Most people struggle with identity at one level or another. In fact, many of us struggle with identity in varying intensities throughout our lives. Our gender, culture, churches, media and families influence and often try to force particular aspects of our identity upon us. As leaders in the church, identity is important as so often our identity can be wrapped up in what we do/accomplish or the state of our relationships. While healthy identity is a life-long task, there is a difference between healthy identity and unhealthy identity.
Stating the obvious, the only true and healthy identity is found in Jesus Christ. Everything that we are is because of the God of the universe who has created us. When I think about an identity in Christ there are several images or ideas that come to mind. First, our identity is as one ‘created in the image of God.’ We are created in the image of the triune God, we are image bearers and each of us is like God in one way or another, even in our darkest moments. Secondly, we are the ‘beloved.’ I was reminded of this by a friend and colleague recently. We get this imagery from Jesus’ baptism. Another identity that is important for us to embrace as Christ-followers and leaders is the recognition that we are ‘the redeemed.’ God has and will continue to redeem us and make us new.
While these are easy and obvious statements on identity, they are not always easy to live. Yet, as Christ followers and leaders we must live and embrace these identities, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of those that we lead.