identity (noun): the fact of being who or what a person is
Have you noticed how many of us struggle with the issue of who we are and what we are created to do? How many times do we go through periods of reinvention after a major event in our lives? I recently started to read the book of Genesis (it is seriously packed with so much!) and it got me thinking about my own recent reinvention. Don't get me wrong, I don't think going through a reinvention is a bad thing but the purpose and process of the reinvention matters. Additionally, sometimes, we have no choice when we go through these reinventions because we make choices and then life happens. As the first woman, Eve is a great example of how choices can lead to a forced reinvention and losing who we are meant to be.
In Genesis 1:27, we learn that God created male and female in His image, to be like Him (v. 26). That was the identity given to male and female. We were to have dominion over and govern everything God had created. In verses 16 and 17, man is warned that he can eat of every fruit in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Things start to go a little bit left in Genesis 3 when the serpent approaches the woman and convinces her to eat from the forbidden tree so that she can be 'like' God (v. 5). One thing jumped out at me when I read this. We already know that God created man and woman in His image, to be like Him so they were already like Him. There were no other steps to take for them to be like God; their identity was already confirmed when they were created and they had their purpose.
But then, here comes the serpent with his lies to destroy because that's what he does. He comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Unfortunately, woman didn't think of her identity and know that she was already created in God's image and therefore didn't need to eat any fruit to be like Him. So she fell for his tricks. She ate the fruit and everything changed for her and man. Here are some of the things that changed for them:
they became ashamed of who they were because they realised they were naked
they were cast out of Eden
they were cursed
Thus begun the reinvention of Adam and woman. Adam named woman Eve after the curse because she became the mother of all living. That name suited the life she was to have post-Eden and her identity was changed. If we apply this to our lives, how many times have we been attracted to something that we believe can make us to be like someone else? A new car, moving to another place, a new job, new clothes and even a new name! There are so many tools we use to reinvent ourselves, including changing our behaviour, beliefs, values and all of these have implications on our destiny and purpose. Becoming a follower of Christ definitely qualifies as a reinvention and that is definitely what God intended when He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins. In disobeying God's commandment in the garden of Eden, woman had set us on a path that was different to what God originally intended so He sent Christ to reconcile us back to Him. What a merciful God!
I myself know of a few people who have reinvented themselves and inadvertently taken themselves out of God's will by not acknowledging their true identities as children of God. A lack of knowledge about who we are can lead us to make decisions and even make us believe lies the devil whispers in our ears. Let me tell you, nowadays, serpents don't come in the form we expect. Serpents of our days can be music, clothes, friends, all those things that 'feed' into our decisions and choices. When the Lord spoke to the prophet Hosea, He said, my people perish because they lack knowledge. You might wonder, like I did, how can we lack knowledge if man and woman ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? My conclusion in relation to identity is this, just like woman, sometimes, we don't know who we are and use the wrong knowledge to form an identity so we end up in a place where we have to work harder to get to where God wants us to be or even more scary, we lose our way altogether!
I pray for all my readers that God will reveal Himself to us so that we can understand the power we wield in Christ and discover our true identity. Amen!