by Michelle Bauman, Director of Y4Life
Identity. It should be an easy topic to write about, especially for the Christian, shouldn’t it? After all, God’s Word repeatedly declares and defines my identity: I am a created child of God. I am handmade by Him, loved by Him, redeemed by Him, and sustained by Him. The gifts I possess are gifts He’s given me; all that is good comes from Him.
Yet, as I sit here crafting this article, I’ll admit, it’s not an easy one to write. In fact, it makes me a little uncomfortable. It’s not as if I haven’t written or spoken about the issue of identity lately; I talk about it frequently with youth. It appears in every presentation I give.
And it needs to.
Some of the most powerful attacks Satan makes against youth are direct attacks against their identity. Working to convince youth that they are accidents in a meaningless cosmos, mere blobs of tissue without value or worth, Satan corrupts truth. His perversions proclaim gender is fluid, that sexual intercourse is an act of pleasure apart from service to spouse and the marital union, and that the visual temptations present in pornography are preferable to the work of relationships. In an attempt to reshape identity, Satan laces woke culture with inflammatory messages that redefine human beings, recategorizing them based on single attributes and, in so doing, divides us along lines of race, gender, marriage, and religion. Yes, Satan is certainly at work to destroy the natural order God has created and replace it with the chaos he prefers. And the best place to start? Identity.
After all, that’s where he started in the garden, wasn’t it? Secure in the ordered home the Creator provided for His loved and created beings, Adam and Eve knew who they were, and they were not shamed by it. Yet, Satan craftily climbed in the backdoor and tempted them with a new and woke order for the world. They too could be like God, if only …. In an attempt to redefine themselves, Adam and Eve cut off their connection to the Giver of LIFE and embraced a corrupted identity made in their own image, an identity that could only lead to death.
And that reality brings me right back to the point of uncomfortability. I’m guessing it might lead you there as well because an honest discussion about identity pokes at my conscience, too. Like Adam and Eve, I too have reached for the things of death; I too have allowed others to define me. God’s truths confront my own temptation to give in to the persuasive and attractive definitions the world has to offer for self—definitions that are measured by intellect or abilities, titles or accomplishments, attractiveness, social status, wealth, or likeability.
But worldly definitions of self can’t last. All are vain. All are ash. All are sin. This way can only lead to death.
It’s easy to point out the failings of others—to shout cautionary warnings toward our youth, to vigorously enumerate the ways Satan is at work in the world to destroy God-given identity. It’s much harder to turn the mirror around and take a long look. It pricks a bit.
And that’s exactly why identity needs to be talked about, again and again. With Satan, the world, and our own sinful flesh at work to redefine us, we need the reminder of who we were made to be:
“A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Yes, we need the prick of the law so that repentance might abound, so that we might be the lights we were called to be.
Our true identity turns us back toward our Creator, the one who not only made us but also defines us in His Word. So, permit me to remind you of that truth once more: You are a created child of God. You are handmade by Him, loved by Him, redeemed by Him, and sustained by Him. The gifts you possess are gifts He’s given you; all that is good comes from Him.
Your identity and your value are, always were, and always will be, found in Him.