Is my identity summed up in my sexuality — whether gay or straight? (It may be, if that is the focus of my life.)
Or is there a better basis for my fundamental identity?
Jesus came to give us a new identity and a new focus. Paul says that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) John writes, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. ” (John 1:12, 13 NIV) So the new birth makes us children of God!
So which identity shall I claim — the identity the world places on me or the identity God gives to me?
The identity the world assigns to me is divisive. It divides Christians into “gay” or “straight,” with each striving for “rights.”
The identity God gives to you and me unites us — we are all children of God, though we each have our unique struggles.
It is interesting to see how Paul dealt with the matter of identity. At one time he called himself the “chief” of sinners, in emphasizing his need of grace. (1 Timothy 1:15) Yet he consistently referred to all believers as “saints” — even those belonging to the unruly congregation at Corinth. (e.g. Romans 15:25, 1 Corinthians 6:1, 2) And he also calls himself an “Apostle of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 1:1)
So it seems that we are both saints and sinners. We will ever be sinners in need of the saving grace of Christ, at the same time that we are saints and children of God. Our realization of being sinners should make us cling to Jesus for strength, and that very clinging identifies us as saints.
Paul chose to celebrate his relationship with Jesus Christ (See Romans 15:17, 1 Corinthians 1:31) rather than his identity as a bona fide Pharisee (and persecutor of Christians).
Which identity will I celebrate?
Which identity will you celebrate?