This week at Wednesday Night Worship we kicked off the new church year with a new series called "Identity". In all of our lives there are many times we try to find out identity in an array of areas from sports to academics and career, etc. I began the lesson by letting students say the following phrase- "My name is ______ and I am a _______". We had some fill in the blank saying they are a "girl, 7th grader, red-head, crazy, etc." I then shared that when I hear the word identity I think about superheroes and their secret identity and showed a few pictures of superheroes and we named their secret identity. When we look at superheroes, they hide behind another identity to keep people from knowing who they really are. How often do we try to hide behind an identity other than the identity of being child of God and who God called us to be.
After sharing with the students some of the things that I have tried to find my identity in over my life we dug into the Bible looking at Jacob and Esau. In Genesis 27:18-24, Jacob deceives his father Isaac into thinking that he is Esau. When Isaac asked who he was he responded "Esau". The main reason that Jacob did this was to steal the blessing intended for Esau. However I believe that he had to be dealing with insecurity. We read in Chapter 25 of Genesis that while Rebekah loved Jacob more, Isaac loved Esau more. Even though Jacob was his mother's favorite, he had to have insecurity knowing that his father loved Esau more. I believe that this also led to Jacob trying to be Esau instead of being who God created him to be.
We then divided into two groups to make lists of everything that people today try to find their identity in which included: fashion, power, academics, career, sports, friends, tv, food, etc. We then skipped ahead and read Genesis 32:24-28 where Jacob wrestles all night long with a man (could have been an angel, could have been Jesus, but not the main point here). When asked here who he was he responded "Jacob". At this point he was renamed Israel and went on to further accomplish God's will for his life. Jacob stopped trying to hide behind the identity of someone else and acknowledge who he actually was.
We all struggle with this in our lives. We sometimes try to hide behind another identity because of our own insecurities. I know because I struggle with insecurity on a daily basis. God created every single one of us uniquely and has a plan for every single one of us. I have a friend who used to look me in the face and say "Nathan, God doesn't make junk and when you degrade yourself you are calling His creation junk". I have to remind myself of this constantly. In a moment of transparency I will be honest, even though I preached this last night I am having to preach this myself at the moment. I know that you and I have been created by the Ultimate Creator for His glory. I have to be reminded often that I am beloved in His eyes.
We closed the night by showing this video for Jason Gray's song "Remind Me Who I Am"