The world we live in today is going through its own personal “Identity Crisis. Looking all around us, we realize no one seems to be happy or content with who they are, what they have, or where they are going. Unfortunately, this, at times, has characterized the Christian entrepreneur and the church as a whole. Since we were born into sin (Psalm 51, KJV), being made subject through our flesh to, at times, go through the same struggles (Roman 7). Mix that with the unbalance perspective on prosperity that has overridden the church today, and it’s no wonder, so many of us have gotten off course and lost sight of our true identity and purpose.
The prodigal Son represents what happens when believers go through a spiritual identity crisis. Some could say that the Prodigal Son represents every person’s quest to find their self-worth and true identity. Luke 15 brings us to the story of a man who had two sons, one of whom asked for his inheritance early. The bible said that he took what his father gave him, left the safety of a loving home to embark on a tumultuous journey that would forever change his life, destiny, and purpose. Luke 15:13 states that after wasting all he had on ungodly living that he then joins himself to a resident of that country.
Many times, when our identity is in question, we will waste a lot of energy, money, and/or time joining ourselves to people, places, and things that are not for us(especially when it comes to business). We tend to latch on to things that do not represent who we indeed are because we are looking to find ourselves in those people, places, and things. This happens when we don’t know who we are in Christ. In our search for an identity, we seek to identify ourselves with someone or something to find personal and at times, spiritual significance. There is a tendency to attach ourselves to titles, positions, material possessions, and relationships. We try to convince ourselves and anyone else around us that we are, in fact, somebody. We often look for something outside of ourselves to be able to ascribe to ourselves some kind of value, significance, or self-worth.
In my own personal life as a Christian entrepreneur, I worked very hard to become somebody. I went to school and obtained various degrees, I worked my way up to the job, salary, and material possession I always wanted. I did all this in the hopes of gaining self-respect and the respect of others. I thought I had arrived when I was able to live where I wanted to live, work where I wanted to work, pull up in that new car that I always wanted to drive, and bring home the salary that I desired. But a funny thing happens when you try to define yourself through things. For me finding my true identity required that I go through a stripping. All that I used to identify myself with had to be removed before I could realize what truly characterized my identity. As each thing was stripped away, the question became, “who are you now?”
At times the things we hold on to and use to identify ourselves act as roadblocks and spiritual barricades in our growth and development with Christ. At times it’s not until we are stripped of those things or else we are overcome by the vast void and emptiness of trying to find our identity in anything else other than the true source, do we wake up. The bible says that the Prodigal Son attempted to fill up on the “husk the swine did eat.” It was his quest for fulfillment that led him to “come to himself” When he realized that who he was could not be characterized by possessions, meaningless pursuits, or even swine husk then the bible says, he woke up.
What Are You Searching For?
The woman at the well is another excellent example of this quest. In John 4, we find her coming to the well trying to fill up. We see her trying to quench the inner thirst that haunts us all with water from the well. This serves as evidence that she thought very little of herself based on her response. She asked Jesus, “How is it that you being a Jew ask me for a drink” (John 4:9)? It took Jesus prophesying to her that not only did she use water as a substitute, but she used men and vain religion as well. She kept returning to the well, moving from man to man and practicing her religious traditions all to define who she was (John 4:7-19). It took that meeting at the well to forever change how this woman identified herself (John 4:19-30). One thing that happens when we find our identity is that it allows us to walk in our calling. Now the bible states that after having met Jesus, this woman became an evangelist (John 4:29, 30, KJV).
Jacob is yet another example of man’s identity crisis. We know that Jacob struggled with his identity. Our name is one of our first identifiers from birth. Jacob’s name meant supplanter or trickster, which describes a good portion of Jacobs’s life. He struggled in the womb for positional authority. He used deception to trick his father and brother out of his brother’s blessing and cheated his brother later, out of his birthright. His struggle cumulates with a wrestling match with an Angel. I believe that Jacob’s wrestling with the Angel represented the struggle between the old man and the new. It represented him being changed both inside and out. When Jacob wrestled with the Angel, he fought to find his true identity and purpose. God changed Jacob to the point where everything about him had to change, even his name.
We must realize that identity is important to God. One of the first things that God does, after He saves us, is to give us an identity. “But as many, as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God…(John 1:12, KJV) God intended for his children to identify themselves with the family of God. Please remember, you’re not so much an Christian entrepreneur but more so a Christian who happens to be an entrepreneur. In Ephesians 3:14-19, The Lord speaks through the Apostle Paul of a family of God in heaven and on earth and that Christians (the members of this family) should be rooted & grounded in love, with Christ dwelling in our hearts. He goes on in Galatians 4:19 to say that Christ should be formed in us, and in verse 14 that our identity should be so wrapped in Christ that we are received as Christ Jesus. Our identity can be found in putting off the old man and putting on the new (Ephesians 4:22-24; 2 Cor 5:17, KJV). One of my favorite scriptures is Galatians 2:20, where he says, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me… It’s not just a cliché, but you may be the only Christ someone sees.
In My Conclusion
The Lord is our Shepard, so we shouldn’t want. When we are longing for fulfillment and seeking to find our identity in meaningless pursuits, we must ask ourselves when and where did I leave the fold? Because the Shepard takes good care of His sheep, and we shall not want (Psalm 23:1). We all must return home to the Shepard of our souls to find our true identity. We must worship Him in Spirit and truth. We must wrestle by travailing in prayer all night if need be like Jacob did. When we struggle with our identity, there are actually spiritual forces at work.
There is a wrestling going on between who the world, people, our thoughts, our flesh, and the devil says we are versus the truth of who God says we are. Even Jesus himself faced a struggle with identity. At three distinctive times in his life and ministry; The wilderness, the garden, and on the cross. It was in and at these places that God in the flesh wrestled against the flesh and the devil. The awesome thing as we examine the scripture is that God in the flesh won every time.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Repeatedly Jesus also was tempted to identify himself with something other than God, but he said, “He wouldn’t give in to the temptation” (Matt 4, KJV), “Not my will be done,” and “It is finished.” He rose again, overcoming death, hell, and the grave all to give us that same power, purpose, and victory. When it’s in Christ that we live, move, and have our being then the “Identity Crisis” ends, and we become “Complete in Him” I have since learned not to identify myself with any other label other than a “child of God.” Even calling ourselves servants is subject to change because what happens when you are unable to serve? It’s only through Christ that we find “True Identity.”
You are Built up in Him Colossians 2:6
You are a citizen of the Kingdom of God Ephesians 2:19
You were created to produce good works Ephesians 2:10
You are fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14
Wake up to who you are and claim your rightful place of identity and authority. If you haven’t accepted Christ as your Savior, there is no other way to find true identity. If you don’t know him, then repeat this prayer…
“Father God, in the name of Jesus, I have sinned against you, and I am a sinner. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and rose again. Come into my heart, soul, and life. I give you my life. Be Savior and Lord. Thank you for the gift of salvation.”
LaTanya “Epiphany” Richardson is an accomplished author.
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LaTanya Epiphany Richardson
M.S.Ed, RMHCI Author|Speaker|Prophetic Life Coach|PublisherSPEAKER