~ In the following, I opine what I think is the case regarding the matter of identity. In part it is still tentative as I am still thinking it through.
Discussion of the matter of identity – as per Christian circles – seem to proceed in the following manner:
(1) First what is not your identity is pointed out and
Re: (1) -Negations
~ So for example it is pointed out that you are not your job. That is not who you are. Yes, it may be something that you enjoy doing and are particularly good at it, but at the end of the day – you are not your job. So for example, maybe you are a professional football player and excel at it and enjoy it. However at the end of the day, football does not exhaust who you are. There is something else.
~ Another example would be something like finding your identity in royalty. Maybe you are a member of the royal family of some nation. You are the Duke of SoAndSo or the Earl of SuchAndSuch perhaps. However yet still at the end of the day that is not what is fundamental to who you are. There is something else.
And the list goes on… you are not your Gautier clothes, your Bollywood looks, your Hollywood figure, your tatoos, your Chanel makeup, your tennis racket, your football, your guitar, your voice, your sports car, your tribe, your caste, your class, your estate, your rank, your education, your degrees, your title, your wallet, your bank account, your nationality, your ethnicity, your race, your culture, your sexual orientation, your marital status, your toys … at the end of the day none of this defines who you are… it is not fundamental to who you are.
~ In fact all this will one day pass away. As you age, your face and figure will wither. As you age your friends, your husbands, your wives, your lovers … will die. I could continue on but wont.
(Yes. I know some of this won’t go – for example I will still be Indian in heaven, but … it just wont matter then.)
(*Think about Leaf by Niggle, a short-story by J.R.R. Tolkien.)
(2) what your true identity is is pointed out.
Re: (2) – Affirmations
~ Secondly who you are in Christ is pointed out. At the end of the day, your fundamental identity is in Christ. In Christ you are redeemed, loved, accepted, forgiven, loved, chosen from before the foundation of the world (i.e. predestined), justified, God’s workmanship, …
And as for things like being a football player or being a member of the royal family, your job, your ethnicity, etc. – your identity in Christ permeates it all and either helps you with some of it (e.g. being a Christian football player – fairness, cooperation, etc.) or goes to war with some of it (e.g. ethnic pride).
So to recap, for Christians, this whole identity discussion seems to consist of two parts. The first part has to do with pointing out who you are not. The second part consists in pointing out who you are.
~ Understanding our identity in Christ helps us stand strong in the world. We are not swayed by people’s perceptions of us such nor do we try to conform to the patterns of the world. Rather it is how God sees us and what He expects of us that matters.