All identity comes from belonging.
If this insight is true, then the chief question of our existence will be: to whom or what do we belong the most?
Some will answer a physical characteristic.
Gender determines your identity and sexuality defines you. Therefore, sex and gender wars explain everything.
Race determines your identity and skin color defines you. Therefore, racial conflicts explain everything.
Nationality determines your identity and your country defines you. Therefore, your national origin explains everything.
Family determines your identity and your parents define you. Therefore, family ties explain everything.
Some will answer with a societal classification.
Class determines your identity and your social status defines you. Therefore, class divisions explain everything.
Income determines your identity and your paycheck and job define you. Therefore, economic disparities explain everything.
Culture determines your identity and your shared values and perspectives define you. Therefore, cultural biases explain everything.
Individuality determines your identity and only you defines you. Therefore, our own uniqueness explains everything.
Still others answer with a self-chosen activity.
My purchases define me, and I am what I own. Therefore, abundance or lack of possessions explain everything.
My achievements define me, and I am what I achieve. Therefore, success or failure explains everything.
My politics define me, and I am what I use power to progress or conserve. Therefore, our ideologies explain everything.
My art defines me, and I am what I listen to, watch, sing, play, write, build, or create. Therefore, our entertainments explain everything.
On a darker note, we can have:
My addictive substances, experiences, and relationships define me, and I am what I use. Therefore, our compulsions explain everything.
My wrongs define me, and I am what I violated. Therefore, our punishments explain everything.
The wrongs done against me define me, and I am how I’ve been violated. Therefore, our victimization explains everything.
My complaints define me, and I am what I object to and protest against. Therefore, our dissatisfaction explains everything.
On a biblical note, we all this to contend with:
My sin nature within defines me, and I am a slave of sin. Therefore, sin explains everything.
My religious affiliation defines me, and I am that label. Therefore, being inside or outside the group explains everything.
My religious morality defines me, and I am whatever level I’ve reached on the pyramid. Therefore, being more moral or less moral explains everything.
My idol defines me, and I am a worshipper of this person, place, activity, or thing. Therefore, I am becoming like whatever I worship.
The Surprising Way Out
Here’s the twist: all of these identities are part and parcel of this current world order, this fallen universal regime–the tired old creation populated by the same old humanity.
Light a supernova of illumination comes this truth: the only way out of these imprisoning identities is to find our identity in belonging to Someone outside of it all and infinitely beyond it all.
It’s in simply being His.
It’s in belonging to Him first, foremost, and ultimately in a way that overshadows and transcends all of our other belongings.
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” says the ancient prophet.
“Abide in Me and I in you,” says Jesus.
Dividing Then Joining
And now the Cross of Christ makes terrible sense: God had to find a way to sever us from our sin and all of its belonging, to divide us from the monster living within us, and join us to Himself in a brand new way.
He did so by joining us in our sin to Christ on the Cross, and putting it and us to death in Him.
When He died, we died with Him and all of our old ties, connections, and belongings died with Him.
When He rose, we rose up with Him a new person with a new identity–joined to Him forever and in union with Him perfectly.
All of the identities of this current life, everything based on the characteristics, classifications, and choices of our old nature, are invalidated and inoperative.
We belong body and soul to Him.
He and His choice alone defines us.
His love alone and being His beloved defines us.
By worshiping Him, we are becoming more and more like Him.
Being a new creature in Christ defines us.
This is the blessedly simple, and shockingly upsetting, answer of the biblical, born-again faith to questions of identity!
The Real Revolution
Hopefully you now understand why Christians are the most persecuted group on earth, why dictators and ideological one party states fear us so frantically and loath us so irrationally.
All the belonging and identities these bullies use to maintain their grip on power are rendered irrelevant by what God has done for us on Good Friday and Easter!
Not even death, which merely divides the soul from the body, can reverse what God has done!
The powers that be and all the identities they hawk are now irrelevant and utterly insignificant in the face of heavenly invasion now upon them.
The revolution of the new identity in Christ, the ultimate belonging to God, is the most subversive, most revolutionary movement to ever hit planet Earth!
All our old ties and present system-based allegiances are superseded and trumped by the supreme Christ and our relationship to Him.
It’s the only solution!