Identity struggles have been a part of the human condition since the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. In 2017, the struggle with identity grows even more complex and is rising to crises levels as people struggle not only with their spiritual identity but their sexual identities as well.
The sexual identity struggle is not new in and of itself, it is,rather, how our culture has raised the issue. It is described as the brave new frontier where transgender individuals are boldly, bravely bringing their struggles to light so that the generations behind them will not suffer as they have.
According the American Psychological Society:
“Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.”
People we know and love are in a life struggle. Identity is so key to human existence that the last thing we should do as Christians is be dismissive or hateful. Some people strongly believe they are trapped in the wrong body or trapped in gender at all. In other words, perception can be greater than truth in the mind of the individual. What they feel, think and have come to believe may defy what they see as their creative body. So where is the starting point for Christians, as we seek to lead our generation through identity crises?
First, we begin where Jesus told us to start.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (Jn. 13:34 NLT)
People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care. My heart is broken for our generation and for the ones behind who are grappling with sexual identity crisis. We should reach out to embrace every individual allowing them to experience God’s Love.
Second, we must present the TRUTH in Love.
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (I Cor. 14:33)
Psychology does not change Ontology:
As Christians, we have the opportunity and responsibility to confront new challenges with biblical truth. God made men and women different (Gen. 1:27). Men and women are different at the deepest levels of their being. Our chromosomes are different. Our brains are different. Our body shapes are different. Our body strengths are different. Our reproductive systems are different. The design for what our bodies are structured and destined for are different, and these designs bear witness to differences that reflect God’s creative will for humanity.
Our design is unique. But our identity is not found in our design alone. John Piper wrote: “For good or ill, we never find our identity by ourselves, in ourselves”. The Bible tells us we were made in the image of God. We are not the sum of our parts we were made in the image of God. Most Theologians agree: The image of God (Latin: imago dei) refers to the immaterial part of humanity. It sets human beings apart from the animal world, fits them for the dominion God intended them to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and enables them to commune with their Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally, and socially.
Our complete identity is found in relationship with God through Christ. We cannot find our identity inside ourselves or in the world around us.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being, As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:28)
Our identity is complete in Him: sexual, physical, mental and social. Our feelings, desires, cravings, hopes, beliefs and ambitions are not always aligned with HIS. That’s why we struggle in identity. Our feelings and emotions tempt us to move in one direction or another but the Bible tells us that we can be deceived by our feelings and emotions.
Theheart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. (Jer. 17:9)
If we are looking for identity within ourselves by how we feel what we are attracted to or what we are not attracted too, we can be led astray. We may pursue a false identity. An identity that we gain through community, contemporary culture or internal inspection is not complete. The final word on who we are is found in Christ alone.
“He has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:22a NLT)
Rick Warren, author of “Purpose Driven Life”, wrote: “The thing is, if you don’t know who you are, then you’re vulnerable to other people telling you who you are. But the concrete, solid, gospel truth is that you are who God says you are, and no one else has a vote in the matter.”
“In Him” is the important distinctive that reveals our true, identity. We can be “In Church” “In Religion” and not be “In Him”. There are attempts even in modern theological studies to match what we believe, feel and want to be true with Biblical proof texts. This practice is outside the bounds of proper scriptural exegesis and hermeneutics.
Proper scriptural Exegesis looks at each passage of scripture in the light of historical context and in the light of the complete cannon of scripture context. Proper hermeneutics (science of the study of the Bible) will take the context of each passage in ultimately define practical application for Christian living. Below are four examples of false doctrine derived from improper exegesis of scripture.
· Mormons baptize the dead;
· Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the deity of Jesus;
· snake handlers misapply Mark 16:18, and with disastrous consequences;
· prosperity preachers advocate the American dream as a Christian right.
There is much more that needs to be said on this subject matter and many questions that arise not only outside the church but inside. For many in the church this issue has become very personal as they have children, family or friends who are caught in the identity struggle. The first step inside the Christian community is for us to accept each person in the love of Christ. Since the original fall of mankind in sin all of mankind has struggled with identity. Outside of Christ we cannot find our true, identity. The Christian community should be a place where we can experience the love and patience needed for us to hear, understand and put into practice the truth.
Truth in and of itself does not liberate us from anything. It is Truth put into practice that changes us and our circumstances. It is vital that we understand “TRUTH” is not just a set of facts but rather the person of Jesus Christ.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn. 14:6)
If you are struggling in this area and would like to speak with someone, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org