Our Church Service on August 28 will take place at 4734 Samish Point Rd, Bow WA 98232 at 11 am

Christian Identity in a Digital Age - Technology and the Christian Life

Jun 4, 2023    Andrey Bulanov


1. Your identity is not created by you, it is given by your Creator and Savior.

2. Identity in the world is fragile and hostile; Identity in Jesus is both stable and humble.

3. We don't come to the world to be changed but to bring change.

Scripture References:

• Genesis 1:26

• Galatians 2:20

• Ephesians 4:5-7

• Romans 12:1-2


• Where is your identity rooted today? Have you considered the power of what it means to be “in Christ”?

• How do you respond to the pressures of comparison and failure?

• Do you live in the world as a Christian? What does that look like?

Discussion Questions:

• What are some ways christians are tempted to create and shape their own identity today?

• Why is it so critical that we understand our creation and our redemption identities?

• What are some ways we miss or misunderstand or undervalue our biblical identity as created image bearers and as redeemed children of God?

• What does it mean that we are "in Christ"?

• How do we deal with failure and comparison on the basis of Christ? How have we all been learning this in our lives?

• Do you tend to be a person who judges people who use more social media? • Or a person who uses it too much without giving it enough thought? How do we find balance here?

• What does it mean for us to live in a digital age "as christians"?


One of the most important questions we can ever answer is the question, "who am I?"

What is my purpose? How do I fit in to this world? What makes my life meaningful?

Its a question we don't usually think about, unless on rare occasion - often prompted by difficulty or deeply destabilizing experiences in our life.

Two classic examples that we see often are the teenage years and the mid life crisis.

It was always interesting to notice how kids changed from elementary to middle school. They go off to summer vacation pretty normal. They come back in the fall all dressed in black. A new identity.

Mid life crisis - realizing our life is limited, and who are we really? Why did we make the choices that we made?

Have I clear sense of identity is one of the biggest things that gives us a sense of peace and purpose in life, its one of the biggest things we crave, even though we are not fully away of it.

One of the tricky things about our identity is that it is often formed and shaped through the habits and things we do in ways we are not always fully aware.

We grow into perspectives, values and goals as we take in and participate in the world around us.

This is why when it comes to the formation of our identity - the digital world poses one of the biggest challenges.

One of the biggest dangers we face in a digital age is a subtle redefinition of our identity, away from our identity in Christ, and into the values, mission and ideas that flood into our hearts through the screens that surround us daily.

How does this happen and how do we counter it with biblical truth?

1. Your identity is not created by you, it is given by your Creator and Savior.

One of the biggest challenges in our sense of identity is that there are two parts two it - the internal part and the external part.

Internally - there is the part of my identity that is internally sensed by me - I have to sense that the life i live is not fake - I am not just being someone that other people want me to be but feels forced and artificial to who I know I am on the inside.

Externally - we crave to fit in and be affirmed by others. I can't just try to live my inner identity if it is constantly creating conflict with the world and people outside of me and makes me feel alone and misunderstood. We are designed to have a sense that we fit in to the world.

Traditional culture said your identity is basically external - you need to do your role in society and you will be affirmed and good.

Modern culture has rebelled against that and said - "No that is oppressive!" Your real identity comes from the inside. You can't let anyone tell you who you are! You have to be true to yourself and you have the power to change yourself.

This is one of the reasons why social media feels so attractive and powerful - we have the ability to be anything that we are.

The digital world - both social media and video games - is a world where you get to try out different versions of yourself.

Not only are we able to try out different versions of ourselves - we are constantly being bombarded with different versions of how our life MIGHT look like from the side.

Ads, movies, shows - the accounts of friends and celebrities - we are constantly spending our time looking at various versions of how peoples lives look like and being presented with options of how OUR life can look like.

We are given this apparent freedom - to pick and choose and shape our identity in any way we want.

And yet, we also see that it comes with a great burden - to decide and to promote and keep up our image.

Some people who don't have ANY social media - yet this idea has still grabbed your heart and your desire to keep up and maintain your identity drives you in al you do - even though you don't have any social media accounts!

Example - For people who spend a lot of time on social media - both young and old (this is not just a young people problem!) - you can often see a deviation between what kind of person they are online and what kind of person they are in person.

Bold, confrontational, confident online - quiet, awkward, withdrawn in person.

Example - After a major life trial, divorce, a break up, business crashing, etc, “rebranding” yourself by deleting all pics and starting fresh on Instagram pretending you can erase and recreate your identity.

For many people today, their identity online is more important to them and they feel - it is the more authentic version of themselves - than there offline version.

We see many people today who live more of their identity online than offline.

You may say, well thats crazy.

Sure - but here is a question to get a sense of ourselves - how would your sense of identity change if all of your online presence disappeared today.

How would your sense of identity change if every screen in your life would disappear?

• Our identity is given in creation.

The Bible starts with reorienting everything away from us and our self centeredness and bringing everything back to God.

He is the one and only SOURCE of everything. All beauty, all purpose, all meaning.

And He creates us in HIS IMAGE.

Genesis 1:26

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

The core foundation of WHAT and WHO we are is not created by us, not defined by us, not chosen by us. It is given to us by our Creator.

This means that every single human being has a fixed meaning and value and purpose.

This shows us that we are designed to know and love our Creator as the center of our lives - and to live a mission and purpose that his love and his truth gives us.

This also means that as we rebel against God and ignore his ways and try to be our own little gods (which is what the digital world trains us to be) - we will experience confusion, pain and brokenness in our lives.

• Our identity is redeemed in Jesus

We are created to know and worship our God - to live out his wonderful purposes in the world in the strength and authority he has delegated to us.

But we have all also rebelled against that. Our hearts are polluted by sin and our identity is twisted and distorted by our sin and death.

Here is where we see a constant misunderstanding of the christian message. A lot of people take Jesus life and death on the cross for our sins as a "get out of jail free card".

Our Creator God entered our world, fully God and fully man, becoming one of us - to take our place to give his life to pay for our sin, and set us free from our slavery to sin and death - not just to leave us be.

He came to bring us home. To adopt us back into his family and to put his very own life into us.

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The sinful, rebellious, dead dominating nature that used to define me is killed when I surrender my life to Jesus - he doesn't just forgive my sins, he permanently binds himself to me.

Think about this for a minute - there is a element of mystery here. I am in Christ, and he is in me.

In the New Covenant that he has sealed by his death for me - he is permanently bound himself to me and bound me to him.

To be a christian is to be at home - only in Jesus. to be a christian, is to get your strength, your purpose and your direction - only in Jesus.

The one and only source of meaning, of identity, of strength and direction in the universe is GOD. And in Jesus, God has opened his very heart to us, sinful rebels, to be forgiven, restored, and to know him and find our identity in him.

2. Identity in the world is fragile and hostile; Identity in Jesus is both stable and humble.

Its interesting that, for all the energy in the world about "YOU DO YOU" and "don't let anyone tell you who you are" - our world is also enslaved to the opinions of others.

That is because the idea that we can just AFFIRM ourselves and not care what anyone else things - this idea is totally absurd.

There is only one type of person who does not care completely what others think and can live opposite to everyone and everything around them - we call them psychopaths.

We are created and designed with both an inherent value and dignity - AND for the need to be known and affirmed by others around us.

The problem is that when we make our value and worth based on what people think of us - it will never be enough.

No matter how many followers, likes and admirers in life we have - its never going to be enough. We will always be insecure and crave for more.

We will always fear loosing the affirmation that we have gained.

This works powerfully in our offline lives - it is magnified x100 online.

This is also why people get so aggressive online - our fragile identity must be protected - and one of the ways we do that is by judging and demonizing others.

• This is revealed in a huge way with christians and politics - why do people get so vicious all of a sudden? they have taken up the identity of a divided political world and they are defending it.

Identity in the world is fragile and aggressive.

A person who's identity is rooted in Christ can look at photos of others having a good time with their family and say, "wow, thats so great, good for them."

A person who is anxious and insecure sees others posting their lives and has to judge them, "Ugh look at them, they are so fake, they are so full of themselves they just think they are better than everyone else..."

Notice - you may be a person who has no social media - but you struggle with this stuff a lot. Why? Because whether you are online or not, life in a digital age of hyper comparison and performance seeps into ALL of US whether we know it or not.

Notice how the apostle Paul roots his identity in Jesus.

"...The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me..."

When my identity is set in Jesus, my identity is secure. At the same time there is humility and flexibility.

Ephesians 4:5-7

5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift

There is one Savior who gives us life, but he makes us all slightly different and I don't have to constantly measure myself against people to make sure I am keeping up with their lives and their abilities.

At the same time, we don't rebel against others or cancel them out. Jesus gives us security but he doesn't come in to your life and define absolutely every detail about you.

He gives you the church so that, as you are rooted in security in him, open yourself up to others and learn, receive correction and feedback - and grow and discover new aspects of your identity in Christ as you love others around you.

One of the biggest ways this is tested is how we deal with failure.

• Comparison - We look at the success of others and we feel like we never measure up even on our best days

◦ Moms feeling they’re not good enough or failing if their kids don’t have perfect outfits and their house isn’t aesthetically beautiful

◦ I have to battle this myself.

• Life challenges - We look at the success of others and then we face really big failures - we know the skeletons we keep in our closets that others don't know about.

Some of us respond by living in a perpetual "I suck".

Some of respond by sweeping it under the rug and pushing on without really reflecting on our weakness and our need.

Identity in Jesus enables us to face our weaknesses and sin and yet not be bogged down by them. Coming back to the cross, confessing our weakness and our failure, being renewed in his promise and his assurance of pardon - being reminded that we are accepted based on his finished work - allows us to face our sin AND to have the ability to get back up and keep going boldly.

He loved us and he died for us when he KNEW how bad we were. And he has given us a power and a vision for the future that does not let us STAY that way.

What does it take for you to get back up after failure? Is it the affirmation of others? Is it rebellion and self confidence?

Do you find the grace of Jesus the most compelling, most humbling AND most empowering thing in your life?

• Praise and encouragement from friends or loved ones

• feeling successful, getting things done

• posting something that makes you look better than you are so you can believe your own lie

◦ It's hilarious how often times will rewatch or relook at the things they post of themselves.

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

In Jesus, we are both confident AND we are humble. We can know that our core identity is fixed and set. At the same time we can know that a big part of us is growing and developing as we seek to know him and serve him with our lives.

3. We don't come to the world to be changed but to bring change.

If you don't know who you are - the world will reshape and distort your identity in MANY ways.

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Notice that the call here is to submit our whole life to the process of being formed more deeply in our christian identity - our whole life is training and growth in being the people of God in a broken world.

We must live with a clear and conscious awareness of being a christian means i am different.

We must be aware of all the content we take in and have a proper sense between us and the world

Two ways this happens:

• Our entertainment choices are one of the biggest forces to wash away that identity.

• Podcasts/audio books we listen to - many many hours from people who don't know God

A lot of christians are formed in their identity in POWERFUL ways because when they listen to "conservative" thinkers they have all their filters down, as if "conservative" means "christian".

Learn to critique the content you receive AS A CHRISTIAN.

Who are the voices that shape your identity today?

Are you intentional about the PROPORTION of space these things have in your life?

Additionally - we need to have a sense of mission in this world.

Paul says our formation into Christ will lead us to discern the will of God - to see his ways - to see how his truth applies to our lives and directs us to honor him most effectively.

When christians talk about technology it can be mostly negative - and the idea is just we need to unplug everything and withdraw.

if we know who we are, we will also find ways to expose the brokenness and USE the good for our mission.

The digital world is not going away.

it is a part of the real world. it is real.

and it is a place where real work for the gospel is being done.

1. christians in social media

2. christians on youtube

3. christians and TV

4. christians in video games

a lot of healthy online christian ministry LEADS people into in person spaces.

does this mean that we all HAVE to be using all forms of technology and social media?

No. To each is the task to discern the ways their life can be used most productively

Some people should totally stay way because its just too much temptation and damage on them. But that doesn't mean they need to wear it as a badge of honor and count everyone else less spiritual. Our identity in Jesus is both stable and diverse.

We are called to be transformed in our thinking so that we may look into the world that we are connected to - and we may use it for our goals and purposes.

What kind of story are you telling? what is the sum total of all your digital life communicating?


• Where is your identity rooted today? Have you considered the power of what it means to be “in Christ”?

• How do you respond to the pressures of comparison and failure?

• Do you live in the world as a Christian? What does that look like?