“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 ESV
In both the Old and New Covenants God gives his people an identity. They are his chosen people. God’s people are his possession, they belong to him. He has delivered them for his purposes. He has taken them out of a world of insignificance and given them significance. He has given them a sense of purpose and belonging.
Everyone in the world wants to feel the same way that God’s people do, but they don’t necessarily want to submit to God in order to feel that way. When people are given a sense of identity and purpose they can achieve incredible things. Unfortunately not all of those incredible things are good things.
Another term we can consider is fellowship. To fellowship with someone is to share things in common and to identify with one another. Fellowship comes in as many forms as there are people. Some fellowships are called Fraternities, Sororities, Clubs, organizations, churches and even gangs. When one joins one of these fellowships they obtain an identity. They are no longer alone, without a sense of belonging they have found a place of comfort and security. Identity is something we all crave.
Today there are many social and cultural groups in the world that are growing exponentially because as a group they are gaining prominence in the public eye. Some of these groups go to the extreme of ostracizing other groups because they disagree with their ideals. In a time of tolerance it is truly amazing how intolerant some can be. Tolerance is taught today so that every group or individual can find their identity and take pride in that identity.
While identity is healthy, it can be taken to the extreme. I will look at identity in greater detail in future posts. Meanwhile, let’s consider our identity as Christians. Do we identify with Christ in a healthy way or in the extreme?
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman