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Galatians 3

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Act Like Yourself…

This starts with identity. We have two identities.

Individual identity, “Who am I?”

Group identity, “Who are my people?”

Before we think of who we are, we need to know there is a lot inside of us ready to be like someone else. Our best true self, you can call it. We have the blueprint of the one God created. When we are acting like ourselves then, it is acting like our best, true selves.

So, who am I?

I am the son of an adoring Father who is the King of all that exists. You are the daughter of an adoring Father who is King.

Who are my people?

We are royalty. My people are those who identify with the same loving Father and follow in his ways, trusting in Jesus, our model and teacher, as well as our Savior.

Individual identity and group identity are not identical, but they can’t be separated.

As my identity is developing, how do I respond? It is helpful to think of group identity here, because that takes priority.

We start really developing group identity when we reach middle school age. This is why middle school or jr. high as you might have called it, are remembered not so fondly for many of us. Unless we suppressed those years all together:)

You might remember middle school as an awkward time. We mainly think of puberty issues and such as the source of our non-fond memories and awkwardness. With the latest brain science what we realize now is the main challenge of those years is we are establishing a group identity. Who are my people? Middle School students tend to experiment and go from group to group. Not as much puberty and awkwardness but confusion over who my people are.

This is why we invest in young people at this critical time so they know who their people are. Those who share life with them following Jesus. This is why we partner with parents to give sons and daughters the opportunity to explore who they are in the context of a faith community.

Here’s the thing. In the identity center of the brain we have neurons called, “mirror neurons.” These neurons can’t look at themselves. They can only look at others and activate the neurons that reflect what they see.

Jim Wilder says, “If I live with people who regularly show disgust around me, my mirror neurons will reflect that and I will learn to think of myself as someone who generates disgust. If I live with parents who take delight in who I am and demonstrate that delight regularly, I learn to see myself as someone who brings joy to others.”

ME

Whenever you feel pressure or anxiety, remember you are God’s son or daughter facing pressure or anxiety.

 

Psalm 101:6

I will search for faithful people

    to be my companions.

By the time we reach middle school age, we are developing a group identity. Before this we are dealing with the question, “Who am I?” But as we get older, group identity becomes even stronger than individual identity. Our identity becomes belonging to a group. Our identity is the answer to these two questions.

Who are my people?

How is it like us to act?

Sports teams, gangs, church youth groups, terrorist groups, you name it, positive or negative, we all develop identity groups whom we identify as our allies. It is where we belong.

King David emphasizes faithful people as his “tribe.” People who are full of trust in God and his ways.

When our people are those who follow Jesus, then it is much easier to answer the question, “How is it like us to act?” Jesus is God with us and we use the model of his life and his teachings to inform us of how it is like us to act. We can’t act this way on our own power, but because Jesus sends his Holy Spirit to remain with us, we become new people who can.

Me

If one of your “people” groups is your immediate family, how is it like you to act? Is this helpful? Why or why not?