I struggle with this constantly. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. My identity.
Knowing your identity is the one thing that changes everything. Obviously your identity is important, the bible speaks on being “in Christ” at least 216 times.
It came to my attention over this past semester during my pledgeship with RSC that I struggle with finding my identity in Christ. At first, I felt very alone in the things that I found my identity in. But I soon realized, with the help of my sisters in Christ, that I am most definitely NOT alone. That is a LIE from Satan. So now that I know I am not alone, I realize that you, my readers, might possibly struggle with the same things that I struggle with. So I am here to tell you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If I don’t struggle with the same things you do, then someone else does! I would like to use some points that my pledge trainer made during a 6 am bible study that we did just a few short months ago to show you where we might find our identity, and where we should find our identity. So keep reading. I challenge you to be persistent. This will be a good one 🙂
1. What does the word “identity” mean??
According to dictionary.com, the word “identity” means “the state of remaining the same one, as under varying conditions. As a Christian, we should realize that because Christ is constant, so is our identity through Him.
2. Who does God say we are?
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ (Genesis 1:26-28 NIV)
According to this scripture, God says that we are (1) Revelation receivers. In other words, God speaks to us; (2) Humbly honored-below God, but above the animals. What a blessing to be honored before God! (3) Made to mirror. We are to reflect God’s attributes to the world; (4) Blessed-God blessed us BEFORE we did anything to earn it. In my opinion, I have done absolutely nothing to earn ANY blessings from God. Hello grace and mercy!
3. Why does God love me??
God loves ME and He loves YOU because we are His children. If you are one of God’s children, your identity is received.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-” (John 1:12 NIV)
1 Corinthians 14:21-22 says, “For since death came through a man (cough cough, Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man (ahem, Jesus!). For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty cool. We go from being “in Adam” to “in Christ”! It’s a pretty neat connection, if you ask me.
4. If you are NOT a child of God, your identity is achieved.
Basically, you either set an identity that you aspire to and reach, or you try and fail. We all struggle with image, our future, guys/girls, etc. because we are seeking to ACHIEVE our identity in things of this world. But you must remember (THIS IS KEY), things that have happened to you may only explain you, but they do NOT define you.
5. IDOLATRY=Our struggle with identity comes NOT from the Creator, but from the created.
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:25 NIV)
**SO HOW DO WE FIND OUR IDOLS/IDENTITY???**
Think about it. Do you….
a. Live in fear that your identity/idol will be taken from you.
Woah. Hi. I have a lot of idols. Let’s take a look at my life for a second (so you know that you are not alone!). What do I fear being taken from me? My grades. I recognized grades being an idol in my life thanks to this exact message when I first heard it a few months ago. Let’s just say that things have changed, but old habits die hard. I still struggle with grades being an idol, but I’m working on it. It’s called imperfect progress 🙂
What else? My future. This is a big one-especially for us ladies! As a young woman in her early twenties, a lot of my friends are either married, engaged, or have been dating their significant other for quite some time. Where am I? Certainly not in one of those categories! Now, as a young woman who has CF and has been told that she has already reached “middle age”, my future becomes a little bit more important to me. I want my future NOW. Satan has put lies in my head so many times. He tells me that I won’t live long enough to have a future, so I need to rush things. He tells me to find someone to marry, and FAST. But I’ve learned to discern between Satan’s lies and God’s truths. I don’t want to rush. Yes, I most definitely would love to get married soon and even have a family, but God’s timing is perfect. Always perfect. So I must learn to trust Him. Bye-bye idol! Actually it’s not that simple. Sometimes my emotions win out, and I struggle with idolizing my future, but believe me when I say that God has never left my side and He continues to whisper His truths in my ear.
So those are just a couple of my idols. But what about you? Maybe you’re married and your kids are grown; maybe you’re not in school anymore. Although I am currently not in that phase of my life yet, might I take a gander (is that too hick?) at what you might be struggling with? How about keeping your house clean. This seems to be a big struggle for those that, unlike me, do not live at home with their parents anymore.
Maybe you’re a perfectionist like me, and you want everyone else to think that as well. You can’t let anyone in your house unless it’s absolutely spotless. Your image is everything. What people think of you is everything to you. Can I tell you something? It doesn’t matter what people think of you. IT DOESN’T MATTER. Yes, I know the world tells you otherwise. People’s opinions are everything. Well you know what, what the world says is NOT what God says. Do you think He cares what your house looks like? Nope. He cares what your heart looks like. He doesn’t care if your house is dirty and junky, but He does care if your heart looks that way.
Let me put this into perspective for you. The summer of 2011, just a few short months after I graduated high school, my parents and I went with a group from Oklahoma City to Cambodia on a mission trip. During our time there, we had the opportunity to walk around the villages there and speak with the people. It was amazing. Most of these people literally had nothing. I saw so many homes that had torn tarps for walls, and dirt for flooring. But when you went up to a home, these people greeted with you a smile. Some of these smiles were the biggest I had ever seen, most with missing teeth. But no one cared. They lifted up their tarp walls to invite us inside their small cramped homes. They brought out colorful, plastic kid chairs for us to sit in while we visited. They offered us brown water and fruit-if they had any at all. You’ve probably heard stories like this before. I know I have. But let me tell you, it’s real. So if you’re struggling with your imperfect image, (because, let’s face it, you and I are not perfect!) just remember that it’s okay. When someone is invited into your home, they are looking for you to be a hospitable host/hostess. They are looking for you to open your heart to them. So remember that the next time you become a perfectionist with your house cleaning.
b. Your identity/idol crumbles under the weight of being in God’s place.
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:5-8 NIV)
Just let that verse sink in. Read it a second time, or even a third. Write it down somewhere. Write it on your heart, and hide it there for when you are struggling.
c. When your identity/idol begins to crumble, you begin to panic.
Panic. When I hear that word, I think of a panic room. Our house doesn’t have one, but sometimes I feel as though my room is my panic room. When I am overwhelmed and stressed and I feel as though I can’t take anymore of my reality, I head to my room. This is where I find rest. I have come to my “panic room” many times before when I am struggling with keeping my grades up, or maybe my social life is a wreck, or I am struggling with my emotions. Panic. When God sees you panicking, He wants you to run to Him. Find rest in Him. This is something I am still learning how to do. But it’s worth it. I know that. You know that. So when you feel that your house is a wreck and you’ve got people coming over and you start to panic, run to God. He will get you through it, I promise.
d. When your identity/idol fails, you look for someone to blame.
Yes, I have done this several times. When my health has failed me, I find plenty of people/things to blame. I have blamed doctors (One time though, it really was her fault. I’m not gonna lie.), medicine, and even my parents. But I never wanted to admit that my health failed because I wasn’t willing to put in the time and effort to keep my body healthy. It took a long time for me to be able to say that out loud. It’s still hard, but once again, imperfect progress.
When my grades aren’t where I want them to be, it’s so easy for me to blame professors. “He is so unfair!” sounds all too familiar. The reality is, I didn’t study enough. It’s my fault my grades aren’t where I want them to be. This happened just this semester when I found out that my final grade in my Essentials of Dietetic Practice was an 89. Yes, it was one of THOSE grades. I felt cheated. How could she have not bumped me up to an A?! I thought she liked me! But after a few hours of really pondering the situation, I realized I deserved that B. Yes, I had a lot of my friends tell me that I just needed to email her and ask her to raise the grade. But I couldn’t because I knew I shouldn’t have waited until two days before the final to study. Oopsies. It was my fault.
So maybe you blame the other person when a relationship fails, or you blame whoever you live with when your house isn’t spotless (they don’t appreciate that, I’m sure). Whoever or whatever you blame, I am very positive that when you’re blaming that thing or person, you are not reflecting God’s attributes. Which, if we go back to point number one about who God says we are, He says we are made to mirror Him. I struggle with this too! Self-control? What’s that? You won’t find me exhibiting any self-control when things don’t go my way! But don’t worry, God has revealed to me that I need to work on that. Imperfect Progress.
And FINALLY, point number 6. Turn to Christ for a new Identity.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV).
SO, we recognize that our identity should be IN CHRIST. But, what does that mean?
If you are in Christ, you are in Christ’s position and Christ is in your position. (WWJD-What Would Jesus Do?) He suffered and died so that you might be blessed and live. If you are in Christ, you stand in the position of Christ. You are loved as Christ is loved, you are blessed as Christ is blessed, you are embraced and adored as Christ is embraced and adored.
Also, remember that the things that define us (or “remain the same” based on our definition) are the direct output of a relationship with Jesus. So if you are seeking Jesus daily, most likely the things that define you, or rather, the One that defines you will be Jesus. If you are struggling with your walk with Jesus, know that it’s okay! Say hello to my friend, Imperfect Progress. I don’t read my bible every day, but I desire to. It’s important to remember that God doesn’t desire perfection in our walk with Him, but persistence. Be persistent in your desire to seek Him, and take steps to be persistent in seeking Him daily. God looks at the heart.
SO. I know that this has been an extremely long post, but God put it on my heart to talk about this with you. If struggling with finding your identity in Christ is something that you struggle with (that’s probably all of you…I know I am included in this), then please don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. Find a mentor, accountability partner, or a close friend that you can share your struggles with. I recommend an accountability partner. Someone who can ask about your imperfect progress on a regular basis.
To end this post, I would like to share who you are in Christ, based off of scripture.
complete in Him (Colossians 2:10), free forever from sin’s power (Romans 6:14), sanctified (1 Cor 6:11), met for the Master’s use (2 Timothy 2:21), loved eternally (1 Peter 1:5), kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5), not condemned (Romans 8:1-2), one with the Lord (1 Cor 6:17), Light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14), salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), hidden with Christ in God (Psalms 32:7), protected from the evil one (1 John 5:18), secure in Christ (John 10:28-29), born again (1 Peter 1:23), a victor (1 John 5:4)
I AM GOD’S….
possession (Genesis 17:8/1 Cor 6:20), child (John 1:12), workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), friend (James 2:23), temple (1 Cor 3:16/6:16), vessel (2 Timothy 2:2), co-laborer (1 Timothy 5:18), witness (Acts 1:8), soldier (2 Timothy 2:3), ambassador (2 Cor 5:20), building (1 Cor 3:9), husbandry (1 Cor 3:9), minister/instrument (Acts 26:16/1 Tim 4:6), chosen (Ephesians 1:4), beloved (Romans 1:7/2 Thess 2:13), precious jewel (Malachi 3:17), heritage ( 1 Peter 5:3)