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  • Pastor Tom Cunningham, Ph.D

IDENTITY CRISIS

Updated: Sep 2


Text: Isaiah 43:1; Colossians 3:1-12

In the Movie Cartoon, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, we meet Ellie. Ellie is a Mammoth that thinks she’s a possum. Another character, Manny, has been searching for another mammoth. He thinks he’s the only one left, but when he finds Ellie, he begins to realize that her identity is a little out of whack.

Can you imagine all that Ellie has gone through, trying to live out this false identity? In the story of the movie, everyone is fleeing because of this cataclysmic event. She joins Manny on this journey, and as hard as he tries to convince her she’s a mammoth he can’t. Eventually though, something triggers her memory. She remembers that as a baby she was orphaned and raised by possums. Thankfully it all begins to come into focus for Ellie and she starts to live as a mammoth, but it’s not easy living this new life. And the only way for her to find love—big hairy mammoth love—is to drop that old identity and live in and embrace her new identity.

Knowing who you are in Christ is essential, because there is a whole other identity out there the world would love you to have; one of confusion, based on gender pronouns, sexual orientation—generational oppression you may not have ever experienced, but you must attach to your psyche anyway and identify with.

Who are you? Who are you really? — and do you like what you see? Are you happy with whom you’ve become? Your identity is important in deciding what kind of person you are— but did you know that God says, as a Christian you have a new identity?


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Identity used to be a simple matter. Not anymore. Identity has become this whole big thing in Gen-Z (1997-current); in fact, identity is everything to Gen-Z. Intersectionality is a term every "woke" GenZ'er would know. It is the 'interconnected nature of such social categories as race, class and gender as they apply to a given individual or group—creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.'

This is super-important to the newest generation. In other words, intersectionality is the acknowledgement that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression and we must consider everything and anything that can marginalize people—gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.”

So then, the intersectionality theory “asserts that people are often disadvantaged by these multiple sources of oppression through identity markers.”

The sad reality is that Gen-Z’ers seem to purposefully zoom in on what oppresses them; what keeps them down, what makes them different as an identity marker instead of concentrating on what makes them excel; the synergistic effect of teamwork—the real human attributes that make them better.

"In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you." Isaiah 54:14

There is a whole lot of Gen-Z’ers that have been apparently raised by possums. And even though it is impossible NOT to see the difference between a possum and a Mammoth, in this generation, a mammoth living as a possum is simply a choice—a choice that in their minds nobody has the right to judge or change. However, consider what happened in our cartoon movie—if you’ll notice—the moment Ellie discovered the truth that she was a Mammoth, she was no longer free to live as a possum… And that’s the truth of the gospel as well!


"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

And if we are to be honest, many of us would realize that our identity—some of the issues of our lives—are our own fault. We all make mistakes, but all too often repeat them and the cycle begins again. The Bible validates us by reiterating that we are made by God and made in his image—and yet we’ve been marred or flawed by our own messes—our own sin. One of life’s greatest needs is to be loved and accepted by others with the need to fit in, to feel a real sense of belonging to someone or something; a sense of worth. We spend much of our lives searching for that identity—wondering ‘Who am I?’ … 'Why am I here?' … 'What is the purpose of life?'


Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest in Monte Carlo—and came in third! Now there is an identity crisis! “I can’t even live up to my public persona!”

Many Facebook and Instagram stars would not even be recognizable in a public setting, face to face! The problem is we live in a world that isn't always accommodating, welcoming or accepting. In fact the opposite seems to be true. Day-to-day and growing we perceive a world of rejection. When your identity depends solely upon what others' perceptions of you are and how they treat you or how you look or what you do—you will be disappointed, confused and disjointed. We must face the reality of this world—people don’t always treat you right. You will ultimately be mistreated on some level and feel rejected. If your identity depends upon others, you will feel unworthy—cast away. Or if your identity depends solely upon what you do, this too will leave you crushed and disappointed.

We desperately want and need someone to accept us—and often hang with the wrong group to get it. Remember when we did sinful things we would never have done if we were alone? But in looking for acceptance, we did it for the sake of approval from a group?

So where does our identity come from? Not from your driver’s license, nor from your salary or the neighborhood you live in. It doesn’t come from your school or job performance... Identity is not determined by how others treat us or what we’ve accomplished or what we do. Identity comes from and resides in Christ Jesus!

OUR IDENTITY COMES FROM GOD | Colossians 3:1-12


You now have this new identity, and you need to start focusing on what God wants for you, but to do that you’ll have to unlearn some things from the old you and learn some new things for the person Christ is building you into. Making Jesus Lord of our lives means that God has saved you and made you a brand-new person with a brand new identity. Our identity comes from the fact that we are given a ‘new name and we belong to God.’

Though I’m citizen of US, this is only temporary Our real citizenship is in heaven and members of new family {the Church, saints and the household of God}. Lastly our identity also comes from the fact that God has given us a new purpose.

So, what about you? Maybe you’ve been feeling cheated by God. Things haven't worked out as well as you'd hoped and after the litany of people, institutions and circumstances you have blamed over time, you're stuck basically with you.

And that is the challenge for you today: Perhaps you just need to look closer—deeper. Be honest about who and what you are relying on to form your identity. Are you living out your identity in Christ? Or are you just living that old script that has failed you over and over?

You need to find out who you really are. It's important get this right!

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."

Proverbs 2:6




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