Who are you?
“Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose."
- C.S. Lewis
What do you think about it, what do you say when someone asks you who you are? In other words, what is your identity? Most guys tend to start with career positions and accomplishments, then move to family, and then maybe add in a comment about church, or, if we’re feeling especially bold we might even mention Jesus by name. For ladies, it’s not vastly different, perhaps flip the order of family and career. At Infusion Ministries, we talk an awful lot about identity and freedom. What does that actually even mean, and why is it so important? Let’s focus on identity. Infusion’s EPIC Encounter material uses God’s word to teach a comprehensive approach to how to live a successful and productive life, full of joy, reaching all the potential God designed and destined you for. Who doesn’t want that?
In its simplest form, I suppose your identity is who you think you are. Where do you get your sense of worth? What do you believe? What are your core values? Identity is so critically important yet most of us go through our lives without giving it very much thought. I know I did. In our world today, there seem to be many who are confused about their identity. Zig Ziglar, a well-known motivational speaker, says it this way:
“It’s impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves.”
What does the Bible say about your identity? If you are a Christ follower, it says quite a lot about who you are. Satan doesn’t want us to hear this, so lean in.
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”
1 Corinthians 1:2 (NKJV) (underline added).
The New Testament uses the word saint or saints 67 times. In every case, the word describes every believer, not a small set-apart group of folks that do it better than me and you. One of my personal favorite identity statements is found in Romans.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV)
What? Yes, we are a brother or sister and a joint heir with Christ to the riches and glory of heaven. Need more convincing? Ephesians chapters 1, 2, and 3 thoroughly show us the foundational truth about who we really are. I would encourage you to read through them and make a list of the things God says you are. I found 31. How many can you find? And also pay close attention in these three chapters to how many things you are told to do. You have to go deep into Chapter 3 before you find any “dos”. Neither our identity nor our salvation is dependent on doing anything. Christ already did the doing. This is about being.
Here’s just a partial list of who you are in Christ:
A Saint Forgiven of Trespasses
Blessed with Every Spiritual Blessing Lavished with Grace
Chosen Before the Foundation of the World Given Knowledge of the Mystery of His Will
Holy and Blameless Sealed with the Holy Spirit
Loved Guaranteed an Inheritance
Predestined for Adoption Alive with Christ
Adopted as a Son Seated with Christ in the Heavenly Places
Redeemed through His Blood A Holy Temple (United with other Believers)
Unfortunately, many believers are living lives that are far from the fully gratified, accomplished, and joyful lives that God wants for us. Our identity must be in Jesus alone. But we so often substitute something else for our identity. In my own life, I’ve found these substitutes fall into three categories: position, possessions, or people. And, at different times in my life, I have been guilty of replacing Jesus with all three. Your experience may be different. Our job title, our house, car, boat, or you fill in the blank, become that anchor that provides self-worth. To get your identity from another human, often a spouse is a tragic mistake that will always lead to devastating consequences. It is a sin. You do your spouse a great disservice, and you set them up for complete and utter failure on a daily basis when you expect them to do for you what only Jesus can do.
In all three examples, you are replacing Jesus with something else as the center of your world. You have created an idol in your life, something that you are worshiping other than God. The Bible tells us that God is a jealous god and will not suffer any other object of worship. The practical problem with substituting Jesus with anything else is it always has a limited life span. The new wears off (usually quickly) and you have to find the next new shiny thing. I collected firearms for a while. I had a list of all the guns I had to have, and I went about acquiring them one by one. And when a new make or model came out I had to pursue it until it was added to my collection. And once I had it, I put it away in a safe, starting to think about the next purchase. I love this quote from Star Trek:
“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” Mr. Spock
This brings me to the C. S. Lewis quote I started with. Don’t let your happiness, your identity, depend on anything that you can lose. And the only thing, literally the single thing, you can never lose is Jesus.
[As adapted from The Bondage Breaker and Stomping Out The Darkness by Dr. Neil Anderson and Dr. Dave Park.]