There’s an identity crisis in the Western world right now, in which people are given license to choose who they want to be, regardless of whether it’s in contrast to their biological makeup. On the surface, it makes sense. Why would anyone want to live as a prisoner in their own body? We should encourage everyone to be themselves, do what makes them happy, and embrace their desires without fear of shame or ridicule. Society should be a safe place for people to express themselves in the manner with which they are most comfortable.
On the surface, it makes sense. But by allowing people’s feelings to dictate their identity, are we actually helping them, or harming them?
When I was 9 years old, I didn’t feel like a girl. When I was 19 years old, I did feel like a girl. Should my feelings have been trusted when I was a child? The Bible, as it always does, gives us an understanding of we should approach our feelings.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9. (Another translation says the mind is wicked).
“The hearts of mortals are full of evil. Madness is in their hearts while they are still alive.” – Ecclesiastes 9:3.
“For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.” – Mark 7:21.
“He who trusts in his own heart and instincts is a fool.” – Proverbs 28:26.
“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law.” – Romans 8:7.
Despite the extreme clarity of scripture, we still fall prey to the desires of our flesh. And that isn’t because “we can’t think for ourselves”. It’s because our sinful nature is something that must taken captive. Someone who doesn’t know the Lord has no understanding of their sin nature because they aren’t aware they’re being ruled by it.
David says in Psalm 51:5 “I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
Despite being created in the image of God, we were born into a sinful world, and our only hope is to be born again through salvation in Jesus Christ.
“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” – John 3:5-6.
There is a decision that has to be made in order to put our sinful nature to death. We have to have faith and believe in Jesus, repent of our wrongdoing, and allow our lives to be ruled by the Spirit, rather than by the flesh. The reason why Jesus died on the cross was because on our own we constantly fall short of the law of God. There had to be one sacrifice made for all, and through that we have eternal life.
So why then is there such confusion over identity? Simply put, many aren’t convinced about what God’s word is telling them, or they don’t believe it has any weight to begin with. “Why should I let an invisible being tell me how to live my life?” Like it or not, we were created by God. He is the sovereign authority in this world. Choosing not to believe it doesn’t make it any less true.
Therefore, we have a choice to make. We live by the spirit, or we live by the flesh. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.” –2 Corinthians 5:17. We cannot follow Christ, and still follow our sinful nature at the same time. But the prevailing problem is the disagreement over what is sinful nature, and what is God-approved.
It’s really not confusing, but the issue is that we’re allowing our hearts and minds (which we discovered are untrustworthy), to dictate what God is saying in His word, rather than letting our spirits to lead the way. If you want something, you could probably manipulate the Bible in a certain way to make it say what you want it to. But that’s dangerous.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” – Galatians 5:16-17.
Your identity doesn’t lie in your feelings, or your job, or your hobbies, or your appearance, or anything that can be changed or lost. We were created as male and female, no third (or fourth or fifth) option, no choice in the matter. And the existence of someone who is intersex doesn’t justify gender fluidity. Look what Jesus said in regards to gender and marriage.
“Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.” – Matthew 19:4-6.
There was no amendment made for marriage. However Jesus did address the only other possibility.
“For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it”. – Matthew 19:12.
In other words, the options are extremely clear. We were created either as male and female (unchangeable), marriage is between one man and one woman, and the only other alternative is to be single and celibate. Unfortunately, we’ve become so consumed with sexual identity, and sexual preference, that it’s caused us to completely forsake God’s original plan set in place before sin entered the world.
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18.
There’s a reason why sex-related issues, whether it be sexual identity, or attraction, or a lack of both, are causing contention. But the Bible gives us the ultimate hope.
“Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17.
“So if the son sets you free, you are free indeed.” – John 8:36.
“It is for freedom that Christ as set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by the yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1.
“I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” – Psalm 119:45.
How amazing is that truth! We’re no longer slaves to sin, or fear, or guilt, but we can find freedom in Christ Jesus. It seems as though Christians are being intolerable and hateful when they preach the Bible, because it’s like we’re telling people they’re bad and wrong for feeling a certain way. We all were once dead in our sin, but we don’t have to go on living like that. It’s not hatred, but rather the opposite. I want to see you living your best life possible and that life can only be found in Christ Jesus.
Your identity isn’t what you feel. It’s who God created you to be. It’s who you are in Him. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, God’s special possession.” – 1 Peter 2:9.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. That’s who we are!” – 1 John 3:1.