Should I know my authentic self?

Our Identity — On earth as it is in heaven

Mark Raja
Kerygma Teens Club
7 min readMay 17, 2024


© Jon Amdall

Why do we ask ourselves, “Who am I?” Or aspire to become someone with significance? You might know well that all humans have a basic need for identity, recognition and belonging. It is essential for our well-being and even our survival.

It is observed that newborn infants have to be touched, massaged, cuddled and interacted with, or else their gastrointestinal system shuts down, and they die even though they are given nutrition. Isn’t it incredible to see how we are wired to experience these needs even from day one?

This is not just a physiological need but also a psychological, social and spiritual one. So, how are these needs met?

We are born with the need to belong to our tribes and to aspire for significance, which means acquiring a sense of purpose, contribution and recognition.

Early in life, we identify with the family we belong to, the shared language we speak, ethnicity, gender, etc. These identities given to us are necessary and even sacred. However, later in school or college, we tend to identify with our abilities, values, interests, achievements, education, status, etc.

When these needs are met, that is when we receive desired validation for our actions, we develop a sense of self-esteem. If not, our sense of identity and belonging turns uncertain and insecure, giving way to anxiety and a feeling of isolation. Then we ask ourselves, Who am I?

Normally, during the adolescence phase, which is marked by significant physical, cognitive, and socioemotional changes, we re-evaluate our identities as we undergo intense self-exploration and questioning.

Likewise, when a notable change occurs in one’s life, like a tragic or traumatic experience, the loss of a loved one, failure, divorce, loss of a job, or even a common thing like marriage or retirement can trigger an identity crisis. It can happen at any point in our lives, even to those who seem to always know exactly who they are.

Generally, for a healthy sense of self-identity, we need a balanced view of self and our tribes. But in our present self-centred (hyper-individualistic) culture, we put the self above all and devalue the community. It tells me that I am the author of my identity and destiny, therefore I must pursue finding my unique and authentic self to succeed and elevate myself higher up the social hierarchy.

On the contrary, collectivistic cultures can equally be hurting too. They value the tribe above all and disregard individuality.

In reality, both cultures are incapable of meeting our needs but rather develop a sense of anxiety, hopelessness, worthlessness, lack of aspiration, lack of trust, cynicism, and other mental illnesses.

Social media became popular because it promised to meet our needs for significance within the individualistic culture. However, it has made our lives even worse.

Therefore, today, we are at a point where we have taken the burden of defining our authentic selves. Nevertheless, it is an elusive pursuit because we are not what we think or feel at the moment. My identity is the story I tell about my actions, it is like a dramatic role I play with others to receive validation for my actions. But in most cases, I don’t get the results I expect. Hence, I feel anxious, insecure and uncertain about myself and mistrust people around me.

But why do we still pursue to author our identity? It is because man from the beginning, wants to create his own identity for his own advantage at the expense of his neighbour. Everyone pretends that this pursuit works, but in reality, we are constantly deprived of our need for significance. You can find this on social media.

Life is tragic, says the provocative Jordan Peterson, and we are all capable of turning into monstersThe ultimate question of man is not who he is but who he could become. What does that mean? It at least means that the answer to my need for belonging, and significance is not found within. Moreover, living out my true self may not be beneficial to me and others. Peterson suggests that we should live our lives ethically rather than in the service of self.

A community of people who accept and recognize every individual is all that we need to meet our needs for significance. But the truth is, we live in a broken world among broken people who will fail us. We are all broken. Therefore our individualistic pursuit of the self or the collectivist approach to life will lead us to despair. So, what other options do we have?

If the Biblical idea that we are created in the image of God is true, there is hope because it restores our true self in the community of God. That means God made each one of us unique and significant individually as his sons and daughters who share his divine nature and are called to love and consider others as more important than self.

This Biblical idea seems to be true because, firstly, it describes our malady accurately. It affirms that God created us to have our existence in him, but Man wanted to define his own identity and significance, which led him to our present state of death and despair.

Secondly, it clarifies that we are not wired to define our existence outside of God.

Thirdly, it indicates our need for significance in life exists because we are created for it and provided in God alone.

However, the good news is this need can be restored in Christ.

So, how can the image of God be restored in us? C S Lewis illustrates this very well; he said, “As an author invents characters in a story as he intended to, our real selves, so to speak, are waiting for us in him. So, what I call myself now is hardly a person at all. It is mainly a meeting place of natural forces, some of it from my ancestors, some from my education and some perhaps from the devil. The self you really intended to be is something not from nature but from God.

Thankfully I don’t have to author my identity, Christ, who is the author of Life, is bringing out my complete self when I surrender to his will (plot) in worship. Surprisingly, the first step towards getting my real self is to forget about myself and allow myself to be withdrawn into God and the service of the other.

The pressure our individualistic culture puts on us to define our identity is a lie, and it is so naive to fall for it. Even those who don’t believe in Christ, their need for belonging and significance is met in their tribes to some degree.

However, in Christ, I am a new person, born of the Spirit into God’s family, seated at the right hand of God in heaven, carrying his name and authority in this life and life to come. My needs for belonging and significance are eternally met no matter the circumstances I go through in this life.

My heavenly identity in Christ is not just a security but also a calling to represent heaven on earth and join in the mission of Christ to advance his heavenly kingdom on earth.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13–16

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,“ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Acts 17:28

“So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:7

‘But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. ‘ 1 Peter 2:9

“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:9

“So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:10



Mark Raja
Kerygma Teens Club

I mostly write to clarify my understanding. You will find my articles on themes like beauty, faith, hope, culture, and common good.