In our world, a person’s identity is a big deal. It’s important for financial reasons, the integrity of a person’s interactions, stability with communication, and lots more reasons. It’s also interesting to consider that the Bible has some important things to say about our identity; particularly related to the Greek verb, “ἄγω.” This is a pretty common verb that’s used in the New Testament, and it means, “to lead.”
It’s interesting to consider that “ἄγω” is used in various ways and there are three verses that pertain to identity:
- John 10:3b, “ . . . , and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
- Luke 10:34b, “ . . . ; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”
- Romans 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
In each of these verses, someone is being led and I think it would be immensely helpful to us to think about our identity in relation to being led by God.
In the reference for John 10:3, Jesus is talking about us being sheep as we follow Jesus’ voice. This pushes us to think about how much, or even if, we see ourselves as sheep. If you think about sheep, they aren’t very bright and they heavily rely on their shepherd to look after them for food, safety, lodging, medical needs, etc. Maybe it could be helpful, when you’re anxious or fearful, to ask yourself if you’re being a sheep or trying to be a shepherd.
In the Luke 10:34 reference, this comes from the Good Samaritan parable and the badly beaten man is being led by the Samaritan to an inn so that he can recover from his injuries. In this passage, the beaten man is being led away from the place of trauma and injury and he is in the care of someone who is compassionate and participating in his healing. The man in this passage has changed from being a victim to being a patient. So, it could be helpful to ask ourselves in times of trauma, if we are being the victim of the trauma or letting God work healing into our souls as God’s patient.
Finally, in Romans 8:14, we see that being God’s son or daughter is the reality of our identity when we let Holy Spirit lead us. It is very important for us to live in this identity and truth rather than letting insecurity, family dysfunction and distortion form and control our outlook and choices.
All of these identities: sheep, patient and child are important for us to remember so that the enemy of our soul doesn’t steal or distort our true design. To this end, let’s remember to let God lead us and let’s be steady followers!