In the movie “Bourne Identity” you have a man who wakes up out of unconsciousness to discover that he has no idea who he is. He doesn’t remember anything about his life, his past, his friends, or his enemies. Everything, even his very identity is forgotten. As the story progresses, this man is discovering that he has certain skills, abilities and resources that he has totally forgotten about. Amazingly, it turns out that this man was a Black Ops secret agent working for the government and he spends the rest of the story trying to piece together and recover his forgotten identity.
The movie is not believable in a lot of ways but there is one thing about the movie that’s true. Your identity is important and what you believe about your identity changes everything.
Who you think you are will play a major factor in how you live your life. If your identity is bound up in being a mom, if you view that as the core of who you are, then that’s going to have implications on what you do, the choices you make, your priorities, and so on. And while being a mom is great, what happens when your kids don’t turn out the way you want them to? What happens when your kids leave home? What happens when your children become more important than God?
If your identity is bound up in your job, that’s going to have major implications. A quick survey of the wreckage of thousands of broken homes and divorces are proof of the consequences of having that kind of identity. What’s more, what happens if you lose your job? If you hate your job?
For a couple of years the culture wars have raged over matters of sexuality, gender, and gay marriage. If the core of your identity is bound up in your sexual orientation and your sexual urges, that’s going to have ramifications and it will affect the choices and decisions you make.
Christians have a hard time getting identity right. Often our identity is bound up in the wrong things. We tend to anchor our identity in people or places or earthly things instead of in Jesus Christ and when the essence of our identity revolves around anything other than Christ, we have moved into idolatry. We are worshipping something else.
Paul Tripp says that we suffer from Identity Amnesia. We’re like spiritual Jason Bournes. Identity Amnesia is misunderstanding and replacing our identity in Christ. Tripp goes on to say that As a believer when you have confusion of identity you…are a sitting duck for sin’s insanity. Identity matters. Who you think you are matters. It will affect your life, your marriage, how you handle temptation, disappointments, and challenges. This is a big deal.
Recently many of the ladies at Harbins Church went through the book of Ephesians, a book that is all about God, what God has done, and your true identity in Him. I was privileged to participate by providing our women leaders with some of my notes based on my own prior research of this amazing book. Due to time limitations and the format of the ladies’ group meetings, I was unable to offer my complete teaching on Ephesians. Also, I received a couple of requests from people to make my notes available to everyone, and additionally, I felt burdened to help people who couldn’t attend the ladies’ groups, (like the men of Harbins and people outside of our church) to get a better grasp of this powerful book. After some thought and prayer, I am very excited to be launching a brand new blog series called “Identity Matters” which will take us, in greater depth, through the book of Ephesians. And just like Jason Bourne slowly rediscovered his identity and all of the resources and responsibilities that came with that, I pray that the book of Ephesians will help to wake us up to who we really are and the resources and responsibilities that come with our identity.
In 1903 John Mackay, who later went on to become President of Princeton Theological Seminary, wandered out into the hills of the Scottish Highlands at age 14 with his Bible and read through the book of Ephesians. It was a life-changing experience for him. Why? What did this young man see that was so powerfully life changing? He says, “I saw a new world. Everything was new. I had a new outlook, new experiences, new attitudes towards other people. I loved God. Jesus Christ became the center of everything. I had been quickened. I was really alive.”
I am going to be praying for you that as we explore the book of Ephesians, you will likewise be powerfully changed and moved as God opens your eyes in such a way that you see everything differently, because once your vision is clear, everything in your life will change.
Not understanding our identity biblically is like having blinders on and we need them supernaturally removed so that we really get it. This is why Paul prays as he does in chapter 1 verse 18, that his readers would have…
the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead…
Ephesians is all about taking the blinders off and helping us to see a whole new reality in light of Jesus Christ and that will powerfully change the way we do life.
In the next few articles we will look at the beginning of Ephesians chapter 1 as together we’ll consider three truths regarding what God has done for believers through the gospel and how that radically impacts your true identity. Those amazing, mind-blowing truths are that:
You were chosen by God the Father
You were adopted by God the Father
You are delighted in by God the Father
Getting those three truths deep in your heart will overflow into powerful change in your life. Stay tuned and I pray you’ll see what I mean…
Grace and Peace,