Identity

“The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus.” ~ Tim Keller

Lately I’ve seen a slew of television commercials promoting genetic testing.

The idea is that you send a company some spit, and they send you back a report describing your ethnic roots.

It’s pretty amazing to think that we live in a day and age where we can garner such detailed information from saliva.

And these genetic tests are selling like hotcakes. People eagerly desire to know where they come from. Which is cool.

But I would venture to say that even more important than knowing our genetic identity is knowing our spiritual identity.

Sadly, for many of us our sense of spiritual identity is all but lost. Which explains why many of us venture through life a bit aimlessly.

Here are a few thoughts about who we are and where we come from:

  1. We were CREATED

We didn’t make ourselves. No, we were made outside of ourselves. By God.

Current culture loves to talk about how mankind is just another outgrowth of evolution, and that we are no more important than an amoeba.

But the Bible disagrees with that sentiment. It says that, in comparison to all other creatures, we were made uniquely:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 ESV)

This means that mankind carries certain attributes that can only found in God. Things like the ability to love, understand justice or possess a conscience.

2. We were created for a PURPOSE

Simply put, God designed human beings to live in fellowship with Him.

Of course, that all blew apart when Adam and Eve made the choice to disobey God in the Garden.

Yet, God is not one to be foiled.

The Bible is essentially God’s story of his plan of restoring His relationship with humanity.

Bottom line, we exist to know, love, serve and worship God. And no other creature in the universe can do so like mankind.

Now, when we respond to God in faith, placing our trust in Christ, our identity expands.

New titles are added to our identification.

From God’s perspective we are beloved by Him and adopted by Him.

Essentially, we become family.

And, from the perspective of spiritual position before God, everything changes.

  • We go from condemned to forgiven.
  • We go from a being wreck to restored.
  • We go from guilty to justified.
  • We go from spiritually dead because of sin to spiritually alive because of Jesus
  • We go from a hostile relationship with God to one marked by peace

I like how the apostle Paul communicated how our identity transforms because of our relationship with Jesus in Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

How’s that for a list of benefits?

The bottom line is this: our identity in Christ ought to change the way we think and live.

But first we must understand our Christian identity, then embrace it.

Until that happens, we are in danger of possessing an identity grounded in God, but not living as if it were true.

That was the story behind Disney’s movie, The Lion King, wasn’t it?

Young Simba was heir to the throne, but a combination of fear and shame (along with a bit of laziness) kept him from living his destiny.

It wasn’t until old Rafiki whacked him in the head a couple of times that Simba remembered who he was and started living like it again.

Here’s one last quote to stir some thinking about who we are before God:

“Whenever a person says to me: “My problem is that I do not love the Lord enough”, I usually respond: “No… your problem is that you don’t know how much the Lord loves you.” ~ Selwyn Hughes

That’s our identity in Christ…utterly loved by Jesus.

The question is, do we live like that?

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