Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

The Power of Our Identity in Christ

In his book Identity Matters, Christian author Terry Wardle tells a story from his childhood. Terry had a hand-me-down, fixed-up, big, blue girl's Schwinn bike. One day his mom finally let him venture outside his own neighborhood. Wardle tells what happened next:

I had broken free of the constraints of my little neighborhood, and now I was on my own to experience a grand adventure. I felt like a somebody, even on a big, blue, girl's Schwinn bike. With saddlebags! As I crossed the railroad tracks and then rumbled over a small creek on a single-lane bridge. The bridge, made of wood and steel, was no big deal. But on that day long ago it became a bridge too far. As I began to cross, four teenage boys stepped onto the far side of the bridge. I intended to pass on by.
They had other things in mind. One of the boys grabbed my handlebars and spun my bike to an abrupt stop. "Hey, where do you think you're goin'?" he snarled, as another boy chimed in, "Yeah, kid, where ya goin'?" Instantly I knew they intended to beat me up. I was petrified. I couldn't fight or break free to run, so I stood there frozen. Suddenly one of the bullies asked, "What's your name?" I answered him in a high-pitched preadolescent, quivering voice, "Terry Wardle."
The three remaining teenagers got a bit silent and looked at one another nervously. "Are you related to Tom Wardle?" Tom was a much older cousin, who happened to play defensive end on the high school football team. But I lied and told them Tom was my brother. They immediately backed off. One of the boys straightened out my shirt, and started saying, "Hey, we were just funning you. No harm. You're a great kid, and … if anyone ever gives you any trouble, you tell us and we'll take care of you."
That was a formative day for me. I learned that simply being Terry Wardle was not enough to be respected, accepted, and safe. In the panic of the moment, when the cry for safety was loudest, I lied. Yes, everything did turn out okay, but I had to pretend to be something I was not or they would have roughed me up. I had learned that this is an unsafe and ungenerous world, and that attaining any degree of success in life would demand much more than simply being me.

Possible Preaching Angles: Identity; Significance; Identity in Christ—Like Terry Wardle, we have all found ways to base our sense of identity and significance in something else besides our deepest identity found in Jesus Christ.

Related Sermon Illustrations

The Transformative Power of Identity

It was the seventh inning of Game Seven of the 2016 World Series. The Chicago Cubs were leading 6-3, and hoped bringing in the dominant relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman to get the final ...

[Read More]

The Family with No Fingerprints

22-year-old Apu Sarker lives with his family in a village in northern Bangladesh. His father and his grandfather were farmers. The men in Apu's family appear to share a very rare ...

[Read More]