“You are what you eat.” “What you put in is what will come out!” “You are the sum total of the choices you make.” “You are not defined by your past mistakes.” “You know my name, not my story.” We hear pithy quotes like these all of the time; self-help books, memes, teenagers (and grown folks) seeking affirmation or clarity of their identity… I’d like to add another saying to this list.
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you will know that aside from being a husband, father, and pastor, I’m a rapper and producer of hiphop music. You may have heard of the band called “The Roots.” If you watch the latest version of the Tonight Show (starring Jimmy Fallon) you will recognize the Roots as the house band, but they’ve been putting out great music for a long time. Their frontman is Tariq Trotter, a.k.a., Black Thought, one of the G.O.A.T.’s (in my humble rap opinion).
Mr Trotter tweeted this out a while back…
“Truer words have never been spoken.” Maybe that’s an overstatement, but Black Thought kind of touched on something very important for we in the social media age to know.
You are not what you tweet.
I don’t know if I’ve just coined this phrase–probably not–but I believe it is a very important thing to realize. Social Media, the Internet age, has revolutionized how this generation lives life and forms their individual identities. Notice that I said “individual” identity. Social Media, if it has done anything, has further cemented the idea of individualism in our society while claiming to better connect us with those around us.
I remember telling someone the other day: if I want to find out about somebody, or something, I Google it. I search their website and social media to find out who they are, or what kind of company/organization it is. It is the common thinking and practice of today. It is certainly convenient and useful for there to be a single place to find the important and pertinent information about any given thing.
Is that a good representation of who we are though?
Absolutely not! Why?
What you see on the screen is not the same as the person ‘behind’ it. Often times, it’s the version of me that I want you to see.
The implications are numerous!
How many times do we see people tweet out the latest hashtag social cause, but live the same way we did before? How many times do we get a ‘like’ on our post from somebody, but never see anything past that?
On the flip side, how many times do we post things hoping only for the number of likes to keep climbing? How much thought and effort do we put into the pose, angle, lighting, filter, etc. on that Instagram post? The right combination might just get more likes than before.
The right post might just hep me feel better about who I am. It might just be the perfect addition to my identity. When people see me, maybe I can be flawless in their eyes! Maybe I’ll finally be alright, I’ll finally be okay, I’ll finally be complete.
You are not what you tweet. You are not what they tweet.
You are not what your Instagram posts hope to show off. You are not the number of likes, comments, and shares on your Facebook posts. Yet those are the very places we look to find our identity. Why is that? We know that we, in and of ourselves, are incomplete! And we know that simply being turned inwards, constantly looking to ourselves, doesn’t end up helping us be complete. Our identity cannot be totally or truly defined by us, it must be defined by He who made you.
More specifically, the Triune God of the Bible: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
God has created you and all things, God has defined your identity. How?
For starters: We are the crown of creation! It is only after God made humanity–man and woman who both and together bear the very Image of God (Gen 1:26-27; 5:1-2; 9:6)–that creation was complete and “very good” (Gen 1:31).
In other words: after God made us–which includes you– He said all of creation was then very good!
Look at creation in Genesis. You will see that all things are created by the speech, the actual Word, of God…except us.
It says God “formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Gen 2:7). God bent down, took the dirt that He spoke into existence into His hands, and formed you, crafted you, sculpted you, then breathed His own breath into you, into us! This is, to put it lightly, a notable departure from the pattern of creation. This may seem obvious, but you are different from everything else!
You are special, and not because a blog you read says so, or because you feel special, or because your online identity is getting popular.
You are special because God says you are, because God made you. Psalm 139 describes the effort, the detail, this way: He knit you together.
Have you ever knitted before? It’s hard, it’s meticulous, and time consuming.
See, you have value simply as a human being; simply because God made you, and He defines your value. He has said that He loves you, and His love, being that it’s from God, is not conditional, is not faulty, is not lacking.
He demonstrated it by what He was willing to give for you. See, we live in a world that is broken by sin. We don’t know who God is, and we don’t really want to know who God is. We are self-centred, prideful, unloving to our neighbours. To put it lightly, we are far from perfect. We inherited it from our parents, who inherited it from theirs, and it goes all the way back to the first people, Adam and Eve. They, and we, chose to reject God, the one who formed them, who put such effort and care into them, who made them in His very own image.
Choosing to reject Him has consequences: pain, suffering, death. But God, again, chose to show how valuable we are to Him, and immediately put His rescue plan into action.
See, a things value is determined by its maker, its manufacturer. The worth is calculated based on a number of factors, but the value ends up being shown by what is given in exchange for it, and the maker has that final decision.
God was willing to give Himself in exchange for us.
Remember the definition of God up there^^? “Triune God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit.”
Jesus Christ is God the Son. Jesus Christ gave Himself up to death on a cross for you. He did this to tell you something–I love you enough to redeem you with my own life.
That’s expensive. That’s valuable.
A guy by the name of Tim Keller once said, “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
God made you, He loves you, and who we are becomes clearer the more time we listen to what He says to us–His Word.
You are defined in Christ. You are not what you tweet.
by pastor nick.