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Sabbath: Crisis of Identity — 23 Comments

  1. The lesson study for today talks about loss of identity. Perhaps it should have titled, "When identity becomes more important than substance" I don't want to steal too much from the rest of the study for this week, but I will note that at least some of Isaiah 1 is about going through the motions of religious observance without the actions that should follow. It is called hyporcrisy.

    Isaiah 1 is a challenging read, especially when you apply it to the modern Christian Church. Is that a stretch too far, or is the message just as relevant today as it was when it was written?

    • Maurice - are these lessons about the identity of members of the Seventh Day Adventist organization, or are they about the identity of the general Christian believer?

      • I did not choose the picture so I can only guess what was in the mind of the person who created or chose it. However I see people searching one another for their identity and going around in circles trying to find it. Of course we need to find our identity in Jesus in order to gain a purpose and direction in our lives.

      • To me the picture also symbolizes the blind leading the blind because they've all got their arms stretched out, perhaps to feel along following the one in front of them. We look for ways to keep from being "tossed to and fro" (Eph. 4:14-16).

  2. Why have we lost our identity? We used to be called people of the books but now we have lost it. How did that happen? We have become complacent in our worship, lifestyle and relationship with Christ. We have that mindset that we have the truth and people have to accept or reject it.

    Jesus was able to reach thousands of lives because He met their needs. We need to meet the people where they are. Jesus has been telling us TO GO but we are waiting for the people to come to us. Unless we are active in the community, we will continue to lose our identity. We have spent more time fighting among ourselves, and arguing who is right or wrong than preaching the gospel. In contrast, we have to also know why we believe in certain things.

    Peter stated: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you, with MEEKNESS and fear. I Peter 3:15 KJ (Capitalized by me)"

    When we understand that being a Christian is more than coming to church on Sabbath morning, then we will get our identity back. Happy Sabbath and let US continue be grateful to GOD because He has permitted us to see the last sabbath of the year. Jesus loves you no matter what you are going through.

    • While I appreciate much of what you are saying Jude Auguste, I am also acutely aware that there are many Seventh-day Adventists who are very active in the community and who are taking the Gospel "in action" to the people they meet every day. In fact, the restrictions that are in place for many of us in the COVID pandemic have been an incentive to think in terms of a more sharing attitude among our church members. I am not suggesting that we are perfect by any means, but maybe we are finding alternative ways of meeting and sharing that provide a forward direction for us.

      • Thanks for your response. When I was talking about being active, I was talking as the church in general. There are many churches and individuals who have been active, however they are exceptions to the majority. We have failed as a worldwide church to provide the help to the community. Amen

  3. I discovered that Isaiah lived in the time when the 12 tribes of Israel had been divided into the 10 tribes in the Kingdom of Israel and 2 tribes of the Kingdom of Judah - Judah and Benjamin. Are God's people now days also divided and fighting each other?

      • Andre, you ask what I believe divides us - it is what we believe is the truth, that is why there are so many denominations. Even in our community of faith there are strong differences on some topics.
        The 12 tribes divided over taxes not worship.

      • So many words for it, right? .... I'd say pride, labels, lack of forgiveness, divided loyalties to a "side", stagnation in a pool of distrust, not enough deep prayer.

  4. And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consistent not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. Luke 12:15

    Crisis of Identity

    Yesterday was Christmas, the day the Christian world celebrated the birth of Christ. But have we SDA Christians taken Christ out of Christmas? Then it was only a mas(s).

    We had a family get together yesterday (with restrictions to the Covid). We had no want of food. My children always ask me what do I want for special days( anniversary/birthdays, etc), I always says dont get me anything but they insist in still buying gifts for me. Some of their gifts I have not open/used for years now and they are aware.

    When I beheld the amount of gifts at a corner of the room at the get together I was shocked. Gift exchange is about you give me and I give you (for the well fortunate). Is that what the bible tells us to do/inferred? Aren't we called to give to the less fortunate, the poor, the outcast and take care of the widows, the orphans, etc. Isn't the tithing system supposed to provide means for the Poor (Levites, the widows, the strangers and the orphans)? My question is; Reading the bible and looking at Isa 1:1-31. Is my family having Crisis of Identity? Is the passage relevant to my household?

    What are we as SDA called to do? Have we forgotten how the Lord had been with us and led us all the way?
    The Lord is calling a people to come and reason with him.

    • There is another side to this giving thing that we need to consider. I don't like being given gifts either, but for some people giving gifts is their love language and I have found that it is more blessed to receive graciously than not to receive at all.

      When I was a kid, my brother and I gave Dad a pair of pliers for Christmas. Dad was a builder and carpenter by trade and had more tools than he could poke a stick at. He did not need a pair of pliers but he accepted the gift graciously and affirmed that he knew that we loved him by using it. In essence his gift of love and acceptance in return was much more than our gift of a pair of pliers.

      I remember that today when I get gifts that I neither want nor need. I endeavour to be graciously accepting because I know how much acceptance means to the giver. That is my return gift to them.

      One of my atheist friends made the comment about how often she sees Christians being so ungracious about Christmas giving. She made the observation that we are an intolerant bunch. I know that she does not like receiving gifts either but she has learned the lesson of gracious receiving, and has helped me to understand its importance. It is really about how we treat others.

      Grace and gracious come from the same root.

  5. I want to tell a sad story I read sometime ago about an eagle who lived like a chicken.

    Once upon a time, in the mountainside lived an eagle.The eagle laid four eggs in her nest.Sadly, a strong wind came and shook the nest and one egg rolled down the valley into chicken farm.

    The chicken found the egg and kept it as one of their own.As time went by, the eagle's egg hatched alongside other eggs.The chicken eggs produced chicks and the eagle's egg produced an eaglet.The chicken treated the eaglet as chicken and raised him as one of them.

    One day as the eaglet was looking at the sky, show an eagle soaring up in the sky.The eaglet said to his friends, "I want to soar like the eagle".His friends laughed at him and teased him."You!, you are not an eagle! You are chicken like us!And chicken do not fly!"

    As the eagle grew up, he was happy with his friends but he was missing something.Every time the eaglet looked at the sky, he longed to fly.Every time he felt like flying, he would be told by his chicken friends the same thing, "you cannot fly, you are chicken and chicken don't fly".

    As the chicks grew up, they started to imitate their mother chicken;walking and eating like mum.The poor eaglet had no choice but to do the same.Finally, the chicks became chicken and the eaglet became an eagle.

    Sadly overtime, the eagle stopped dreaming about flying in the open sky. He even stopped talking about flying.As the years rolled by, the eagle lived more and more like chicken and less and less like an eagle.After many years, he died like chicken.

    The story of an eagle who lived like a chicken is a graphic demonstration whom we become in perpetual sin.We lose our identify. In Christ Jesus, we can live a victory life but the devil tells us, you cannot live a holy life", "you are sinner and you cannot stop sinning", "you are ok, you can do whatever you want and still be a christian".

    In Christ Jesus we are more than conquerors(Rom.8:37) and we should not accept any position of weakness and failure. Yes, in Christ Jesus our identify is unique."But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light"(1 Peter 2:9).

    As we start a new quarter in our Bible studies,"Comfort My People", may the Holy Spirit comfort our souls with Living Word of God.

  6. "Domestic animals know the one who feeds them daily. Even irrational beings know where to find their food, and that is why they have a certain affection for the person who supports them. But this was not the case with God's people! Inattentive and ungrateful to the heavenly Father's tender care, they became guilty of the most ungrateful folly. They did not even demonstrate the poor intelligence of animals" (SDABC about Isaiah 1:3)

    Are we doing the same?

  7. “The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” – Isaiah 1:2,3KJV. In these words, I can hear our heavenly Father's exasperation and longing to bring His people back home. It will be interesting to learn about God’s work of Justice, Mercy and Grace to restore *His people* to Himself and to make this applicable to our day and time.

    Issues which plagued the relationship between the people of Israel and their God still hamper mankind’s ability today to meet their Creator on His terms.
    Isaiah 1:18-20KJV – informs about His approach. He is the sovereign God, Creator of Heaven and earth, He holds all Authority to establish the conditions for the negotiations; He admonishes, calling for man's reasonable understanding and emotions to trust Him that He can and will do what He says!
    He does not waver in His requirements, leaving no doubt that He expects our willing obedience before He fulfills His promised blessings; but He is longsuffering, understanding our weaknesses and limitations as a fallen creature, knowing what sin has done to our ability to have a spiritual relationship with Him.
    Without His Spirit leading us through this earth's darkness into His light, mankind remains in its identity crises - shackled to the limitations of the flesh.
    To agree to allow Him access to our heart and mind so that He can restore His relationship with us, though be it all on His terms, is the minimum of His requirements; but by Faith, it will lead the willing to learn to trust Him and to love Him.

    I accept my relationship with my Heavenly Father to be absolutely unique and extraordinary, acknowledging to have no other source for information but from His Spirit’s mouth through His Son, His Prophets, and the Apostles; He holds all the cards!
    All mankind has to realize this and surrender their Pride of Life to His unassailable authority – He established no other way for Himself to reunite with those that seek the Creator’s Truth and Light.

  8. The new year is a time that many people worldwide reconsider their identity. Resolutions are made based on "how does my outside not match my inside and what can I do about it?" We run from diet to diet, from relationship to relationship, job to job, social event to social event, church to church, entertainment to entertainment, hoping to "find ourselves". If we seek our identity in any of these things and it ends - who are we then? If my identity is with my mate / marriage / any human relationship, who am I if that crumbles? If my identity is in my career, who will I be if I lose my job or when I retire?

    I wonder when Jesus became aware of His identity? The angel told his father Joseph his identity before He was born (Matt 1:21). We know that He was in the Temple asking challenging questions at age 12. When Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matt 16:15) He was not asking for confirmation for Himself, but to help them with their own identity search. It's the same question we each need to answer in every age. When Jesus is simply a great spiritual man (Matt 16:14) or the Son of David (Matt 22:42), we miss the gift He came to give us. An incomplete answer leaves us stuck at #lifegoals as defined by our culture and upbringing, and trying to "be kind" on our own. When we are mistaken in understanding Jesus' identity (Matt 16:16-17) , we are mistaken about our own identity too. Like the Israelites of Isaiah's time, we too are a covenant people. Jesus is the only Christ and we are His, created by Him for His joy and honor.

    I'm so grateful that we can have a secure identity in a relationship with Jesus. I'm excited about what He's doing in me to make me new (2 Cor 5:17) and I want to be identified with Him (2 Peter 1:4). The change is significant and secure compared to facing a new year only armed with self-help books and determination to "be better" or love myself. Jesus alone is the one who can make my external self match my true self. Jesus alone is my ikigai (a Japanese word meaning the “reason for which you wake up in the morning”). As members of His Body, we can encourage each other in choosing to live for His glory, not our own (2 Peter 1:5-11; Hebrews 12:1-3).

  9. This is indeed another spiritually inspiring lesson.How much like ancient Israel as Christians today we forget and loose our identity. God have mercy!

  10. From Exodus 20:5
    We see why Judah has lost it’s ID.
    Fingerprints are a well known form of identity, thus when this generation lift up there hands. GOD hides from them. They have not been at one ment ( atonement ) with GOD. Their sins are not transferred no found in the sanctuary.


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