IDENTITY on the Aussie curriculum website (so our children and grandchildren are being taught this concept) is:
A person’s conception and expression of individuality or group affiliation, self-concept and self-representation. Identity is closely connected to both culture and language. Thinking and talking about the self is influenced by the cultural frames, which are offered by different languages and cultural systems. Identity is not fixed. - https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/languages//Glossary/?term=Identity
Q. Why write any more on Identity - isn't there stuff out there already on Who we Are?
A. Why do so many of us not know our identity in Christ? Why hasn't the gifts of the Spirit been encouraged in the church? (I don't make a habit of answering a question with two more questions. But clearly the Spirit wants us to have more tools in our pockets, and I shall explain...)
Identity is, fortunately for some of us, something that can be changed. Some of us are perfectly happy with who we are, where we are going, our circle of influence etc. but honestly, many of us don't think about it consciously, Identity. If we did, I am sure there would be a number of us considering getting off the current track, which feels more like a slicked set of rails for fast moving trains, to opt for a more peaceful, meaningful substitute.
I migrated from one country to another during the years 1985 to 2009; from NZ to UK, to Canada, to Jersey in the Channel Islands, to NZ, to Australia. And after 9 years in Western Australia, I was on the move yet again! to Queensland where I now live with my family and two dogs. I can testify that even though the language has been English most of the way, and in most cases a change of the prolapse kiwi "i" has helped, (but the accent issue is a whole other topic!) the geographical change in location alone forces one to adjust certain cultural, social and environmental climatic changes, which unknowingly affect our persona; our physical and mental outlook, our thinking and perception and the influences that condition our individual familiarities and comforts. In other words, our Identity is moulded in certain areas of who we are depending on the environment and culture, including language. All these areas filter into our spiritual, emotional wellbeing as well.
So it might seem to some of us, the train is travelling a little bit too fast? For others, it may be a painfully slow haul from one destination to the next!
Identity is central to Yahweh. It is everything.
Ephesians 2 v10 says For we are God's handiwork, His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1 Peter 2 v9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession...
Psalm 139 v1-6 Lord you know everything there is to know about me. You've examined my innermost being with your loving gaze. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You ready my heart like an open book and you know all the words I'm about toe speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins! You've gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a Father's blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength! (The Passion Translation).
Just read the Psalms to grasp our God and His identity. He is huge. Massive. Epic. Eternal. And He is right through the old and new testaments. His character pervades the Word, and Creation itself.
There are a number of identity issues taught in the Bible which happen to be main topic issues today: identity theft, identity crisis, and more.
I believe Identity issues are important to the Lord, especially as we all have them, whether we have migrated to our present home from another country, languages and customs have had to be learnt, technology in society is also on an escalating trend that personally I struggle with sometimes. Born in the '60s and calculators being the only technology you could carry in a bag, well. Yes it is sad, but a reality!
But this is why He is wanting us to know our identity in Him, to save us from ourselves despite the changing world around us, and the position of wherever we are today compared to where we were "x" number of years ago. How we feel about ourselves, others, where we feel we belong, how we view the world and more is something God is very interested in. He sent His only begotten Son to earth for the consummate reason He could reunite with us if our sin is dealt with. Jesus came to do that. And identity was something He had to embrace, therefore He can relate to.
Yeshua was here on this earth in Judea and Samaria (for the better part of it), for 33 1/2 years, a time of ruthless rule of a Roman empire built on forced labour in Rome 27 BCE - 395 CE and the conduct of a supreme militia that made it their mandate to invade countries of ancient custom and religion, such as Judea. This was shocking for the Hebrews, and yet the royal family had already taken on Roman persona in their names and laws and beliefs. So there was heated contention with the Sanhedrin and the temple and its priests were even more zealous to hold on to the old ways at the time and not to hand over to new rule, even a new Messiah. Yeshua identified with the yearning for country, ownership, belonging, from within back then.
He was described prophetically in Isaiah 53:
v2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem... v7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
And in Revelation 19:
v11 And there before me was a white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
What a powerful transition to a young baby and child, to a man who was brutally killed and to return again as an amazing warrior. Yeshua's identity has changed with his purpose and calling.
Today with how we view ourselves, our place in the world, how we are purposeful - it is all a continual weighing up of self from a personal perspective that generates our emotional and mental and physical sense of well-being. Our responses can pendulum from anxiety and low self-esteem to overwhelming enthusiasm and off the chart energy levels! It is a battle, and the situations life puts us in dictates to us seasons of joy, prosperity, loss, grief and sorrow, and gain. The ubiquitous paths of humanity try to dictate our lives, but we have a Saviour in Yeshua, and His ways are not the ways of the world. His ways are not our ways. Thanks to Him we have, at our reach, keys that bring the easy yoke and the lighter burden; the keys that unlock and break the chains of worldly and carnal issues that pervade and dictate our identity - rules and expectations and thinking we never asked for because we were born into it.
Identity, mandate, purpose and calling
I have personally struggled with these for a long time, especially low self-esteem as a young girl of 7 and often responsible for my younger sister when both parents were not there. Later as a single mum with three boys, it was important to be "seen" to have it together. I experienced anxiety, depression, a sense of loss, abandonment and rejection. There was also a period of time I was angry for family members 'bailing out' and I had to step in and maintain a status quo, and just doing my best because really what is the "status quo"? If I had not stopped and re-evaluated my life, my faith, and acquire new strategies - I was in seriously in danger of going off the rails. And it would have been messy.
Even as a Christian I was not prepared, because I did not even dream of needing strategies. I believed once saved, the work was done. Far from it! I was blessed to find myself with people who were Bible College teachers, prayers, and I had an administrative position in Bible College in WA thanks to a wonderful teacher and mentor Pastor Ashok Jalalabadi. I paid an insignificant sum for many courses for which I was hungry for tools, strategies, Holy Spirit downloads. When the Trumpet Sounds and Ministry of the Holy Spirit were life changing for me. From these two topics, I found myself researching in depth on Oracles, Prophets, Teachings, Movements from the Old Testament time in Isaiah, Psalms through the time of Yeshua to today, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is the basis for my ministry today.
Now years on from my own identity crises, I am able to look back on what I learned from that season and the gifts, talents and strengths I was given to help me get from there to here. So I am in the process of writing my IDENTITY series of books (there are four) and the first is about "Her". The second will be about "His". I am very excited about this subject, as God is wanting to impart new oil, new wine, He wants us to shed the old wineskin and take on the new.
With the difficulties, busyness and stress of life we seem to be experiencing more in these times, we really need a well-lit runway for us to use as we take off on our God-given tasks and missions. It is an exciting adventure, and I am on a mission to have them ready in the next few months and will post when these books are available.
We will also be running IDENTITY workshops just 4 weeks long (one per week) that will focus on releasing authority in teaching, the prophetic and creativity, for women initially. The first will be in November 2018 on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Please email us for more information.
I believe the church has been asleep, despite the past moves of the Holy Spirit and revival. She has been overrun in the political, education and social arenas through silent but pervasive engineering on a subliminal level through the media, and state laws. The church has been introverted, and she has mistakenly compromised her local identity for following false teaching for fear of being left behind on a global scale. Her primary role is standing in her identity in Christ in her local and national arenas, for the moral issues that she has unwittingly let fall down around her, and she is now looking for the Holy Spirit to impact her with a new power, to impress upon her her new identity.
This is a season of new beginnings in many ways. And we want to move forward in authority in our Identity!