(Message 3) Who do I want to be? Will I try to fit into confusing cultural trends, or let friends and others define my identity? Join us as we take look at a man who was defined by labels others placed on him, until he found his true identity in Jesus Christ. #GCIdentityTheft
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Philippians 4:8 NLT
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Colossians 3:2 NIV
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.
Was there anyone you wanted to be when you were a child? How is that different from what you actually are today?
Can you name a time when you pretended to be someone you were not because of the need to fit in?
Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.
Read Luke 19:1-10. Clay said that at some point between being camouflaged and conformed to an identity that others had put on him, Zacchaeus had a heart change. He realized that God had a greater purpose for his life, and the identity that everyone else had grown to despise, needed to be traded in for the identity that God had for him all along. Share a time when you were conforming to an identity others had put on you, but you were transformed because of your knowledge of who you really are in Christ. How did this impact you and others around you?
Clay listed three dangers of using camouflage to hide out in our everyday lives: We blend in with everyone else around us; We take on an identity of something that we were never intended to be; We settle for being less than who God designed us to be. Cite examples in your life. What impact did that camouflage have on you emotionally, spiritually, or physically?
Read Romans 12:2. What does that verse mean? Now read Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:2. How do these verses direct your focus in order to avoid the trap of defining yourself in terms created by others?
Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.
Who or what makes you feel valued? Do you believe it is a good decision to seek and gain value from this person or activity? Why or why not?
Are you presently being someone or doing something (job, playing a sport, volunteering, in an organization) because someone other than yourself thought you should? How does this make you feel?
What role do the opinions of others play in your everyday life? In what situations would you say their influence is the greatest? Why?
As we are wrapping up this Identity Theft series, what are the identity in Christ statements that have stood out to you the most? Example “John 1:12 – I am God’s child”.
Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.
Read these scriptures about our identity in Christ. Do it every day for a week.
2 Corinthians 3:18 – I’m being changed into His image
2 Timothy 1:9 – I am called of God
John 17:21 – I am one in Christ
Galatians 3:9 – I am blessed
2 Corinthians 5:17 – I am a new creation
Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.
Pray for wisdom and protection from the temptations to conform to the world. Don’t forget your spiritual armor! (Ephesians 6:10-18)