Originally published on the First Baptist Church – Columbia website.

If you take a look at the news or worse, dare to venture out into social media where every theory and opinion can be found, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the world is falling apart. People seem to be losing their minds and the only thing certain is uncertainty. Anxiety, depression, and panic are prevalent because our culture lends its hands to these monsters. Courage and resiliency are fading in our rear view mirrors as we drive down destructive roads.

Our torn safety nets and crumbled structures leave us looking into the abysmal unknown. This is the place where knowing exactly who we are is imperative. Yet ourselves can be a difficult thing to know. It shouldn’t be, seeing as we spend the most time with ourselves, but we often walk around with false identities, assuming the roles of the things that we do, allowing others to tell us who we are, or spending our energy trying to project the identity that we want others to see.

Our society is obsessed with identity. Read the headlines or trending news and you’re likely to see something about gender identity, sexual identity, political identity, or racial identity. Our efforts to find ourselves and bring about acceptance and open-mindedness have alienated us more. What we use to identify ourselves has a tendency to create division within the human race.

We define ourselves by our jobs, our family roles, the work that we do in the church, our wealth, our possessions, the people with whom we associate, or you can fill in the blank at this point. None of these things are inherently evil, but when we base our worth on them, evil enters into the picture. That might sound harsh considering the fact that all of us base our worth on something other than God at one point or another. If you dig deep enough to see why we falsely place our identity and worth into these things, you’ll find that it’s because we are worshiping these false gods. Tell me who you are, and I’ll tell you who your god is.

Martha struggled with this. Though there’s no historical proof, many assume that she was the eldest daughter because of her approach to responsibility. As a first-born myself, I know how it goes. There’s a thing that needs to be done, no one is doing said thing, “So, ok, fine, I’ll take care of the thing because someone has to deal with it.” Her identity was wrapped in her responsibility while God in the flesh sat in front of her. She was so busy trying to serve Him that she forgot to rest in Him. Jesus gently reminds her what’s most important. (Luke 10:38-42) Though we don’t get record of her response, we can assume that she took His words to heart since they remained friends. She even declares Him the Messiah later on in John 11:27.

To worship, not just sing songs, or attend a service, or go out in nature, or paint, or whatever act you do to try to worship, however we express ourselves, to truly worship is to know our place before the most holy God. He does not need us to be anything, but He wants us to be His. You are a creation of God. If you confess Christ as Lord, you are a child of God. You are a sinner saved by grace, the orphan adopted into a family, the lost wanderer who has finally found his way. You “were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, [you] too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) Not because of your own ability, but because of Christ, you are new, you are a conqueror, you belong, and you are loved!

Even before Jesus walked the earth, God’s followers knew that the only way to survive was to put on the identity of God. Psalm 46 offers words that are quite applicable to our current state of affairs.

2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how he has brought desolations on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

he burns the chariots with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

When fear, anxiety, and anger seek to devour you, remember dear brothers and sisters, who you are because of whose you are.