This past week I have been writing some curriculum for a D-Now that our team will be running next weekend. We’ve been going through the life of Joseph and seeing how what Jesus did on the cross has finished every trial and struggle that Joseph faces. We pointed out four main things that are finished in his life, his self-worth, self-identity, fear and his independence.
Identity means so much here in Portland. How you express yourself, your interests, your feelings and your sexuality define who you are. Coming from South Texas, I really struggled to understand where people were coming from and why they expressed themselves the way they did. But then, I got to see Joseph’s identity.
We began to break down Genesis 37 and we got a glimpse into what this “robe of many colors” was. Joseph’s was his father’s favorite son. To prove it, Israel gave him this beautiful coat which represented his affections for Joseph, and established his place above all of his brothers.
But his identity in his family did not last. He was taken by his brothers, sold into slavery and his robe was taken and destroyed. His identity was broken. He was no longer that which he believed himself to be. And I realized, neither was I.
A couple of hours later, I was gearing up for my weekly basketball game with a friend of mine named Tom. Tom is a married man, easily 15 years older than me. I’ve been playing with him for about 4 weeks now, and we’ve become pretty tight on the basketball court.
As we sat, he talked to me about how he had been a basketball player all his life, and it is what helped him stay away from bad things in college and early in his career. Basketball was who he was.
But then I remembered Joseph. So I told Tom who Joseph was. How he was his father’s favorite son, how he had this beautiful coat. And then it was broken.
And I told him who I was. How I was a tennis player and a bodybuilder, but one day on the court, I tore a ligament in my hand and was not able to play any sports for 18 months. My identity was broken. Who I thought I was I couldn’t be any longer.
My coat was taken from me. But I had another coat. One that was given to me by the King of Kings. One that shines like the sun and can never be destroyed. I have an eternal identity. I am a child of God.
Caleb Phillips is a Go Now missionary serving in Portland, Oregon with the Parachute Project.