that with but one minor exception, the entire world consists of others? It’s so easy to feel lost and obscure in such a sea of humanity that we work nonstop to get the world to take notice, to see that we somehow matter in the grand scheme of the universe. But how we go about finding our significance has a huge impact on the trajectory of our lives.

Take an imaginary journey with me back to the garden of Eden. Life. Wholeness. Peace. No fear. No shame. No oppression. But the shrewd serpent entered the scene and cast God’s trustworthiness into doubt. “Indeed, has God said?…You surely will not die!”

What came next was a statement that has been forever central to the human condition. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” Let’s stop right there! That’s it; that’s the temptation of all temptations. “You will be like God.” Is it not about identity? All of the sin, death, and destruction in our world are rooted in an identity issue. Because of this, identity matters. Innately, we sense these things and use masks and fronts as proverbial fig leaves to hide our shame and protect ourselves from ridicule.

Honestly, I never had a clue that the source from which we draw our sense of identity was such an important issue in life. Nor did I realize the central role that identity plays when it comes to spiritual matters. Who would have thought that the power of sin would be so intertwined with how we see ourselves and that God cares about who we become as much as what we do? Identity matters, and it matters a lot!

In exploring the Biblical perspective of identity, I came to realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just a message about a future destiny but also a present identity. The King of Glory so wants to share His glory with His covenant children!

Our options are limited. We can follow the world’s pattern and draw our sense of significance from our performance, appearance, knowledge, etc.—all metaphorical fig leaves with which we clothe ourselves in an effort to find significance and avoid shame. But it is here that sin thrives. Our other option is to secure our identities through a covenant relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords and to live with love, not self-validation, as our primary motivation.

These are deep concepts that can’t be adequately explored in one, two, or even three blog posts. That’s why I wrote From Glory to Glory: Finding Real Significance in an Image-Driven World as a forty-day devotional. You’ll want to pick up your copy soon. Your life will never be the same!