The answer to this question will tell you what you need to know about yourself.

A few days ago I saw the intro to the season nine finale of the ABC show Modern Family the youngest cast member on the show Joe (played by Jeremy Maguire) reacted, when his mother sneezed while cutting his hair leaving him with a bad haircut; this caused him to proclaim “my hair is my identity!” The surprised and disappointed look on his face was priceless. But it brings to mind a bigger and deeper question. A question that has haunted countless people. The question is simple but daunting for many: “Who am I?”

What’s your identity?

Men, generally speaking, are notorious for going through a midlife crisis. Maybe it’s an affair, a Corvette Stingray or some other life altering decision to do something that goes against their normal course of behavior. Why do so many men (and women too) go through such struggles? The problem is not necessarily facing one’s own mortality, though that may play a role, the problem is much deeper. How you identify yourself will affect not only the decisions you make but how you cope with life’s struggles and sadness. Try this. Fill in the blank: I am a/an _______________.

What was your answer? Did you write your occupation? Did you write something related to your personality? Maybe you mentioned your role in your family. How you completed that sentence indicates where or in what you find your identity.

Why is your answer so important?

If you listed your occupation in the blank then you must ask yourself: “what happens when I’m no longer in that occupation?” What happens when the pink slip is handed to you, the company downsize dissolves your position or you simply reach the finish line and retire? For many people the result is depression and despair. You experience a feeling of loss, your sense of direction and purpose in life is gone. If your answer was a spouse or parent; what do you do if your spouse leaves you or passes away? What if, and God forbid, that you have to bury your child?

The Answer

When you place your identity in temporal things despair is never far away. Whether your identity is in your job, your car, your possessions, your conquest, your job, your family, or your hair (which, by the way, will one day turn gray or loose), the end is always around the corner and what will you do when the end arrives? The Apostle Paul, when speaking of enduring hardships, pointed to the hope we can have when persecution and peril engulfs us. His words are simple, powerful and true: “So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). If you want to avoid the identity crisis that’s around the corner, identify yourself with the only thing that is truly permanent; the eternal God who loves you so much He gave you the greatest gift you will ever hope to receive. When you trust Christ as Savior “not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Rom. 8:38-39)

There’s many paths offering satisfaction, peace, fulfillment and meaning; but if Christianity is true (and there is overwhelming evidence that it is) there’s only one way that you can go to find the life that brings ultimate meaning and purpose. Jesus said; “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10). If you choose to give your life to Christ – to identify yourself as His – you will still face struggles and sadness but your identity will stay intact as you rest in your identity as a child of God.

You can become a child of God by admitting you’re a sinner, believing Jesus was who He said He was, and placing your trust in Christ as Savior. By giving your life to Christ you will receive God’s gift of salvation (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9, 13). If you do make this decision let me know about it on FB or Twitter.

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Dr. Brady Blevins is the senior apologist at Watchman Fellowship and assistant dean of the Graduate Theology School at Arlington Baptist University. Follow him on Twitter: @bradyblevins and/or Facebook: facebook.com/brady.blevins1