This Is Who I Am

Gary Campbell Jr.
3 min readJun 11, 2023

Who holds the authority in my life when it comes to identity formation?

We talked last week about the “expulsive power of a new affection”, meant to speak of the love of a believer when he or she comes to know and understand all that God has done for them in Christ, and the power of that affection to rewrite my identity and chart a different course for my life — a life of peace and purpose.

Unfortunately, even as Christians, this can also rightly describe our experience of embracing a worldly affection for our identity, rather than finding our sense of self in who the Lord says we are.

Embracing Freud?

In the Bible, sexuality is God’s good gift to humanity, prescribed for a particular context, to illustrate the powerful intimacy of the love of Jesus for us! The embracing of sexual desires outside of that good and beautiful plan are always described in terms external to the person and never as a part of an identity. Paul calls them “acts”, “works”, or “deeds” of the flesh, and our succumbing to them is never a positive and never has positive results.

In other words, sex and sexuality is always meant to be a thing subservient to our humanity. It is a gift in the Christian worldview, as noted above, but never the thing in and of itself about which we are to orient our lives and form our sense of identity.

Back to the “expulsive power of a new affection”…

Have we lost our first love?

Is Jesus no longer Whom we love and live for, rather have we elevated sexuality to the level of a god in our lives?

It Has Always Been About Jesus

For the Christian who feels sexual desires or has always felt a particular sexual orientation deeply and sincerely what is the answer? What do we do with these feelings? How are we to respond? The biblical word is repentance. Maybe that seems harsh, bear with me.

Coming back to Galatians 5, Paul says:

“Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with it’s passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

The answer to the question, “Who am I?” is always a Person. It is always a relationship. It is never a feeling, or a behavior.

The right response is submitting our feelings and desires (not repressing or denying them) to Him, that is what repentance is— leaving them on the Cross.

Maybe it’s not anything related to sexuality in your case. But when any identifier supersedes our identity as His, increasingly the things that identified us as His are pushed out. Slowly, incrementally, but eventually.

John Stott’s quote is worth repeating here:

“It is as if, having nailed our old nature to the cross, we keep wistfully returning to the scene of its execution. We begin to fondle it, to caress it, to long for its release, even to try to take it down again from the cross. We need to learn to leave it there.“

“I am ________________”

In June our culture takes an entire month to encourage me to boldly (Pride) declare my new affection, whereby that passion-as-identity comes roaring in, and externals — my feelings, my sexual desires and/or my orientations — fill in the “blanks” of my identity:

“I am ____________.”

For the Christian though, it is:

“I am, a son/daughter of the King.” (2 Cor. 6:18; 1 John 3:1)

“I, belong to Christ”. (Ephesians 2:13–15)

“I am, married to Christ.” (Romans 7:4)

“I am, loved by God.” (Rom. 5:8 & Eph. 2:4)

“I am, His.” (Rom. 8:35, 37–39; Eph. 1:5)

The reality is that Jesus knows you. Jesus loves you. And Jesus went to the Cross for your redemption and forgiveness, that you might find your fullest sense of self in Him and who He says you are.

So, who holds the authority for your sense of self? Will you allow Scripture to have the authority in your life to tell you who God says that you are? Or will your thoughts and feelings; passions and desires, be given the authority instead?

I’ll echo the words of Joshua for myself in these tumultuous times —
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

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Gary Campbell Jr.

Writing for Groton Bible Chapel & the larger Body of Christ on cultural issues, parenting, marriage, theology & other light-weight topics.