Day 19: Identity Crisis

Opening Prayer:Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Daily Scripture Reading:

  • Genesis 39:13-20
  • Romans 8:14-17
  • I Peter 2:9
  • I John 3:1

I’m not great at math but by my calculations Joseph was in Potiphar’s home for 11 years. He was 17 when he was sold by his brothers, and he was 30 when Pharaoh promoted him after 2 years in prison. So, 30 – 17 – 2 =’s 11. After 11 years of faithful service to Potiphar, Jospeh’s reputation was trashed, his integrity questioned, his character ignored, and his place of honor and employment ripped away through the false accusations of Potiphar’s wife. 11 years is a long time. And before that, for 17 years Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. For 17 years it looked like his future would be in the family business and beneath the family umbrella of blessing. For 17 years his identity was wrapped in a coat of many colors. At the age of 28 Joseph’s identity had been shattered twice. No longer was he Jacob’s son. No longer was he Potiphar’s powerful attendant. In prison no one cared what his last name was or who his boss used to be.

Can you relate?

Have you ever had an identity crisis? Have you ever looked into the mirror of who the world said you were only to find it shattered by change? Have you ever been left asking yourself, “Who am I after? After graduation? After divorce? After the kids leave? After the lay off? After the move? After the death? After the dream failed?”

Finding our identity in Christ is something we talk about often, but it is more than a trite pat on the head in times of transition or loss. In fact, it is foundational in times of success and achievement as well. The world may call us student, husband, mother, infertile, single, employee, divorcee, leader, and so on. All of those titles can change as quickly as Joseph was thrown out of Potiphar’s home. God calls us His chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His special possession. He calls us His children, adopted into sonship. He rescues us out of the slavery of the world’s identities and declares us heirs to His eternal inheritance.

The truth is, even the best earthly identities become ill-fitting. They are supposed to. Maybe the biggest identity crisis of all is believing the lie that they can define us. Even when we get the promotion instead of the pink slip, even when we get the ring instead of the break up, even when we finally hold the baby we have prayed for, even when the dream comes true, we will never be completely satisfied. We aren’t supposed to be. Our identity in Christ is the only one that will remain and the only one that will fulfill.

Today’s Big Questions: If you were to meet someone new today and they asked “who are you?” what would your initial answer be? Would you identify yourself with earthly roles and identities? How can you change the way you think of your identity so that it lines up with who God says you are?

Prayer Response: No matter if you find yourself in an identity crisis today or not, God is our only constant. Pray into Psalms 62:8 which says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him; for God is our refuge.” Confess where you have put your trust in any other identity and pour your heart out to God.

Optional Action Step: Make a list of all your earthly roles and identities (for example: son, wife, father, employee, teacher, etc) down one side of a piece of paper. Then reread today scriptures and list everything God calls you down the other side. Put a big “less than” (<) symbol in the middle to remind yourself that your earthly roles are less than your identity in Christ.

Closing Prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

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