We live in a consumer driven age where brand names mean everything. There are more brands on the shelf than I could possibly name and they are all marketed to a certain segment of the population. In many groups if you don’t have a certain brand you aren’t cool, hip or chic enough to be a member.
Due to the desire to be accepted, many spend a fortune they don’t have to be accepted by others that often don’t have either. We buy and wear, carry or accessorize with these brands to help define us.
In some area Wrangler jeans and Justin boots are it. Others Wranglers will get you funny looks, but skinny Levi’s are the rage. In other areas it’s Timberland boots or Nike shoes. Others just have to have the MK or Vera Bradley purse to be somebody. Then we have jewelry. Breitling and Rolex spend fortunes marketing to people who just wear the watch because of the name when a Casio would work just as well.
The question is, what drives people to build an identity or identify as someone who dresses a certain way and hangs with a certain group? What drives this desire? Many have no idea who they are. They don’t have an identity other than their name and they most likely don’t know what that means. To fill that void they look to celebrities and fashion magazines to try to fit a mold they think will give them what they want, but still leaves a hole that they spend more money trying to fill. This is a great thing for business but not for you or your family.
Your identity comes from two places. The first is your parents. They raise you, guide you, speak life to you, build you up or tear you down. This is where you initially get the identity of being a winner, smart, capable, succesful or stupid, worthless, a failure and ugly. What they tell you has a great impact. Often times the reality of that impact is not known until well into adult years. If you have kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren you can speak life and a positive identity also. It’s not something strictly up to the parents, although what they say carries more weight.
The second place, and the most important yet the most overlooked, is Jesus. The New Testament has numerous references to who you are. Once you have accepted Christ you have a new identity. People and brand names can not define you. Only the truth of the gospel can.
For example in Romans 8:14-17 tells us ” For as many are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out ‘ Abba, Father ‘. The Spirit Himself bears witness that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer Him, that we may also be glorified together. ”
1 Peter 2:9-10 tells us ” But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. ” Believers & followers of Christ are called a royal priesthood back in verse 5. in verses 4-5 it says ” Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus. ”
Just in those couple of passages you see that you are considered precious, a royal priesthood like Jesus, chosen by the King of kings and an heir with Jesus as a child of God to all of His glory. See, it matters not what a teacher, friend, coach or angry parent says about you. They don’t have the final say. The one who created you has the final say and He has said it very clear. In taking the time to learn who you are in Christ, not the latest jeans or shoes, will bring a peace that makes those things unimportant.
Experience has taught me that finding your own faith does everything for your peace of mind. Living, or just accepting, your parents faith as yours doesn’t give the answers or bring the peace that others have who found this. Don’t let GQ, Teen Vogue, Maxime or any other magazine & website tell you who you are and what’s wrong or how to fix it. It’s a marketing plot to get you to the next installment, the next issue. They will never give you the real answers nor the real peace, just a void where you know something is missing but you can’t quite figure out what. The answers are in Jesus.