We men are often guilty of putting too much time, effort and energy into building our image. Some are thrill-seeking men, military men, sports-fan men, muscle men, celebrity men, men of style, men of wealth, power brokers or womanizers. So often, though, our image that we project is just a default identity crisis.
Ever wonder about the over-enthusiastic-father-sports coach-man? He jumps, whoops, hollers and does touchdown dances whenever his children score a goal. He needs to see his kids achieve to prove to himself that he is ok. This type of projection onto our children reveals a very weak sense of identity. In fact, when it’s time for the child to move out of the house, his identity can get lost.
Some men form their identities out of dysfunction. A problematic childhood, absent father, bad habits, bad grades, and bad friends can develop identities that don’t allow enough margin to endure — or thrive — during tough times.
Unfortunately, the world does everything possible to facilitate the fabrication, helping us lose sight of the truth. And, in times of trials and life transition, those misplaced identities can lead to a major crisis.
The truth is, your identity can be summed up in one line. You may want to say this aloud and repeat it: “I am not what I do. I am whose I am.”
The Bible records an amazing moment in Matthew 3:15. It provides a lesson for us men. Before Jesus’ ministry started being recorded, he strolled up to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist to “carry out all that God requires”. Until that point, most believed Jesus’ identity to be the son of Joseph and Mary. But that identity rooted in his family was about to be eclipsed by his identity in God.
Watch the film of Jesus’ identity inauguration:
- “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting (landing) on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” — Matthew 3:16-17
What God models for us here is meant for every man to experience.
Here are a few tips to finding your identity that we can pick up from this passage.
1. Take the Dip: Obedience
Jesus demonstrated the importance of being baptized. If Jesus thought this public demonstration was important, then that should be good enough for us. Upon accepting Jesus as your boss, get baptized. This step of obedience shows others who you put your trust in, but also gives yourself an identity correction. There’s your moment. A strong moment. A strong name. A strong love. And a strong blessing from a Father in order to have a healthy and strong identity.
2. Take the Role: Acceptance
When God declared “This is my Son, whom I love;” Jesus had to accept His role as the Son of God. Likewise, when God adopts us into His family, we must accept that we are also sons and daughters in the family of God. Our identity is in Christ. We all have roles to play, gifts to share and a lot to learn about following God. But through Jesus, we can know God as our father and be eternally, loved, permanently secure, forgiven, and hopeful. There’s your name and loving father standing behind you.
3. Take a Bow: Recognition
After taking the obedient step of being baptized, and accepting His role, Jesus received recognition from His proud father. Guess what? He’s “well-pleased” with you too! This affirmation from God helps nurture our internal identity, knowing we are loved, we are accepted into the family, forgiven and recognized by our proud father. There’s your blessing.
4. Take One for the Team: Community
The final tip to forming your identity is to identity with the right team — the family of God. Being accepted into the family, also means we must connect with other family members. The term “family” is a metaphor for the “church.” So develop your identity by finding and getting involved with other men who share your identity as God’s man and learn what it means for your relationships and expression as a man.
However, the enemy’s strategy is to rob you of relational intimacy with God. So beware, because if your identity is firmly established in God’s family, then regardless of the trials or transitions, you will have support and love from God. Your identity in Christ can sustain any context, even death.
Before Jesus would be tried unfairly, tortured and crucified, he asked God for a break from it all. But Jesus yielded, obediently, to His identity. I’m so glad He did. Aren’t you?
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Every Man Ministries, founded by president Kenny Luck, gives men the tools they need to walk with God and navigate the difficulties of life. As the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, Kenny Luck created a program for men to start and lead their own men’s ministries, the Sleeping Giant program. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com.