“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV
The other day I saw a preview for a reality TV show centered around identity. The participants had to describe themselves to each other without ever seeing the person they were talking to. It made me wonder about how these people chose what to share about themselves. What did they view as most important? What do I view as essential to who I am?
Recently, as the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of our lives in one way or another, it’s been challenging to see so many things I deemed as “essential” to my life stripped away. Do we view ourselves as productive? Healthy? Employees? Roommates? College students? Small group leaders? Many of these things have changed. While this is definitely an uncomfortable and unsettling time, we can take heart that the core of our existence remains the same. Hebrews 13:8 proclaims, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” What powerful words! Nothing can change our King. Our hope is unmovable, because our God is unshakable.
Let’s allow God to reshape our identities during this time. This is difficult, because it is tempting to hold onto everything we have previously thought in an attempt to still maintain some level of control. However, this might be the perfect time to let God shift the way we view ourselves, since much of what we have held onto as part of our identities has fallen away. What a startling reminder of our dependence on God!
When everything falls away, where do we find ourselves? Whether everything is taken away as part of a TV show experiment or a serious worldwide pandemic, what defines us? What will we choose to tell people about ourselves?
Let’s choose to be a people who consider their membership in Christ’s family the most important identifying factor of their lives. Whatever else might change, this won’t. What hope and joy this brings! As we are filled with God’s hope, let’s allow it to spill out on others.
P.S. God’s glory cannot be contained! Catch a glimpse of this stunning view He made.