Each of us wish to live a life of individuality.
We want to stand out.
We long to be counted on the merits of our own existence.
To be recognized is one of man’s strongest needs.
We desire to be an “I” and a “me”.
We live in a battle over the loss of personal identity.
“The time came when the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person.” Genesis 2:7
Yet Adam’s individual personal identity was short lived.
God created Eve and the “me” became a “we”.
Then children came along and the “we” became “them”.
It was not even a once divided “me” to “we”, but further subdivided to “us”.
Adam’s loss of identity was multiplying.
And billions and billions of people later, Adam is one of us.
We each experience this in our own lives.
I was born on September 10, 1959, as John Harley Rowe.
I was identified as the new born son of Al and Camilla Rowe.
In 1965, I would become the adopted son of Frank Hembree.
In subsequent years I was known as someone’s step brother, someone’s distant relative, as part of a class, as part of a team, down the road as someone’s boyfriend, someone’s employee, someone’s friend and another person’s colleague.
On a November day in 1967, I professed my faith in Christ, and became His.
On September 10, 1990, I became someone’s father.
On May 17, 1996, I became another person’s father.
On May 11, 2013, I became someone’s father-in-law,
On or around March 28, 2015, I will become someone’s grandfather.
Through each event and each stage of my life, I have been diminished to who I am today.
Not an individual at all, but as a part of the lives of others.
Sure, I have individual traits that are all my own.
I have an individual finger print and my DNA is only recognized when it is identified as mine.
But now I am more identified with others than I am as “me”.
We lose more and more of our identity throughout our life as we are identified with the lives of others.
John the Baptist gracefully accepted this individual diminishment when he said in John 3:30, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
There is a reason that John was identified as “the beloved”.
John had reduced his regional fame and placed it at the feet of one who would bring not fame to himself, but would do all things in order to glorify one even greater, God the Father.
When we identify ourselves with Christ, you, as Brennan Manning wrote, “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
If you define your individuality in that manner, you get lost in who God is, and who you are through Him.
The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 100, “Try to realize what this means–the Lord is God! He made us–we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
The Apostle Paul, in Galatians 2:20, described it this way, “I have been crucified with Christ; and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 4:23-24, went even further in terms of practical application, “Now your attitudes and thoughts must be constantly changing for the better. Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature.”
As we lose our self into the lives of others, we must also lose our self into the life that Christ has intended for us.
A naked heart does not pretend to be perfect.
A naked heart does not reveal a man trying to break through to find the heart of God, but rather God trying to break through to find the heart of a man.
We must lose our individual lives into the individual life God has made for us.
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.” George MacDonald
Only then, as we look deep into our naked heart, can we be found perfected as individuals.
Now not “we” but “me”.
Christ died for “me”.
His hope is for “me”.
His hope is in “me”.
It is in the sharing of this hope, and my identify through Christ, that I become anything of worth to anyone else.