Lots of people in our nation suffer from identity crisis. Some don’t even know who they are anymore. They may not be happy with who they are and spend lots of money in search of becoming someone they would like to be. For a lot of people their identity is tied to their jobs, careers, looks, fame, money, spouse, sexual preference, etc. If your identity is tied to your job, then when you lose your job, you lose your identity; the same if you built your identity on your spouse, when he or she is gone, you will have an identity crisis.
In the movie, the “Bourne Identity” Jason Bourn (played by Matt Demon) tries to find out really who he is. He suffers from memory loss, but he attempts to discover who he truly is. He knows he has some great skills but he doesn’t know why? He also doesn’t know why people are trying to kill him.
A woman who grew up in a church chose to move her family to a different church where she would be away from her parents. She didn’t want to be known in the church as the daughter of x and y. She wanted to find herself in this new church. She wanted to find her own identity.
Identity crises can lead people to hopelessness, anxiety, depression, it could lead other to suicide.
There are lots of people in the Bible who experienced identity crisis, but God helped them overcome the struggle and God can help you overcome yours.
There was a man who was born Jew, but was raised Egyptian; all his education was from Egypt. He knew about his people because they were enslaved by the nation that considered him a prince. One day he saw an Egyptian mistreat a Hebrew and he came to the rescue. He killed the Egyptian and fled the land of Egypt because the Pharaoh was looking to kill him. He became a fugitive and went to live in a land as a foreigner, almost like a fresh start, leaving his past behind. Moses went to Midian (Saudi Arabia) to settle down, got married and had a son whom he named Gershom “I have become an alien in a foreign land”
Every time Moses looked at his son he would be reminded that he was an alien in a foreign land. Moses didn’t know what it meant to be Hebrew since he didn’t spend much time with Hebrew people.
One day Moses had an encounter with the God of the Hebrews while he was working as a shepherd; taking care of the sheep of his father in law. God appeared to Moses from a burning bush. God came down to meet with Moses and to send him on a mission. In their dialogue, we find two fundamental questions which you and I need to wrestle with.
God introduced himself to Moses as the God of his ancestors. I am the God that your ancestors worshiped. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God came down to send him on a mission. (v.10) Now go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses asked the first question: (v.11) Who Am I? You and I need to wrestle with this question. Who are you? Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites back?
Some people may answer this question like Moses, I am no body; I am just a shepherd, don’t have any abilities. Jason Bourn responded when asked who he was. He said, I don’t know; how you respond to this question says a lot about you. It tells us whether you have an identity crisis or not. It also tells us upon what you have built your identity. (I am a doctor, business, father, mother, spouse, pastor, nurse, etc.).
When Moses told God who am I? He was really saying, I am no body, you have the wrong person for this job.
When you are not sure who you are in life. Then it’s time to hear what God told Moses. “I will be with you.” This should make all the difference in the world. But Moses didn’t know much what those words meant; he had not dealt much with God in his life.
“From the very beginning God’s people are known as those whose God is with them. We belong to him, and there is no way we can define ourselves apart from God. It is his presence in us that enables us to accomplish the tasks he gives us.” (Francis Chan)
The Jewish people were known as the children of God; that was their identity. They belong to the God of the universe; occasionally they forgot and God had to send prophets to remind them who they were. They were God’s treasure possession.
Moses didn’t know much about the God of his ancestors; he didn’t quite know what it meant to belong to God.
2nd question: Who is God? What is your name?
God’s answer. I am who I am. (The LORD) Yahweh. This is God’s personal name. Used over 600 times in the Old Testament. I am who I am. The unchanging God, the Creator of the universe.
It took Moses many years to figure out that his true identity was found in Yahweh. He learned that to belong to the LORD is the best thing once could yearn for. Moses didn’t do anything without checking with the source of his new identity. Ex.33:15-16 Moses told God: if you are not going with us, do not send us from here, we are not moving if you are not going with us. It is your presence that sets us apart from other people on the face of the earth. No more identity crisis for Moses. He found his true identity in the LORD.
If you are a Christian and still struggle with who you are, you need to be reminded that you are a child of God. You cannot define yourself apart from God. You live because he lives.
Paul said that in Him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28
Whoever you think you are if it’s not built upon God; then it will be a matter of time when you will have an identity crisis. Who you are needs to be found in Jesus and nothing else.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor. 5:17 The moment you come to the LORD, you are given a new identity. God is your Father. You are called a child of God. The Christian is truly someone who is in Christ, someone who finds his/her identity in Christ.
Your struggles with identity will go away once you get to know very well the source of your very self.
When you don’t know who you are, you don’t know God very well.
Get to know God more fully, and you will truly know yourself.