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Identity (Part 2)

Identity (Part 2)


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Episode Overview

On this episode, we'll take time to pray about what we are allowing to form our lives. Sometimes, the things forming us are making us like Jesus; sometimes, though, we're being formed into something other than Jesus. Today, we're creating some space to talk with God about what is forming us and our Gen Zers so we can better pray for and walk with them as they seek to journey with Jesus.

Read the Script

Welcome to The Approach. I’m Connor Owen, and I serve on staff at World Gospel Mission. This is one of our prayer habit episodes where we create intentional space to pray over the previous episode. Last time, on Identity (Part 1), we talked about where Gen Z is finding identity, and the fact that sometimes the thing we think is true of us, the thing we allow to form our identity, is not true of us. It’s a lie that we’ve been told and believed. Today we are going to pray about our role in guiding Gen Z so that they can find their identity—their truest form of self—in Christ alone.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” In other words, my heart becomes like the things my heart focuses on. This makes me ask a question: what are the things I make room for in my life? What are the things that are forming me?

One area where we become formed is our time spent with God. More specifically, it’s in our wrestling with God where we become formed, where we find our identity, much like Jacob.

Many of us know the story of Jacob wrestling with God. But what happened before this event might show us why this was a formative experience. In Genesis 32, Jacob’s brother, Esau, was pursuing him, and Jacob was afraid. So he began sending cattle, servants, and his family on ahead of him as gifts to Esau, hoping that when they encountered Esau, Jacob would be in his graces.

And after Jacob has sent everyone ahead of him we see in verse 24 we see that “Jacob was left alone.” During this time, Jacob wrestles with God. And in verse 25, God “threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.” And it’s in this place and during this wrestling where God gives Jacob “A new name, a new identity, a new future. ¹

Some compare this wrestling encounter to spiritual disciplines and the way the spiritual disciplines are moments in which the believer can wrestle with God, can allow God to touch them, to change them, to give them an identity from Him, not from the world.

And this is what we’re aiming for. We desire for Gen Z to put on an identity that is found in Christ. Not in what they see on the news, not in social media, not in their accomplishments; none of that. But our prayer is that their identity, who they truly are, is found in Christ.

Let’s begin with a prayer that reminds us of where we put our hope. We put our hope in God, and one of the spiritual disciplines He uses to renew our spirit is the reading of His Word. And in Psalm 33, we get a reminder of how firm a foundation the Bible is. As we pray from this Psalm, I’ll say a line and give you space to repeat that line out loud or in your head.

Psalm 33, verse 4.

God’s Word is solid to the core.

Everything he makes is sound, inside and out.

A question we can ask ourselves is: What’s filling and forming us? Sometimes I’ll get sucked into the narratives of the world, and I’ll lose sight of what my real identity is because I’m allowing something or someone else to form me. For just a moment, let’s pause and pray over what is filling and form us. Maybe the thing filling you is forming you more into the image of God; and if that’s the case, ask God to continue giving you more of that. But maybe what’s filling you is giving you an identity that is not like Jesus. Is it rooted in fear of the unknown or what others say or think? And if that’s the case, maybe you need to lay down that thing that is filling and forming you into something that is not like our Savior. Take some time to talk to God about that. Sometimes that’s silence. Sometimes it’s groanings that the Spirit interprets. Sometimes it’s audible words. Whatever it is, take some time with God.

We’ve tried to review where we’re getting our identity from. Now, let’s think about your Gen Zer. What is forming them? Maybe they have a strong community and are in the Word and praying daily. Or maybe their identity is being formed from something other than Christ. Again, let’s take some space to talk with God, however you feel comfortable, to sense what it is that is filling them so that you can either look for ways to build more of it or offer an alternative.

I recognize that that you may not walk away from this episode with all the answers when it comes to your Gen Zers’ identity is less than ten minutes. What I want to challenge you with is to pause daily over the next week—maybe it’s while you’re pouring your morning coffee or brushing your teeth at night-and ask: what is filling and forming my Gen Zer?  Where are they finding their identity? Is that identity that of a Child of God?

In Identity Part 1, we talked about the words we should use to describe the Gen Zer in our lives. Words like chosen and adopted. Holy and blameless loved, redeemed, faithful, forgiven, alive in Christ. We see these words in many parts of the Bible, and one of those passages is Exodus 19.

While camping in the desert, Moses went up on the mountain to be alone with God. During this time, the Lord instructed Moses to tell this to the people of Israel, and I think for us, it can be a strong reminder of what God calls us to be, what He desires us to be.

Exodus 19, verses 4 through 6.

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’”

¹ Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God, p. 35

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