Identity and Purpose

There are few things more important in a person’s life than understanding who they are, and what their purpose is. To begin exploring these questions we have to understand where Identity comes from and what constitutes purpose. Identity is a concept used to define the qualities and descriptors we use to explain who we are. Purpose is perhaps best described as an internal sense of duty that results in fulfillment or personal satisfaction.

For some people, Identity and Purpose come from their major, or their future career, maybe it’s a dream or a hobby. For Christians, our identity is that we have been rescued, forgiven, and adopted into the family of God as Sons and Daughters, and our purpose is quite clearly stated in several places within scripture. As disciples of Christ, we are given a very clear general purpose in the great commission, Matthew 28:18-20. 

One of the most famous parables from the bible is that of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). It’s a story about the nature of humanity to be in rebellion against authority. It depicts a young adult, demanding his inheritance to leave home in pursuit of self-satisfaction. After squandering his wealth on any indulgence, he sought, he soon found himself destitute, and alone. Desperate for even the nourishment given to the pigs. Eventually, this wayward adult realized his only saving grace was to return home, broken and impoverished, prepared to face the disappointment of a father who had given him everything, only to return with nothing. So often, we are this adult broken, defeated, and drowning in shame. And yet just like this parable hoping to merely be in the presence of a great love, even if it is no longer in our direction. Where we and this adult are overcome by the impossibility of a reality where not only are we welcomed into the presence of the very definition of love, we are swept into its arms and reminded of our true identity. A creation in the very image of God whose value is utterly endless and indescribable. Because of this endless and indescribable value, our primary claim of who we are should always be I am a treasured child of God, who has decided to seek after him for all my days. In practicality, our claim to identity is never in the order of I’m a baptist, or catholic, or whatever denomination, or race, or major, it should instead be I am a Christian. 

Our purpose given in the great commission can be manifested through our major, our hobbies, and various other interests or life situations but one thing is clear to me, and it is expressed by Sam Alberry best, “Do not seek a platform for the Gospel, if you are afraid to lose that platform for the sake of the Gospel” this line single-handedly describes a critical problem in the pursuit of American Christians to fulfill their God-given purpose. Truth without grace is felt as condemnation and judgment. Grace without truth is ineffective and useless. Only through the presence of Grace and Truth can the great commission ever be fulfilled.  

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