Identity, Donuts & Mission

This post was written up by Mark Heger.  Mark leads Wakewell and is married to Emily.  They attend Normandy, lead a Community Group, and have a dog named Boaz.

Mark's Identity
(I am a...)

Church Member
Dog Owner
Home Owner
Donut Lover
Temple of the Holy Spirit

Mark's Mission
(I am supposed to...)

Love and care for my wife
Love and respect my parents
Serve the Church
Do sick stuff
Love my dog and keep him healthy
Don't let my house burn to the ground
Eat more donuts
Pray that the Holy Spirit likes donuts

I have multiple identities and each of these identities leads me into a very specific mission.  Each mission is unique only to the identity that it corresponds to.  My identity as a “Husband” does not call me into the mission of “Serving the church”, and my identity as a “Donut Lover” does not help me to “Love and respect my parents”.  Each of my identities calls me to a specific mission that is unique only to the identity that defines it.

This past Sunday, John Bower spoke about “Identity” at Normandy Community Church, and more importantly, he spoke about how “Identity defines Mission”.  Teaching from John 17:13-18 where Jesus is praying to God the Father for His disciples, Pastor Bower revealed that Jesus is calling His disciples into a collective mission because of the identity that they now share as believers.  So what does this say about OUR identity?  In order to fully understand the complexities of the identities that God gives us, we should probably start back at the beginning…

In the beginning God decided to “create man in His own image, in the image of God He created him [Adam]” and thus God gave Adam his first two identities: “Human” and “Image Bearer”.  As a “Human”, Adam’s mission was to be pleasing to God.  We know this because God created Him in order that the world would improve from “good” to “very good”.  The creation of man pleased God and brought him glory, thus making Adam’s mission as a “Human” to be with God and to please God.

As an Image Bearer, it was Adam’s mission to contain God and reveal the characteristics of God.  This can be confusing at first, so I like to use the example of a glove.  Just as a glove is made in the image of a hand in order to contain a hand, so was Adam meant to contain God inside of Him.  As an image bearer, Adam became a vessel to carry God’s presence with him everywhere he went.  And not only carry His presence, but also to reflect and reveal God’s presence everywhere he went.  This was Adam’s mission and purpose as an image bearer.  In the same way, a mitten is not made in the image of a hand, because a mitten does not display the qualities and characteristics of a hand.  Yes, it still contains a hand, but it does not show others what a hand looks like, is used for, or is capable of…only a glove does that.  As an Image Bearer, Adam’s mission was to carry God inside of him and display God’s characteristics for all of the Garden to see.

Now the good news is that you, I, and everyone else in the world also carries these two identities with them.  Everyone…no matter their race, religion, gender, economic status, or good deeds…is both a “Human” and an “Image Bearer”.  God created us that way.  Therefore if you do not believe in God, do not believe that He is pleased with you, and are not carrying Him inside of you, I believe that you are not fulfilling your primary mission.  You were created to be with God, and if you do not understand your primary identities, then you cannot possibly understand why Jesus calls “believers” to a higher mission.

Adam's Identity
(I am a...)

Image Bearer

Adam's Mission
(I am supposed to...)

Be Pleasing to God
Contain and Reflect God to others

At the beginning of His ministry on Earth, Jesus calls a handful of knuckleheads into a new identity.  In Matthew 4:19, Jesus tells the knuckleheads, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  But in this moment, the knuckleheads didn’t become “believers”…they only became “Followers”.  Their mission was simply to follow Jesus and watch Him…nothing more.  Then in Matthew 10:42 before Jesus sends the “Followers” out for the first time, He gives them the new identity of “Disciples”, and their job was to go and practice the things that they had seen Jesus do…drive out evil spirits, heal the sick, and heal the diseased.  But it wasn’t until John 16:31, that Jesus identifies His disciples as “Believers”.  After 3 years of spending time with Jesus, they finally confess that they believe He was sent from God and that He knows everything in Heaven and on Earth.  It was at this moment the disciples received their new identity as “Believers” and therefore a new mission.  Jesus praying to God the Father:

“As you [God] sent me [Jesus] into the world, so I have sent them [the disciples…now believers] into the world.” - John 16:31

God sent Jesus to earth in order to:    

  • Preach the Gospel (Mark 1:38)
  • Do good works (John 14:11)
  • Destroy the works of Satan (1John 3:8)

Therefore, Jesus sends believers to the ends of the earth in order to:

  • Preach the Gospel
  • Do good works
  • Destroy the works of Satan

Our identity as believers separates us from “the followers” and gives us a new mission.  We are not allowed to simply follow Jesus and soak up knowledge anymore.  We have been given the same mission that God gave to Jesus in order to accomplish the mission of John 3:16-17…to rescue as many as possible from perishing that they might find their true identity in Jesus and have eternal life.  Our identity defines our mission, and our mission commands us to preach the good news about Jesus; to do good works in His name; and to destroy the works and lies of the Devil.  That is our mission…do you choose to accept it?

Believer's Identity
(I am a...)


Believer's Mission
(I am supposed to...)

Preach.  Do.  Destroy.