Society offers a number of identity options. Let’s consider three of the most common.
We need to train ourselves to hear in each of these proposals the echo of the serpent’s words to Eve in the garden: “You will be like God.” Satan’s first temptation was really a temptation to define our identity on our own terms. He was saying: “Do this and be like God. Take matters into your own hands and form your identity for yourself.” Satan’s first temptation was a temptation to define our identity on our own terms. But the great tragedy of the fall is that instead of arriving at liberating self-discovery, human beings have found themselves enslaved to self-made identities. We make idols of work or sex or family, and instead of finding ourselves in them, we lose ourselves as they demand more and more from us and deliver less and less to us. They enslave. They do not set us free.
- “You are your work.” This is identity through performance. In this view, our busyness and activity, especially our employment, fill the identity void in our hearts and help define us.
- “You are your history.” This is identity through pedigree. In this view, our backgrounds, family life, and social connections locate us within a certain community and entitle us to certain benefits.
- “You are your sexuality.” This is identity through passion. In this view, sexual desire is the most basic reality about us that determines how we interact with the world and conceive of ourselves.
Dr. David Strain
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