Skeptics Welcome (part 4): Self-ish

TO START

Give each group member a piece of paper and some crayons or markers. Have members draw a picture of themselves. Around the picture have them answer the question: Who am I?

Share your pictures.

How do we as humans determine our personal identity? What were some different ways your group chose to define themselves? How might you have defined yourself differently in middle or high school than you do now?

 

TO DISCUSS

We began our discussion of identity (from both a secular and spiritual perspective) by identifying two ways humans have historically defined themselves: in the context of community and through personal expression. Consider the following questions you answer every day.

  • What do I wear?
  • What do I eat?
  • What words do I say and not say?
  • What stories do I tell?
  • What do I drive?
  • What do I watch?

Do you make these decisions out of community identity or out of individual expression? What makes you come to that answer? Do you feel like one answer is more honorable or respectable than another?

If culture right now is saying, “What I want is who I am,” what might be problematic about that approach to identity?

  • Have you ever wanted something but decided it wasn’t who you were? Share.
  • Have you ever gotten confused and followed the path of identity in personal pursuit of wants and desires? Share with the group.

Identity is all about self-assertion. As Keller articulates it, “You are your individual dreams and desires, and your self-worth depends on the dignity you bestow on yourself.” Is that true? Does it work?

Consider Matthew 11: 28-30.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

What is a yoke? (Answer: a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull).

If Jesus is asking us to accept a yoke to what is He comparing us?

How are we like oxen?

If we take Jesus’ yoke, how does that affect our ability to exercise personal expression? How much choice do oxen have in where and how they’ll plow?

What is the result of taking Jesus’ yoke? Have you had that experience? Share a time when you were under Jesus’ yoke (doing something you didn’t necessarily want to do personally) and yet discovered an "easy and light" manner of life.

 

TO READ

Read I Chronicles 17:16-27.

  • Who is Solomon according to this passage? How does he define himself?
  • What would it look like for Solomon to pursue his own self-actualization based on His understanding of what determines identity?
  • What can you learn about your own identity from this passage?

 

TO PRAY

Make a list together of unhealthy places you’ve sought identity. Then, pray this prayer of confession and realignment, inserting your list into the blank:

Lord, I pray that I would stop trying to find my identity in anything other than being Your child, a child of the King and a citizen in the Kingdom of God. Thank You for this amazing grace in my life! Lord, help me see the minute I start placing my identity in something else, like ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Help me in those moments to remember that nothing brings me peace and fulfillment  me the way You do. Help me rebuke my desires and remember to Whom I belong. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!