Face Your Battles- Identity- Part 1

Battles Every Man Must Win

MW Editor: Mentoring Warriors welcomes Troy Mangum to the MW tribe of wisdom warriors. Author of Fatherhood Faceplants, Mangum offers real-experience advice on what it means to be a father fathered by God. Many warriors are becoming dads, with little ones to raise. This week and next, lean into the words of a dad who grew through his own faceplants.

​​The Battle for Identity

Your first and most significant battle is the battle for identity. If this is out of whack, what you pass down to your children will be as well. Your identity is not your natural talents and skills. Your identity is not your spiritual anointing or gifting. Your identity is not the titles you hold or the results you produce. Your identity is not your God-given calling or assignment. Your identity is not your marital status.

Your identity was settled before you did anything in this world. 

I will say it again. Your identity was established before you did anything. God said to Jeremiah, “Before you were even born, I knew you” (v 1:5, NIV). That is for all of us, not just special Bible people. How could God know us before we even knew ourselves? Mind-blow. What God knows about us is actually the great discovery of our lives. Have you ever talked with your kids about memories you have of them when they were little before they even were conscious of what was going on? They have no memory of birth, ages one or two or three. It is a fascinating topic for your kids because you hold special keys that unlock their identity. You sat outside of their conscious experience of themselves. How much more can God do! Before you were even born, God knew you.

Well Pleased!

God the Father told Jesus the Son and everyone listening, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17, NIV). Jesus had done nothing at this point. No amazing ministry or work to warrant such love. He had not overcome Satan’s temptations. He had not sacrificed Himself. He had not helped others through miracles. He had done nothing. Yet God was pleased and loved Him because He was His Son, that was it. God feels the same about you. He loves you because you are His son. One thing that is true: identity is elusive. It seems you can grasp God’s perspective on who you are one minute and lose it the next. To stand firm in who God made you be will take a fight.

Satan’s bulls-eye is on your identity

It is one of the key ways dads can faceplant. Seeking identity in the wrong places will have unforeseen consequences on your kids. Years after being in technology, before we got separated, I would see salespeople doing very well for themselves. I fancied myself a high-flying, jet-setting, traveling technology salesperson. To be flush with cash and go exotic places would be good for my ego. Plus, it would get me out of a tense marriage situation at home, so I thought. God in His mercy never allowed it. Had I pushed the issue, I would have repeated the same faceplants my father made during my adolescent years. I was seeking an identity in my accomplishments at work—very common amongst dads.

This is a battle you must win

This is a battle you must win so your kids can have victory in overcoming lies that will come to attack their identity. God wants to use you as a dad to help establish this God-given identity in your kids, but it starts with winning your own battle for identity.

God-given Identity is Unshakeable

This is key because having a God-given identity causes you to be unshakeable by circumstances. Having an identity based on the “empty way of life handed down from your ancestors” is completely dependent on your life situation. Who are you when you are broke, unemployed, underemployed, obscure, have no platform, are not heard or seen by others? God-given identities don’t change even when life does.

As my family and I considered being missionaries, we had a few fits and starts along the way. A year before we became missionaries, we had attempted to go to YWAM Kona. We got accepted into the Fire and Fragrance DTS. The F&F discipleship training school was 99 percent unmarried young adults in their teens and twenties. They were in the midst of a massive revival, with every evangelistic outreach they were involved with blowing up with thousands of salvations in different locations around the world. The leaders were all in their mid-twenties. We as a family would be an awkward fit because of our age and life experience. After we got off the phone with them, my wife thought it was not the right time to go. She also did not feel F&F DTS was the right environment for us.

Avi was graduating high school and his next steps were unclear. My wife wanted to ensure we were around as he took his next steps after high school. I had no sense from God what to do. So I made the call to stop the application process after my wife’s wise and discerning counsel. But I had so much false identity wrapped up in this decision. When I canceled our plans, I was crushed. This was my chance to leave an empty work career behind me and do what I’ve always dreamed of, go into the ministry. The timing of this event coincided with a year-end review of my work performance in my new role as a product marketing manager. My director told me I could not write worth a crap, which was critical to my job’s success, and it appeared to him my heart was not in the work. Both were true. I got an average rating for the year’s work, no bonus, no incentives, and no hopes for future advancement. To my identity, I just got my report card, and I failed.

Satan Smells Blood

Seemed like God was not interested in me serving Him after years of doors shutting in my face and work was merely putting up with me. Satan smelled blood in the water and went in for the kill. Note, the Devil has one or two core moves when it comes to attacks on your identity. For me, Satan’s core move against my identity was rejection.

MW Editor: Satan smells blood in the water; to kill your identity-just like we was on the move with Troy. Knowing your identity in Christ helps you rise above regardless the circumstances. Next week, let’s see what God does to help Troy win the identity battle.

Warrior On!

Troy Mangum

Troy is an author, speaker, podcaster (The Kindling Fire), and men’s advocate. Creator of Hocoka Men- (an initiation experience for young men), and Be True Threads- (a cause clothing brand). A Lumbee Indian Tribal member. Troy lives in Raleigh NC with his wife Kathy. He has two sons, two daughters, and one son-in-law.

A former YWAM missionary, hardcore punk singer, substance abuse counselor, busker, longboarder, exotic fruit farmer, vert skater, singer-songwriter, software engineering manager, traveling hitchhiker, and seminary dropout.

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