The Pursuit of Identity
It really is true that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9). In his book Youth Ministry 3.0 Mark Oestreicher says that adolescence has three tasks.
1. Identity – Who am I?
2. Autonomy – How am I unique?
3. Affinity - Where and who do I belong to? 
Now as I read Deuteronomy 4 the other day I realised that God has been answering these questions for us for thousands of years. It’s not just teenagers who need these questions answered. God’s people Israel, a teenage nation, did as well.
Q. Who am I?
A. You are the descendents of Abraham, whom I loved (v37) and made a covenant with (v1). You have been given my word (v1) to teach you and instruct you. You are the people who I rescued from slavery in Egypt (v20) through my great power and presence (v37). You are the people who have heard my voice (v33) and seen me do unheard of things (v34).
Q. How am I unique?
A. You are unique because I am near you when you pray (v7). You are unique because you have seen me do things that have never been seen before (v32-34). You are unique because I have spoken to you (v36) and revealed myself to you (v31). You have been shown these things so that you might know that I am God (v35) and display my greatness to the nations around you (v6)
Q. Where and who do I belong to?
A. You are the nation of Israel. (v1) You belong to me (v31) in the land that I am giving you (v5). The land I promised to your forefathers (v2).
As I read Deuteronomy 4 I was reminded of the identity, which is mine in Christ. Like Israel I am one of God’s people and I have his word. I too was rescued from slavery by God’s great power. God is near me when I pray and I have seen him do amazing things in the world around me. I belong in God’s presence and he has a land that he is preparing to lead me into.
We are all on the hunt for identity, not just teenagers. As we search, may God lead us to passages like Deuteronomy 4, which have such wonderful reminders of all that is ours when we are in a relationship with the One True God.
Caringbah Anglican Church
Mark Oestreicher Youth Ministry 3.0. A Manifesto of where we’ve been, where we are and where we need to go. Youth Specialities 2008. p33-42
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