Identity is defined as the distinguishing character or personality of an individual (Webster Merriam, 2022). Personality and individuality have a unique discrepancy. Personality is the “outward” appearance (mask) of what we display to others. Individuality is the essence or nature of the individual. This distinction explains to a degree why human nature does not see its identity in God, it sees self as the highest fulfillment in expressing a “pretense” of individuality to show others a false self (personality).
A new identity, shaped by the cross, really means when we restore or repair our inner relationship (partnership) with God by congruently behaving in matters of God as us, such as dignity, justice, honor, liberty, and flourishing (ERLC, 2014).
Honoring God in every individual is the immaterial part of humanity that explains the Imago Dei, which is the “image of God.” Gods image compels the individual in this image, where we all share a common thread in the broad canvas of the human experience. It sets human beings apart from the animal world, fits them for the dominion God intended them to have over the earth (King James Bible, 1769/2020, Genesis 1:28 ). It enables us to commune a relationship with our Creator in likeness mentally, morally, and socially. There has never been a human being who was not created by God’s image (ERLC, 2014). God’s image is what animates in everything we do.
The imago dei drove Mother Teresa to care for the sick and dying in Calcutta, as it has motivated Christians throughout the centuries to care for the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised (Shelly et al., 2006). Knowing that another human being is created in the image of God is one aspect that drives health care workers (Christian helpers, others) to want to care for a sick human being and give the dying a peaceful and comforting death.
Being made in God’s image means we were built for relationship. At our core, our most fundamental need is to love and be loved – to belong. God made us in His image so that we might glorify Him and enjoy eternal, intimate, loving relationship with Him.
The broken relationship with God is restored through Christ’s death. Because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, our relationship with God is changed forever when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. It is much more than having our sins forgiven and going to heaven when we die. Our aim is the realized activation in The Holy Spirit of God.
In King James Bible, 1769/2020, Psalm 73:28, illustrates the relationship with God identity, “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell all your works. Further in King James Bible, 1769/2020, Ephesian 4:24 4:24 provides a clearer distinction, “And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
ERLC. (2014). Imago dei: The image of God [Video]. You Tube. https://youtu.be/r-rzM5EojJY
Merriam & Webster. (2022). Identity. https://meriam-webster.com/identity
Shelly, J. A., Miller, A. B., & Fenstermacher, K. H. (2021). Called to Care: A Christian Vision for Nursing. Publishers Weekly, 268(20), 55. https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=150356542&site=eds-live&scope=site&custid=s8333196&groupid=main&profile=eds1
King James Bible. (2020). King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/ (Original work published 1769)