Let’s look at some of the people in the Bible who struggled with identity. Look at how each person was affected by who God says they were and how it is connected to who He is and each person’s purpose for Him.
Satan- struggled with wanting to be a god like God
Adam and Eve- first humans who were created in the image of God, but after disobeying Him, tried to look like bushes. (fig-uratively speaking)
Noah- Was the one righteous man prior to the flood who was saved, yet after stepping onto dry land struggled.
Abraham and Sarah- God called them from their home, made a covenant. He gave them new names and a promise of a son who would spur many nations of people. That promise took 25 years to come in their old age. That’s a lot of years to wait and time to create an identity crisis.
Jacob– Well, his very name means deceiver. He took on many names and roles until God gave him the name Israel. He would become father to the founding Children of Israel.
Joseph-He went from brother to dreamer to almost killed by his brothers to slave, to prisoner, to interpreter of dreams and then landed the title of 2nd in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Moses– Talk about an identity crisis, Moses was born a Hebrew, saved from death by being placed in a basket on the Nile, found by an Egyptian princess and raised as Egyptian royalty. Later he would be a murderer, refugee on the run, shepherd, husband, father and eventually a God appointed leader to free His people.
The Children of Israel– God’s chosen people who He heard their cries and freed them from the oppression of slavery in Egypt. They walked across the Red Sea on dry land and days later wanted to go back to Egypt.
The Judges– Each judge who ruled God’s chosen people struggled in their role. From Gideon the runt of the litter to Samson the strongest man on earth, they each had an identity crisis to overcome.
Ruth- A story of a woman widowed who would leave all she knew to find a new identity and God.
Esther– The story of a Jewish girl who would become a queen and save God’s chosen people.
Job- Often Job is given the title, “man of patience”, but if you read the book of Job, you’ll find he was more a, “man of suffering”. Job would lose everything he had and listen to everyone around him telling him who he was and what he should do. But he did not stop trusting God.
Saul– He went from “looking like he people’s perfect King” to becoming King of God’s people. Later he would struggle with following the King of Kings until he died in battle being replaced by God’s chosen, King David.
David– A brother, a small shepherd boy who would become God’s chosen King of His people. Later David would be a husband, father, an adulterer, murderer and repenter. He was a man after God’s own heart. Talk about a struggle with identity, he’s given us plenty of psalms to witness his crisis times.
Solomon– A son of a King who later become the wisest King of God’s people. His struggle was his kingdom and all he had built.
All the kings in the Northern and Southern Kingdom- King Solomon’s Kingdom would split after his death and God’s people would be divided and conquered by neighboring enemies. Why? Because they forgot their identity as God’s people.
All the prophets– The prophets appointed by God struggled in their identity because that title came with great purpose. Most of the time their role was unappreciated and unaccepted by the people they were sent to warn.
Daniel– Taken from his homeland and placed under the enemy’s rule, he was a strong follower of God and man of prayer who would be thrown in a den of lions for his beliefs. God saved him. He would also be an adviser to many Kings who ruled over God’s chosen people.
Nehemiah– He went from being a cupbearer to the King of Persia, to a leader who would build a massive wall around Jerusalem in 52 days. His identity was always under attack from enemies to even the people he was trying to protect.
Zechariah and Elizabeth- Oh how these two wanted a baby. Eventually, they would be the parents of John the Baptist, Zechariah was even given the important role of praying for God’s people in the Temple, but he questioned God’s ability. He went from the speaker of God’s people to mute until he found His voice for God again.
Mary and Joseph– Were given the name and titles of the earthly parents of Jesus, the Messiah. You better believe they struggled with an identity crisis!
The Pharisees and Sadducees– Oh the pious leaders of religion who forgot what God really said for His people. Their belief was strong in their opinions of God’s Word, but the struggled with who God was and what He said.
The 12 Disciples- These were just normal everyday hard working men. Some were fishermen, while others were a tax collector, a twin, brothers and even a betrayer. They would be the circle of men who followed Jesus in His ministry. Even though they were first hand witnesses to his wonders, they struggled with believing all He said. Later they would each (except for Judas) become Apostles who would make sure we have the Good News today.
Jesus’ brothers- Yes, Jesus had brothers who doubted His identity and in essence their identity as brothers to the Messiah. They catch up later.
Mary and Martha– One was the worker bee sister and the other a “sit at the feet of Jesus and let everything else go” sister. Their identity took a struggle at times, but they were called friends of Jesus. That’s a pretty good title to have.
Saul- Once a persecutor of Christians, he would encounter Jesus in a blinding bright light on the road to Damascus. He got a new name, Paul, and became a fierce promoter of Jesus and for all to become a Christian. His identity motto would be to die to self and live your new identity in Jesus.
The Christian churches– Most of the letters in the New Testament were written to Christian churches and followers to remember who they were and who God is. They all struggled with identity and shedding their old ways.