July 26, 2021
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In our town, Dr. Jennings was one of the most feared teachers in the school system. She taught music, and she began a new year in elementary school one year with a tirade that dumped all over one poor little boy who happened to raise his hand and say, "Mrs. Jennings..." At which she totally exploded and said, "Dr. Jennings, and don't you forget it!" And I want to tell you, that was only the beginning of what she said. You'd better call her Doctor. You get the distinct impression she really needs that title for her identity. But then, have you ever watched high school football players? I've worked with them a lot, and it's kind of fun to watch them, because in a sense, they're seldom seen in public without their letter jacket. You've got to have your jacket to kind of have your identity. Right? Who am I without my letter jacket?
And then what about top executives? I heard not long ago about some executive retreats where they got them in small groups and they said to them, "We want you to just answer this question tonight here in this relaxed setting. Who are you? Just tell us who you are, but you can't mention your company, your title, your position, or anything about your work. On your mark, get set, go!" You want to guess? I heard it was very quiet in the room, because not very many people could answer who they were without referring to their work or their position. You know, a lot of us are severely handicapped because we're basing our identity on something that...well, it just can't support us.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Throwing Away Your Identity Crutches."
Our word for today from the Word of God is from Galatians 3:26 and following. Paul says, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who are baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There's neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Now, that is a great statement of who you are.
Whatever titles you may have, your identity is or ought to be rooted in who the Bible says you are. Paul in this passage confronts some of those identity crutches. Some identities that literally wouldn't hold people together back in Bible times. He talks about Jew, Greek, slave, free, etc. You're not your racial group; you're not your religious group. Your identity isn't what social class you're from.
Now today I think there are three identity crutches. See if any of these have tripped you up. First one is, you are what you do. See, my identity, my sense of worth, my confidence, my fulfillment is based on what kind of grades I get, how I do in sports, how I'm doing in my business. So, when we fail, or we lose our job, or we retire, suddenly we're nobody.
Here's the second identity crutch. You are what you own. We're identified by the house we live in, the neighborhood, the clothes I wear, the car I drive. But that's never enough. A third identity crutch. You are who you're with. I'm an extension of my peer group, and that could be in any stage of life...not just in high school. Sometimes, though, we compromise so much to be there, we lose ourselves instead of finding ourselves. They turn away from you, and suddenly you're nobody again.
Now the real thing is this. You are who God says you are, Sons of God in Christ Jesus. If you've been to Jesus' cross to have your sins forgiven, you've been born into God's family, you can't beat that. You belong to Christ. That's one identity you cannot lose. You can lose your job, you can lose your income, your possessions. You can lose your friends or your health, your ability to perform, but you can't lose one ounce of who you are if you know Christ. You are and you always will be God's kid, with His unconditional love. And no one can add to your identity or take it away.
Not sure you belong to Jesus? You could settle that today by telling Him you want to. Our website will help you get there - ANewStory.com. I hope you'll go there.
Who needs identity crutches? You can walk tall in Christ because you know who you are, and you know whose you are.