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Heart To Heart

Shaping our identities with the Word

James 1:9-10 Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his elevation [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God], and the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown his human frailty], because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.

God is not just concerned about spiritual things. Nothing can be further from the truth than that. He is vested in the entirety of our lives – emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, you name it. And as part of our journey with Christ, we are called to master these aspects by bringing them under the light of Christ to be scrutinised, examined, and “operated” on, so that we can live fulfilling lives under His lordship.

We may be called “human beings”, but much of how we identify ourselves make us sound like we are “human doings”. Ask someone the question “tell me about yourself”, and you will quickly find out that the answers mainly revolve around an occupation. “Oh I am a doctor”, “a teacher”, “a business owner”, or “a civil servant”, etc. This shows how closely we tie in our sense of identity to something that we do. However, identity is centred very much in our “being” rather than the “doing”!

The apostle James was quick to point this out in his letter to the Jewish Christian diaspora. He addressed the people who saw themselves in two classes – the “haves” and the “have-nots”. In both admonishments, his advice to them was this - stop identifying yourselves in the light of your socioeconomic status – whether humble or wealthy – it matters not because in the place where you are going after you pass on from this life, all that matters is being where God is. All the things of this earth, be it suffering or glory, poverty or riches, downturns or upswings, are but a tiny whisper in the echoes of eternity.

Have we allowed ourselves to be drawn into an identity crisis based on the categories set by this world? Let’s allow God’s word to reshape our identity and how we see ourselves.

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