John Calvin began his [book] Institutes of the Christian Religion,
“Our wisdom, insofar as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”
The “true and solid wisdom” that travels with an accurate and intimate knowledge of God is connected to a proper knowledge of ourselves. This is the great crisis of our day! “Whose Are We?” is inseparable from “Who Are We?” How we answer the first question determines how we answer the second.
A Cultural Identity Crisis
As our culture rejects our Creator, identity formation becomes more desperate, random, and mutable. LG becomes LGB, and then LGBT … LGBTQ … LGBTQ+ …. Characteristics, desires (good and bad) become the essence of who we think we are because we have no fixed point of reference. The core has been liquified and is poured into individual, culturally acceptable receptacles. What sounded like freedom becomes cultural cloning.
Jesus both rejects and redeems our previous identities. Our “old self with its practices” is put off, and our “new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator” is put on (Col. 3:9-11). We die to our old self to live as our new self. God’s thoughts of who we are begin to delight and define us; they are precious to us!
Biblical Identity Formation
This is what we read of in Psalm 139:14-18 when the psalmist declares,
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance …. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.”