By Drew Zuverink
"To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
Tragically one of the biggest things that American culture is dealing with right now is gender dysphoria. There are lots of biological men who feel as though they are actually a female trapped inside of a man's body. The same is true for some biological women as well. One of the biggest debates right now is whether a person's gender is decided by biology or by how they feel. Underneath all of this is the question, "Is our identity determined by facts or by feelings?"
Christian's sometimes struggle with a mistaken identity as well. John 1:12 says that everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ becomes a child of God. That is their new identity. Before believing in Christ they had a different identity. They were not a child of God, they were not a part of his family, they were in rebellion against him and destined for destruction - that was who they were. But once they received Christ they were given a new identity as a child of God. Being a child of God means so many things. It means that they are now accepted by God. It means that he loves them and cares for them as their father. It means he loves to listen to their prayers. It means he loves to spend time with them. It means that he has forgiven them. It means that they will one day spend eternity with God. That identity is unchanging no matter what they do, no matter what happens to them, no matter what, period.
Christian's don't always feel like that though. It is so easy to let our failures and insecurities start to define us. Perhaps you feel as though you have not done a great job as a parent and so you start to tell yourself that is who you are. Perhaps you are a student who just bombed a test and are tempted to believe that your identity is tied to your grades. Perhaps you had a great job for a while but after being let go you don't feel like you know who you are anymore. Or what about that sin that you can't seem to shake? Sometimes after falling into temptation yet again, we can feel like we are unwanted by God. Often times we go into a self deprecating spiral of trying to punish ourselves for our failures, maybe even avoiding God's presence, because we don't feel like we deserve to be loved by him. When we start to feel really bad, we might even question whether or not we are a true Christian.
What if I told you that we have a lot more in common with the people who are struggling with gender dysphoria than you might think? A biological man believes that he is a female because he feels like it. Essentially people with gender dysphoria believe what they feel like is who they are. When a Christian struggles to view themselves as a beloved child of God because they don't feel like it, or because they have placed their identity in something else, they are doing the same thing.
Friends, we know that feelings do not decide reality, truth does. The same principle is true for our identity. One of the reasons why daily scripture engagement is so important is because it acts as a mirror for us to remember who we are. Every time that we come across a passage like John 1:12 we are reminded of our identity as a child of God. And if scripture acts like a mirror, reminding us of who we are, what do you think will happen if we don't engage with the scriptures very much? You guessed it, we will start to forget who we are.
So remember, our hobbies, our family roles, our careers, our skills, our place in society - even our sins and our failures - those are all true things about us, but they are not who we are. If we have repented of our sin and placed our trust in Jesus Christ, then we are a child of God. That is not just a true thing about us, that is who we are.