Identity - Know Yours
Updated: Feb 1, 2020
Any label that we allow others to put on us, any name that we allow to be attached to us, any other “identity” that we live under that God did not design and assign to us isn’t our true identity – it’s a facade that we hide behind…it is a wall that holds us in bondage and keeps us from becoming all we were created for. We will continue to feel drained, hidden, unseen, unheard, unwanted, unfulfilled and unsuccessful until we come from behind it and walk in all God designed and destined us to be.
Identity – The fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
Anything that does not align with WHO God created you to be and WHAT He called you to do is NOT your identity.
So, what is your identity? I cannot answer the question of what your unique identity is – only Christ can reveal that as you grow in relationship with Him. However, I can provide scriptural reference as to what our overall identity is as children bought back to God and the benefits that accompany that identity…
“Once you had no identity as a people;
Now you are God’s people.
Once you had received no mercy;
Now you have received God’s mercy.”
1 Peter 2:10 NLT
“I will make My dwelling among you, and My Soul will not reject nor separate Itself from you (SN:Reminds me of Romans 8:31-39 when Paul tells us that “nothing can separate us from the love of God”)* I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”
The Holman Christian Study Bible says, “I will place My residence among you…”
Four major points come to my mind immediately when reading these two scriptures:
1. The perfect and sinless God chose to make His dwelling place with us, a sinful and rebellious people.
- God promised to never leave us nor reject us. For many of us, rejection is a common experience in our lives, or if it isn’t, we feel as though we should be rejected and looked upon with disgust for the things we have done. However, God promises to never leave. In spite of our mess-ups, in spite of our rebellion, in spite of our sinful nature, the Lord chooses to remain by our side.
2. God made us His people.
- Even though we turned from Him and went stray, God came after us and made us His again. As Tauren Wells said, “it is so like You to keep pursuing and it is so like me to go astray.” I am also reminded here of Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned. God did not leave them in their nakedness. He called out to them, pursued them and covered them.
3. People of God carry themselves differently than the rest of the world because they realize that they carry God within in them.
- This kind of love, as my Pastor (Pastor Chance D. Lynch) says, “requires a response.” As people of God, we are to reflect Him. Just as we each (for the most part) carried ourselves a certain way growing up because we wished to represent our parents well, the same goes for God. We should want to reflect and appropriately represent Him, His guidance, His rearing and His wisdom. We should want to resemble our Father.
4. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit Who is within you.
- God said that that He would place His residence with us. A dwelling and/or residence is where you choose to live. The Lord chose to live among us and never leave meaning, even when we choose to give into temptation and go where we have no business going and do what we have no business doing, we are causing the very Spirit of God to have to endure it. As Ephesians 4:30 says,
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by Whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin].”
Ephesians 4:30 AMP
We should aspire to refrain from that which grieves the Spirit and very heart of God. May our hearts be transformed to be like His that we no longer desire what He detests and learn to long for what He loves.
On day one of the Sowfull of Identity Challenge we read that we were created in God’s Image. We learned that this “image” is not referring to outward appearance but inward character. It is the likeness of God.
As God’s people created in His likeness, how are we to live? How do a people so loved by God respond to this love? Great questions and God does not leave them unanswered.
“Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them.”
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”
“You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts.” Ephesians 4:17
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.”
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when He judges the world.”
1 Peter 2:12 NLT
“It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.”
1 Peter 2:15 NLT
And these are just a few verses that touch on the matter! God doesn’t leave us clueless or without guidance, wisdom and an example. We just have to seek Him and study His Word!
In Christ we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:7) and should live as a new creature. Our new life should be radically changed by God.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says,
“You took off (this is an action we make!)* your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires (don’t fall for it, your flesh is lying to you. Don’t follow it!)*; you are being renewed (this is what God does within us!)* in the spirit of your minds; you put on (again, we do this!)* the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 HCSB
The text says that WE perform the act of taking off our former way of life. God doesn’t force us to change because it is not true love and submission if it is forced. Nor does He make the change Himself. He doesn’t do what we can do for ourselves. We in our free will must choose to submit to His Spirit and be intentional about making the necessary life changes. As we submit, we become renewed by God (Romans 12:2) and drawn by Him to consciously choose to put on the new man (Philippians 2:13). We daily make the decision to die to self, to be a reasonable sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Our former way should not still be present following our encounter with Christ. Former, by definition, is “having previously filled a particular role.” It can’t be previous and present. This isn’t to say that we won’t fall short or slip up from time to time, because we will. We are in a fallen world and still in flesh. But as my Pastor says, “even though there isn’t perfection, there should be progress.”
“I ain’t really been bearing on the branch, must be something at the root.”
- Jon Keith
Reflection Questions: How has being adopted into God’s family changed the way you view and live life on earth? How has becoming a citizen of Heaven shifted the way you carry yourself in this world? How has realizing the power Christ has given you through His sacrifice shifted the way in which you live and interact with others around you? How has learning your identity in Christ shaped your love and affection towards Him? If we still think, live, and love the same as we did before we chose to live for Christ, we must check the root, we must check our submission.
The truth of the matter is, we have been fully and totally freed by Christ (John 8:36). We are no longer bound to our sinful nature driven by evil passions (Romans 7:5-6). Let’s not choose to be enslaved again by sin (Galatians 5:13). We have the freedom to live a life totally dedicated to Christ and His mission as His image bearers. Are we fulfilling this mission or are we getting caught up in every rumor we hear, flustered by every frustration we experience, distracted by the latest hashtag on social media or tangled in the drama we see?
2 Timothy says,
“No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.”
2 Timothy 2:4 HCSB
“No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve.”
2 Timothy 2:4 AMP
As we honor and submit to God, we gain access to His power and authority. We already possess it as His children but when we are in alignment with Him, we access it. Gifts are without repentance (Romans 11:29), but miracles and wonders are another story. Christ has given us power to trample on snakes and scorpions, He has given us authority to drive out demons, He has given us the power to heal sickness and disease, He has given us the authority to call those things which are not as though they were...but we must be submitted to Him (Matthew 10:1; 18:18-19, Mark 9:14-29, Luke 10:17-19 and Romans 4:17).
Lastly, worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Many of us live a lie, as well as insult God and rob all of creation. This is not because we don’t pray, don’t go to church, aren’t involved in ministry or don’t worship Christ, but because we do all these things as impostors. We try to pray like Elder so and so, we try to prophesy like Pastor so and so, we try to preach like Bishop so and so, we try to serve like Sister/Brother so and so. We try to be like everyone else besides who God created us to be.
It’s obvious how this lifestyle is a lie, because it’s not you! But I say that it is an insult to God because He is so intentional about the formation and creation of each of us. He created us with our own unique fingerprint, our own unique DNA code, He knows the very number of each hair on our head, we are each fearfully and wonderfully made by His hands (Genesis 2:7 and Psalm 139:13-14). To turn around and think that how He created, anointed and ordained someone else is better than how He created, anointed and ordained you is an insult to His creative power.
I say that it is robbery because there’s a specific purpose that only you can fulfill effectively. There is a gift that only you can offer the world and when you try to be someone else, you rob creation of what it needs.
A spoon can try to pick up spaghetti like a fork, but it will never be a fork, nor will it ever be as effective as a fork. It will merely keep going in circles trying to accomplish a purpose it was not designed and created for. A fork can try to pick up tomato soup like a spoon, but it will never be a spoon or even be as productive as a spoon. It will simply keep digging for something but coming up empty. Do you catch the point I am trying to make?
So, stop trying to be like the next person and robbing the world of the gift God gave you and the grace, power and anointing He entrusted to you. Be the blessing that you are…and do so confidently!
We all have a purpose. It may not be the same as someone else, but it is just as necessary and important (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). So be you and fulfill your calling! And whatever you do, don’t fall for, settle or conform to what the world tries to tag you.
Only the Creator can give identity and purpose to what He created.
* = My interjections. I share my immediate thoughts when reading the scripture.