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Monday, November 18, 2013

Perceived Identity

Who are you?

Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” Okay, right. Dogs think; fish think; birds think. Rocks don’t think; water doesn’t think; rugs don’t think. But, they are.

What do you think you are?

That’s is the idea behind “perceived identity.”

I know a little girl who watched Superman way back when televisions were new. She was convinced she could fly, though she needed a cape first. She and her sister fashioned a cape, and she climbed up onto the roof of their root cellar, built into the side of the hill. She stood on the roof, stretched out her little arms, and flew . . .

Straight down.

She believed she was Superman, but she wasn’t. (Blame the cape.)

In Spain, everyone has a national identity card. The law says you can be whatever you think you are. That is, if I wanted to have on my card that I am male, I could do that. I could continue to wear skirts, look like a woman, and act like the woman I am, but on my card, it would say “male.” I would not have to have any psychological analysis, take hormones, or anything. If I decided I “identified” as a male, I could legally be male.

Simple as that.

In the United States, there is somewhat of a furor about bathrooms. Can children who identify as something else use the other gender’s bathroom at school? (I’m wondering why children should be making sexual identity decisions at all.)

(In case you care, my card says “female.” I am content and comfortable with what I am.)

How do you “perceive” yourself?

John the Baptist knew who he was:
  • I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (John 1:23; also in Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; and Luke 3:4. It is prophesied in Isaiah 40:3). He knew he was on the earth to announce Jesus—and to fulfill prophecy.
  • John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:27-28, 30).

The Apostle Paul knew who he was:
  • For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God (1 Corinthians 15:9).
  • For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

Jesus knows Who He is:
  • I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (John 6:51).
  • Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
  • And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world (John 8:23).
  • Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7).
  • I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine (John 10:11,14).
  • Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25).
  • Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am (John 13:13).
  • At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you (John 14:20)
  • I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).

And, who are you?

Are you in Christ? Are you grafted into the Vine, so that you can bring forth fruit? Do you know you are a Christian?

You can know: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).

In the beginning of the church, Barnabus went to Antioch, left, and returned with the Apostle Paul. They taught the people for a year. The Bible says the disciples in Antioch were the first to be called “Christians.” (Acts 11:26) Christian means “follower of Christ.”

If someone were to describe you, would they call you a Christian?

If you describe yourself as a “Christian,” is it evident to others? Jesus said, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16).

What is your perceived identity?

Is it in Christ?

photo credit: <a href="">Fonzie's cousin</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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