What if you could determine exactly how you look and what skills and abilities you had? Who would you be? In James Cameron’s 3D extravaganza “Avatar” humans took over the bodies of blue aliens with superhuman abilities. But the idea of incarnating inside another person is not new or even pure science fiction. You can kind of do it in computer games where you choose your looks and skills and interact with other peoples’ avatars in a virtual world.
We do it with cars too. We choose the look and abilities of our vehicle and drive around interacting with other peoples’ metal familiars. People can act very differently in cars, taking on a new personalities. They feel different somehow. The value of the car, it’s power and agility, it’s to die for looks, all are somehow imputed to us.
It’s the same with cloths and makeup and jewellery. Can the things we choose to wear not only change our looks, but change us? Who we are? They certainly make people feel and act differently. It’s almost as if we can take on something of another persons identity by wearing what they wear. Adverts for watches and perfume are selling more than machines and smells, they are trading in identity.
When God made Adam and eve they had no cars or cloths. They were who they were; People made in God’s image for a relationship with him. When they walked away from that they noticed that they were naked and had an ensuing identity crisis. Suddenly they were not comfortable in their own skin. Rather than let them squirm, God steps in and gives them cloths made of animal skin. They were not only covered but their cloths must have affected their identity. It’s like God gave them a nice car to drive. They felt less vulnerable, more secure, more able, more complete.
That’s not the whole story of course. It works the other way too. Given who we are we want to express that to others using the current pallet of meaning. We paint ourselves with cloths and cars and hairstyles not just to hide but to reveal. One feeds the other I guess. The questions is how much hiding is going on and how much revealing.
While being in animal skins or Armani suits is still a good thing they point to something even better. Something that changes our identity, someone that we can be in, and that is Jesus Christ.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (ESV)
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
Its a good idea to be in cloths, its fun to play computer games, but it’s great to be in Christ. It gives me a new identity, and new abilities. The bible says my life is hidden in Christ and that’s good place to be.