Sunday, July 14, 2024

Fake IDs and shedding false narratives

by PASTOR ERIC RUST / Contributing Writer
| June 28, 2024 1:00 AM

Identity is a huge cultural topic these days. We feel constant pressure to identify ourselves by our career, our family status, our political affiliation, or our gender/sexuality. And that’s just the beginning. Identity can be described by the answer to the question: "Who am I, really?" 

I’ve become convinced that my identity must be rooted first and foremost in Jesus Christ. When we know who we are in Jesus, confusion turns to clarity, and we become stronger in the face of adversity, more resistant to people pleasing, less fearful, and more confident in our purpose. There are three false narratives that try to shape our identity: the status narrative, the performance narrative, and the acceptance narrative. 

Moses and the status narrative

This narrative teaches us that wealth, family name and career are false identities.

Moses faced an identity crisis. Born to Israelite slaves but raised as Egyptian royalty, he had to choose between the privileges of Egyptian status and the oppression of his own people. Hebrews 11:24-26 highlights his choice to embrace his true identity and suffer with his people. 

Paul and the performance narrative

This narrative teaches us that success, performance, and achievement are false identities. Before becoming an apostle, Paul was a zealous persecutor of Christians, full of pride in his Jewish credentials. Philippians 3:4-9 describes his success in religious performance. However, he realized this was a false narrative and that knowing Christ was of ultimate value. Our performance doesn't define us; our identity in Christ does.

Me and the acceptance narrative

This narrative teaches us that what is most important is what people think of us. I faced my first identity crisis in seventh grade as a new kid at a new school, desperate for acceptance. I bought the lie that my worth depended on others' opinion of me. It took two years to understand that my identity was in what Jesus said about me, not what the crowd thought. And this isn’t just true of middle schools … it’s true throughout life: If we don't define who we are, others will do it for us.

While we are products of our past, we don’t have to be prisoners of it. We all have a fake ID to shed — a false narrative we believe about ourselves. So what false identity do you need to shed to step into God’s future for you?

Eric Rust is the pastor of Cedar Hills Church. He can be reached at