There is a plethora of novel surveys that one can take on Facebook. Everyday someone is posting, “I got Brad Pitt” as my movie character…or something along these lines. You can discover your color, your rock star name, your song…the list goes on. Is it all just fun and games?
However, I suspect these surveys attract so many participants because they also give something. That something is identity.
In other words, these very culturally-based surveys, dangle a carrot of self-understanding. Aside from being incredible marketing tools, collecting data on you, they suggest yet another piece of the very complex puzzle of you. You fill out the survey. You get your results. And then, quietly, you store away the results as another piece of your identity puzzle.
I am not suggesting that people put a lot of weight in these, although some likely do. I do suspect folks are doing it without much thought. What I am surprised to see, though, is Christians filling them out and sharing them with friends. Whether we consider these surveys simple fun or serious, they put some type of identity mark on us. They speak to who we are. For a Christian there is only one voice that speaks to who we are, Jesus.
He is our cornerstone. Him alone. Nothing else. It’s in Jesus we discover who we are. I like how the Apostle John identifies himself – not as an apostle, not as an incredible writer, or a fisherman, or as a friend of Jesus, but as the “Disciple whom Jesus loves.” For John, Christ’s love was his identity.
Too many seek their identity in work, family, wealth, relationships, successes, accomplishments, and even silly surveys. Christians must not do this.
One of my favorite quotes from Jesus is actually an off-the-cuff response to a woman who tried to compliment him. Luke records it in his gospel. Essentially, Jesus was healing a man possessed by a demon. The folks saw it and were amazed. But then some said he’s healing by the power of the devil. Jesus’ famous response of, “a house divided against itself will fall,” is what we often remember, but what he says just after is really powerful:
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
In other words, “Lady, do not compliment me (or my mother) by the standards of your culture, which praises a woman for producing a male child. Rather, find your true identity, your true purpose in the word of God. Don’t obey what culture says you are. Don’t fill out silly surveys that will never fill the hole you feel inside. Listen to what God has to say about you – what he’s done for you – and the plans that he has for you.”
Thanks for reading,