In this politically charged time identity politics is the rage. Everyone, it seems, is retreating into the safety of their respective chosen tribes. “I identify this way.” “I identify that way.” It is indeed dizzying. Perhaps the sense of belonging is what people need. The Bible really is relevant here. The Bible tells us exactly who we are.
We are human beings created in the image of God. God was happy with his creation and pronounced it “very good.”
Yet, the Old Testament prophets paint a not so pretty picture of the human race. In fact, in our Old Testament reading this past Sunday, Jeremiah 17:9, the prophet reveals that the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and incurably wicked; who can understand it?” What went wrong?
Paul the apostle summarizes this fall of humanity in Romans chapter one. In essence he says, that humans have foolishly pushed aside the clear revelation of God in both conscience and nature; and in its place have conjured their own imagination of God and followed that. He characterizes the heart of this fallen humanity as “an unthankful one” and one that no longer sees a distinction between Creator and creature.
We believe we are free to choose our identity—and believe there are multiple choices. Jesus in the Beatitudes speaks of only two identities. Those who believe in God and those who do not. The one he calls “Blessed.” Onto the others he pronounces “woes.” And interestingly, he describes the “blessed” as those who humble themselves before God. He calls them, “poor in spirit.” They recognize their spiritual poverty before God. And happily they accept the riches that are ours in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
There are many wonderful groups in this life with which to identify. But the one that is blessed by God is the one lived by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ and conducted in the context of His Body, the church. And, it is not so much an identity we choose, but a blessing bestowed upon us by the Grace of God.