Identity is a powerful motivator. Particularly in this day and age, and increasingly among younger generations, the drive to find the proper words and terms to define oneself has become a matter of paramount importance. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with all the different terms by which people identify who they are—from their race to their sexuality to their personality, preferences, neurological patterns, etc.

At the crux of it all, it seems, is the need to validate ourselves by what defines us. If we have a label to stick to a certain way we act or behave or think, it engenders a certain level of respect and recognition from those around us. How come, you may ask? Well, we recognize that identity gives us a sense of belonging. It validates our tendencies. It gives a certain level of substance to our nature.

Believe it or not, this isn’t a new concept—and it’s not wholly a secular one. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul chastises the believers for their arguments about one being “of Paul”, another “of Apollos”, etc.—leaning into the names of those who planted and watered them in the faith. To an extent, they were drawing identity from those who ministered to them, claiming they were “of” those ministers.

Paul’s reminder to them is one we should all take to heart as being of foremost importance: “You are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

Why Identity In God and Jesus Matters

If nothing else, the inexorable march of time shows us how the ways and means of self-identity are tenuous, ever-changing under society’s duress. More and more as the urge grows for people to ascribe a certain title to every facet of their being, almost like filleting out the bits of themselves to hang under a label, it’s crucial that God’s people gather their every member under one banner: who God says we are.

More than any label or identity, this is crucial, because every other aspect of who we are and what we are must be conducted first and foremost by who God says we are. Nothing else that is said about or us permitted to us by the world takes precedence over that, so we have to keep a solid foundation—the foundation of “You are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

So who and what, exactly, does God say you are? There’s plenty of answers to that, sprinkled throughout the thousands of pages of Scripture, but there are five in particular I want to focus on here—a powerful shaping of personal identity I hope will inspire and encourage you as you read!

1. His Child (1 John 3:1)

You are a child of God, a member of His family. You’ve been adopted into the fold, a notion which carried a tremendous weight of permanence and everlasting belonging in the ancient Greco-Roman world.  You are not orphaned, alone, cast-out, or unloved; even if the whole world rejects you, as a child of God, you have a place, a purpose, a home.

What Does this Mean?
Because you are God’s child, you have a place of belonging in His family forever. You are loved just as you are! And as with every family, there are expectations of conduct and priority involved. You have a duty to behave with loyalty, dignity, love, and every good and holy trait that reflects honorably on the God whose family you are part of.

2. Beloved (Col. 3:12)

You are loved. In fact, God so loved the world that He gave His Son for it before any of us even believed. There is a unique place in God’s heart for the unique love He holds for you, and He deeply wants you to reciprocate that love, truly fathom its life-giving might, and boldly walk in the freedom and empowerment that comes with knowing you are unconditionally, irrevocably adored by the very One who made you!

What Does this Mean?
Because you are loved by God, there is nothing that can separate you from Him. No height or depth, no power or principality, nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from that love. Even when you mess up, stumble, and struggle, God is waiting to redeem your mistakes and shortcomings and welcome you home.

3. Redeemed (Eph. 1:7)

Though you were once dead in your sins, like all of mankind, when you became a member of God’s family your story changed! Your life was purchased with the blood of Jesus, and when you accepted him as Lord, it was ransomed back from death. You are now redeemed, living in light and not darkness, with the powerful might of God’s holy spirit gift in you to help guide and steer your steps and lead you on a better, more righteous, more rewarding and fulfilling path!

What Does this Mean?
You are no longer consigned to death for your sins and life as the walking dead; you re no longer paying the wages of your sin yourself, which is inevitably death. Instead, your life is hidden in Christ. You have the guaranteed hope of a wonderful future, an everlasting life with God, Jesus, and the rest of the family of believers.

4. More Than a Conqueror (Rom. 8:37)

A spiritual battle rages around us at all times. Some are ignorant of it; some are overwhelmed by it. Everyone is playing a role in it, whether they believe as much or not. But through Christ in you, God has equipped you for the fight! You are now no longer a victim of this battle, defenseless to its harms; you are empowered to fight for yourself and others, to truly make a difference.

What Does this Mean?
You have a unique role to play. You are not a bystander or spectator in the battle for the ages; you are a member of God’s holy army and you make such a difference in your prayers, your insight, your wisdom, your perseverance and your stand for God. No matter what life tries to throw your way, you are not powerless or beaten. Through Christ, you are already victorious!

5. Set Free (John 8:36)

One of the most important things God says about us is that, through the truth—which comes by knowing who Jesus is and continuing in his words, i.e., his teachings—we are set free. Free from bondage, free from slavey to old ways of thinking, from the grave, from the guarantee of death and into the promise of life. This freedom is an inherent part of our identity in Christ.

What Does this Mean?
Because we are free, we now move with purpose; unshackled, we can make great strides for God’s kingdom, for those in need, and to fulfill our own God-given purpose. We both move and model in freedom, showing others the way to a better, brighter future, free of their shackles as well! But we also have to be mindful never to take this freedom for granted, like it’s an ordinance for sin or living loosely; instead, we need to honor the sacrifice and the trust that set us free and use that freedom to walk holy and upright before our God!

A Powerful Truth

Remember, these are just a small few of the things God says about our identity! Scripture is rife with truths about who we are as children of God, encouragement in these truths of who we are, and instruction on how we ought to behave and conduct ourselves based on our powerful identity. Don’t just take my word for it—take time to read and internalize these messages from God’s own Word!

Once you know who you truly are, it can change your life. And God alone can tell you the absolute, awesome, amazing truth that answers the question, “Who does God say I am?”

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1 comment

  1. Great great writing, really enjoyed this insight on who we Really Really Are!

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