Identity Crisis – Part 2

Identity Crisis – Part 2

(If you haven’t read part 1, click here and do that now before continuing.)

When Moses asked God what name He should use in defending his authority before pharaoh, God simply said, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). I love Louie Giglio’s explanation of I AM:

It’s an amazing name. In Hebrew the word for I AM is Hayah. Hayah carries with it the idea of the very breath of God. In English the name I AM translates into the verb to be. Or simply be. Therefore God’s name is Be. I AM – I Be. I AM is the present tense, active form of the verb to be. As God’s name, it declares that He is unchanging, constant, unending, always present, always God. (Louie Giglio, I Am Not But I Know I AM, p. 38.)

That’s an amazing title. Think of I AM as one of the top steps in a series of escalating stairs—the lower steps being titles that we’ve already looked at, the Living Water and the Bread of Life. John escalated to a breaking point—I AM. Now there was no doubt to anyone in earshot of Jesus that He was claiming to be God.

I love it. I love that this is the title by which God chose to reveal Himself to Moses—the unchanging God—the always-present God—always there by Moses’ side. The always-existing One knew Moses—in the same way Jesus knew Nathaniel before they ever met (John 1:48)—in the same way Jesus knew the Samaritan woman with all of the baggage of her past (John 4:29)—in the same way Jesus knows you and everything about you—every detail, every mistake, every thought, every action, every intention. Jesus knows. Jesus knows you.
Here’s a fundamental truth that we can’t afford to miss.

Our identity as followers of Christ is totally wrapped up in Christ’s identity.

In other words, Christ is our life (Col. 3:4). So the converse must also be true. Our misconceptions of Jesus misconstrue or blur our identity as followers of Christ. In my experience, there are at least two misconceptions about Christ that most Christ-followers believe at some point in their relationship with Him. So I want to clear these up briefly.

Misconception #1: “Jesus is my Homeboy”

The homeboy mentality says this: Since Jesus is my best friend, He’ll let me do whatever I want, and He’ll always be there to forgive me when I mess up. The homeboy mentality makes Jesus nothing more than a confession box that I spill my guts to once I mess up. It views Jesus as a passive parent, like the mom from Gilmore Girls—the idea that I can mess around with my boyfriend or girlfriend, masturbate, view internet porn and repeatedly push the boundaries of right and wrong simply because I know Jesus will always forgive me. It’s the idea that I have an endless supply of get-out-of-jail-free cards—since Jesus is one of the guys I can sin as much as I want and simply ask for forgiveness because He understands how I really am anyway. But Romans 6:1-2 says just the opposite:

“What should we say then? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

And here’s the resulting identity of the follower of Christ who falls prey to this misconception.

The Cheap Grace Identity

The cheap grace identity laughs in Jesus’ face as the blood flows down from the cross. The cheap grace identity says, “Jesus, thanks for dying for my sin so that I can mess up as many times as I want and not really feel bad about it since you paid for it all anyway!” It says to Jesus, “Jesus, thanks for caring enough for me that You would let massive spikes be driven through your hands into a wooden beam so that I can use my hands to get in my girlfriend’s pants!” The cheap grace identity is nothing more than a cheap imitation for coward Christians.