Today’s Message – 24th of November 2019
Over the course of our lives, each person’s identity is being formed and shaped through individual experiences, relationships, culture, media and the world around us. We are constantly seeking to define who we are in any way that we can.
Often, we feel the pressure to define ourselves through our jobs, financial status, successes, grades, appearance, what other people say about us and many other means.
But what happens to our identity when we experience failure? Or lose someone’s favour? Or become burnt out in our jobs or place of service? The very foundation of our identity is shaken and altered, resulting in us searching yet again to define ourselves by something or someone else. A stable sense of self cannot fully exist when we place our identity in external things. When circumstances change, our identity constantly changes too.
We may receive an overwhelming amount of messages telling us to define ourselves by external measures, but what would it look like to base our identity on the way God sees us? For an identity grounded in Christ Jesus would mean that when we think of who we are, the first thing that would come to mind is our status as someone who is deeply “loved” by God.
How would viewing yourself in this manner change the way you live?
We must see ourselves as God sees us. One of the richest passages about identity in the Bible is found in Ephesians 1:3-14. In this massage, Paul addresses the church in Ephesus, explaining the new identity given to a person when they are in Christ.
According to Ephesians 1, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing; we have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, grace-lavished, and unconditionally loved and accepted. We are pure, blameless and forgiven. We have received the hope of spending eternity with God. When we are in Christ, these aspects of our identity can never be altered by what we do.
The challenge comes from a gap that exists between intellectually knowing these truths about who God says we are and living them out. This can be affected by how we see ourselves, life experiences, and the ways we allow the world to define us.
In order to live out of the fullness of our new identity in Christ, we must identify the ‘lies’ that are hindering us from doing so, which varies from person to person. Many times, these lies (a false belief) have wedged themselves between how God defines us and seeing ourselves in the same light.
In order to fight against these lies, false beliefs, we must discover the exact belief we are allowing to form our identity. When reflecting on the passage in Ephesians 1, some false beliefs we may live out of are:
* rejected instead of accepted
* in bondage instead of redeemed
* under the law instead of covered by grace,
* feeling orphaned instead of adopted, and so on.
Living out of one of those identities opposed to our new identity in Christ, then affects our behaviours. If we still think we are under the law, we may think we must “do” more for God in order to be right with Him. We may bury ourselves in ministry or service or other good works to feel as though we’re in good standing with God instead of resting in Christ’s work on the cross.
If we lived out of an identity based on how God sees us, we would no longer feel the need to find our worth in our external circumstances. We will instead know the Truth that sets us free! (John 8:32)