We live in a world that is more connected than ever due to advancements in technology as well as the growth of social media. There is a lot of good that has come from this, as well as some not-so-good things. I use social media like most people, and one of the things that I have noticed in myself and something that I have seen around culture is that in the growing age of social media, comparison has also grown. I’m talking about bad comparison, the kind that looks at what others have on their perfect facebook lives and wishes we had it. What interests me about this is that at the core of this issue lies one of the biggest topics in today’s world. Identity. This person on instagram has x,y, and z and that makes them great, and subsequently, since I don’t have x,y, and z that makes me less than. We start to put labels on ourselves and start to live for the approval of others so we can look good. This isn’t limited to social media or millennials either; everyone struggles with identity. We are all searching for who we are. There are things that are said about us even from an early age and we carry it with us for years. People in there 60’s or 70’s are still struggling with what their parents or teachers said in grade school. We are reading books and watching movies everyday that are all about the search for who we are. This is a wide-spread problem. This desire inside of us to search for our identity is something that I think God has put inside us. We know there is more to this life and to who we are. The problem is how we go about defining our identity.
So, how do we do that?
Recently in Church we have started singing the song, “Who You Say I Am” By Hillsong Worship.
This whole song is based around John 8:31-36.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
This verse has some crucial truths for us when it comes to who we are and how we see ourselves. Jesus clearly states that if you follow him, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. One of the dangers to living the life of comparison and living for the approval of others is that it’s living under a lie, and if we live under it, it imprisons us. We become a slave to what others think or what others say about us. Lucky for you and me, God has a real problem with this. Jesus came for a bunch of reasons, one of which is to set us free. This is a huge topic and means so many things, but I believe that one of the biggest jails that Jesus came to break us out of is what others (or even we) say about us. Nobody and nothing gets to define you, including yourself, other than God. He created you and he has a plan and purpose and identity for you. In God’s identity for you, there is freedom. All the labels of this world pale in comparison to who God says you are. You are chosen (Ephesians 1:4), you are not forsaken (Matthew 28:20), God is for you and not against you (Romans 8:31), and we are Children of God (1 John 2:28-3:1).
God gets to define us. He created us, he knows us better than anyone ever could and he has the best plans for us. He is the potter and we are the clay. God looked at Jacob and called him Israel, God looked at Abram and call him Abraham, Jesus looked at Cephas and called him Peter. God Knows you and names you.
We as a Worship team picked this song with purpose. If we as a Church can confidently declare that we are children of God, and if his truth is final, and if what he says about us is more important than anything else, then the kingdom of darkness will tremble with fear and have no hold on us. “Who the son sets free is free indeed.”
– Pastor Tanner Church