In March 2015, after Bruce Jenner underwent a 10-hour surgery to feminize his face, He said after multiple panic attacks, “What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?” When some think about Bruce Jenner and others who identify in gender opposite from their birth, they may be in utter disgust and anger. Others feel compassion and rapport. The Christian perspective about anything in life should be drawn straight from Scripture, as it is our guide for living like Christ. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “God created man in His own image, male and female He created them.” He even called the creation of man “very good” (v. 31). God made us male and female and nothing we can do will change that biological fact. God does not make mistakes and His plans are perfect. His image of you is beautiful and He desires you to know that fully.
When seeking out one’s identity you must go to the beginning, root, and source. I’m adopted and know my true family tree isn’t found in my adopted family heritage but my biological one. Someone with amnesia will search for the truth of their identity at its source. True identity is found in Christ alone and everyone strays from that mentally, physically, emotionally, sexually, and even spiritually. We must understand who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is to pass away so the new can come. Whatever your perceived identity was before submitting your life (mind, will, emotions, actions, sexuality, etc.) to Christ is now to align with His original identity for you. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” That means I submit my thoughts, ideas, identity, actions, dreams, and passions to Jesus. We see kids sometimes confused and searching for their identity through the way they dress, their choice of friends, hobbies, the markings and piercings on their bodies and their random (yet eventually returning) hair styles. But identity sought externally evades and never fulfills the inward desire for meaning and purpose. Thus, people attempt to internalize their identity beyond the surface by attaching it to thought, will, desire, and feelings – and rightly so. But your thoughts, desires, and feelings can lie to you.
Bruce Jenner, and Stephen Harrison for that matter, will never know true identity without dying to self and deciding to live as Christ. Everyone has sinned and falls short of God’s glory. The truth of God’s word and plan for our lives brings freedom and clarity to the confusion of our identity. Truth sets us free (John 8:32). God’s design for sexuality, identity, and anything else are always pure and right (Psalm 18:30). Our desires and thoughts apart from the truth of God’s word can lead us astray as they seem right but can lead to destruction (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). When our feelings, opinions, or thoughts go against God’s truth we must align them with His original design and intent. Celebrating sin, chaos, and confusion are not of God. 1 Corinthians 14:33 reminds us God isn’t the author of confusion. Satan is a liar, a deceiver, and masquerades as light and truth (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14).
The culture of this world celebrates sin – especially sexual sin. The culture of Christ repents and grieves over sin and calls sin what God calls sin. Sexual sin (the Greek word pornea) is any perversion of sex outside of marriage of one man and one woman (adultery, fornication, pedophilia, bestiality, lust, incest, homosexuality, i.e. Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10). In the same manner, finding identity in sexuality, gender, clothing style, or anything else other than who Christ says you are to be goes against God’s best design for our lives. We must not call evil good, good evil, bitter sweet, sweet bitter and become right in our own eyes (Isaiah 5:20-21).
Those struggling internally for peace, worth, and identity can find it in Christ alone. “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Some find their identity in their kid’s lives. Others find identity in their job. Nothing can quench the inner despair, desire, and search for one’s self but Christ. People say, “I’m searching for myself or I need to find myself.” Finding one’s self only comes by losing one’s self (Matthew 10:39; 16:25) and taking on the identity Christ gives you. In Christ, you are beautiful (Psalm 45:11), loved (Jer 31:3), unique (Psalm 139:13), special (Eph 2:10) and a host of other God-given qualities. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.