This is something that has become an issue of much debate in our new world order. Everywhere we look there is a struggle for identity almost as desperate as a fight for survival, even in the church some find it hard to discover the ‘I am’ principle which leads to cementing the ‘who I am’. Because of this I asked myself;
· “Where then do I find my identity?”
· “Who gets to have a say regarding it?”
· “What defines it?”
· “How do I know it is who I am?”
The simplest answer is usually the right one, and the most contested one – I find my identity in Christ.
It is the only place I’ll learn the truth and it is the only place where it will not be shaken but rather sure and steadfast.
“How do I do this? How do I find my identity in Christ?”
The first step would be salvation, then baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit, and then continual meditation and study in the Word of the Lord as it is the Word that transforms us from within.
Rom.12v1-2 I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God .
And this we do more accurately by being added to a local body of believers – a church. You see, the mistake we make is letting what we do define us and be our identities instead of letting the Word of God shape our character, and in becoming more Christ-like we find our true identity.
Being an athlete is not my identity, being a mother, a wife, and currently a student – none of these are my identity. No, rather my identity lies in the areas that have already become more Christ-like. When we meditate on and start to confess and give ourselves to God to work these character traits in us, we begin to be shaped into who we are, sons of God. Look at passages like Matthew 5 through 7 where Jesus lays out so clearly and beautifully how He wants us to behave and think, when we begin to give ourselves to change in these areas, that’s when we begin to find who we are.
In 1 Corinthians 13 v 1 – 8 we see love described in a summery and by giving ourselves to practice just one of these fruits, the very first one – patience – this is part of our identity. There are so many, many scriptures that explicitly explains how we need to think about matters, how we need to obey, how we need to behave, live, operate and speak, and these are the things that shape our identity – little Christs – Christians. Not our academic accolades, not our race, or our nationality, or culture – all these fade away when we begin to live and speak and think as the Word teaches us to because we become Christ-cultured. And the Word is in fact Jesus Himself –
John 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Living the Word, is living His life, and living His life brings light into our lives and light into the world. That is how we are the light of the world, because living His life generates light. That is why the Bible says the entrance of His word gives light, because He is the Word, so where Jesus enters there is light – our eyes of understanding open and we see who we are. Hallelujah! Everything else is just what we do, it is just our gifts and talents.
We often get lost between our identity and that for which we are called to do to the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom – I am a woman of peace and my function, the thing I have been called to do is that of athlete and coach. Through working and moving in this arena of health, fitness and sport I can bring the light of the truth and draw men and women and families unto salvation and true discipleship in Christ. Knowing my identity is separate and yet also part of what I’m called to do will keep me from competing for place and position within the church itself. I will see that the specific platform God created for me is in fact not in the church but in a sector in the world, because they need the light, they need Jesus and someone has to go.
Romans 10 v 14 But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?
And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say; “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
There are unique passions and desires and abilities built into me by God at the day He created me that are particularly suited to the work I am called to do in the world of sport, but first I had to find and secure my identity in Him so that my achievements and lack thereof aren’t the things that define me but rather I am defined by who I am in Christ. So that I don’t live up and down and get knocked around by the whims and fancies of the sports world but stay on a steady even keel because my identity is sure in Jesus. During this time my passions begin to line up with His passions – to save souls at any cost, in place of being the best. Now the passion I have for this industry is not so I can be the next best thing or make it big or make money, have esteem and prominence, NO it is so that these people I come into contact with can experience the love of God.
Philippians 2 v 1 – 11 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude as Christ Jesus.
Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminals death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names,
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So with my identity in tact I can now see to which purpose I have been uniquely suited for to do and it is exciting! And those who walk in the Spirit of the Lord see it too and encourage me to go for it.
Once we are sure of our identity, which we do by continually renewing our minds, then we can begin to make our calling and election sure. All of mankind has been called to be reconciled to the Father through accepting Jesus Christ His Son. Once we have, we know that we are part of the elect of God and as we grow in wisdom and understanding of the word as well as in the fear of the Lord we begin to establish our identity. During the establishing of our identity we also begin to see how uniquely God created us and that for which He called us begins to shape. In order for us to fully enter in to that calling we need to follow the simple steps Peter set out in 2 Peter 1 v 3 – 10; When we do this, we will not so easily fall prey to selfish ambition, self- seeking, bitter envy and end up being confused and spreading confusion, nor will we end up ship wrecking our faith due to deceptions and lies of the devil that we allow to creep in. Remember bitterness defiles everything we do, it blinds us.
So lets look at 2 Peter 1 By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.
And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the worlds corruption caused by human desires.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to Gods promises. Suppliment your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence (virtue), and moral excellence (virtue) with knowledge,
and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance (perseverance), and patient endurance (perseverance) with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection (brotherly kindness), and to brotherly affection (brotherly kindness) love.
The more you grow like this the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But those who fail to develop in this way are short-sighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has chosen. Do these things and you will never fall away. (Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.NKJ)
(It is highly recommended to meditate on 1 Peter 2 through 5 for a good understanding of how Christ handled unfair treatment, feelings of abuse or of being not seen and noticed, as well as renewing of the mind and how to overcome some of the key snares of the devil)
What we see here is that God has made every effort to make available to us the knowledge and wisdom to know who we are, all we have to do is believe it and live it and build on it so we can grow thereby. Then when we live out our function/ calling/ election – the thing God specifically chose you for to do because He put everything in you already so you can be the light in that sphere of life and draw people from that sphere into the Kingdom – you will be secure in the knowledge that no matter how dark that area may be you are safe and secure. Now you can with confidence work in that field knowing that just because the enemy has a stronghold there, does not mean you are now also defiled, or operating in sin. No, the opposite, because Christ is in you and you are in Him, you being there and speaking and living truth raises Jesus up as the principality in that area or field of expertise. He is now the Prince in that area. He now becomes the ruling power in that field, and the lies of the enemy now become exposed and the truth cuts in more and more and people come into their rightful place in Christ and they are being added to the church.
By us living and operating in Gods laws and precepts and principles we are are setting new laws in place in that field and so reform begins to take place and eventually that area will be affected on city, provincial (state) and national level. It takes time though, but it does happen, I’ve seen it. The Kingdom of God is like yeast, it infiltrates slowly and brings change. Business men have applied it in their companies and had to allow themselves and their businesses to be tested by fire to see if they will keep standing in Christ, and they did, then there were tribulations and troubles, I know of businessmen who lost everything, and I mean went from millions to nothing, but God restored three times as much because they refused to deny Gods principles and remained in the church and submitted to the doctrine of Jesus. As long as in everything we do we do is as unto the Lord God will stand up for us.
Colossians 3 v 23 – 25 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.
Know what God has called you to, to do in the earth. Make sure you know, then you will not be easily deceived, you can hear the Holy Spirit when He warns about pride wanting to come in, you will hear the Holy Spirit warn when rebellion wants to come in and you can avert it. Our identity in Christ is what makes us secure in who we are and anchors us so that we remain humble and truly know who we are and then Satan cant so easily throw us off our calling and keep us from what God made us to do.
I can now see how God worked out 2 Peter 1 in my life, it took 20 years for me, but the time is now and I know that He who prepared me for this is God and I have confidence in His ability, wisdom, knowledge and understanding inside of me. Without Him I can do nothing, I am nothing. My mind needed renewing, my emotions needed a lot of healing and restoring, if I had just run out and done what I am embarking on now, I would have cause so much destruction in my own life, my marriage, my children; I don’t even want to imagine it - and I definitely would not have helped others much, just made things worse.
And it wasn’t just healing and restoring, I had also seen how God allowed us to be tested in just about every area and way people can possibly be tested, and yet He never once failed to show up, He was ALWAYS there even in the darkest imaginable places and times, He was there and He saved. Now I am well equipped both in life experience but also Word knowledge, knowledge and understanding of God and His character. God allowed us to study His word thorough the Bible College linked with the church we are part of and then that word was tested in our lives so that it can withstand anything. The testing made the word permanent and immovable, steadfast! Hallelujah! God and His word are infinitely great!
2 Timothy 2 v 15 Study to show yourself approved of God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
It doesn’t have to be twenty years for everyone, but it was for me, and I understand why God took the time He took. We need to trust His processes and we need to allow Him to work it out and bring things about His way and in His time. We often only see part of the picture, and then we want to run, and we compare and we compete and we want prominence and we think we are owed something when Jesus’ life and teachings are so the opposite of it all.
So I thank God for everything I have ever suffered, I thank Him for the patient time He took to heal and rebuild and remold and I know He will continue, we are only finished the day Jesus comes, or God calls us home out of this earthen vessel, but I know that now I am able to do what He called and predestined me to do, to compete in sport and study to help others in fitness, health and life. Because now I see myself as a servant of Jesus and humanity instead of as one who is to be served, I am now a giver instead of a consumer. Thank You Jesus!
So please, be patient with Gods processes. I have so many prophesies and prophetic promises of the kind of work Ill do and the people Ill reach and that Ill work for God, but I understood it or interpreted it completely wrong, for so long. Because I had so much ambition, and my head was up in the clouds and I lived as one who was owed something instead of seeing that all Jesus did was serve people. I missed it, plain and simple. The men and women in the Bible and through the ages lived to serve God and humanity with their time, gifts, talents and efforts, not to be noticed or receive praise. And really most of the time none of those who “should” acknowledge the work they did really honored them, and it never mattered. Those individuals were so set on the upward call they were never bothered with how others treated them, only with how they themselves treated those around them. Pure death to self; pure bodies as living sacrifices for the service of God bringing glory to His name.
And yet God in His immeasurable mercy and patient love never gave up on me and with time my eyes of my understanding became enlightened to see who I am in Christ and to see the things I love and am passionate about are also part of His plan for my life. And He combined the two, the things I love and are passionate about and all the promises and prophesies of working for Him. All it took was patience… wait, wait for God to make it clear. Wait for God to finish the process and DO NOT, please do not compare with others, it is one of the largest pitfalls ever set by Satan and we all fall into it. But may we keep humbling ourselves before the Lord, and may we keep allowing Him to give us perspective and may we keep on taking time to just be quiet. When we become quiet and make room for God to speak to us and reveal things to us, then we remain in place and pace with Him, instead of trying to run ahead and sometimes falling prey to deception. We need to remember, we only see in part, we need to wait on Him to reveal the full picture in the fullness of time. Amen.
Therefore let us make the time and the effort to meditate on His word and to let Him renew our minds and enlighten our eyes of our understanding that we may begin to see who we are in Him, so we can accurately and effectually live out that to which He has called us to do. Remain in church, let patience have its perfect work in us so that when the time comes we are complete lacking nothing, able to do the work knowing who we are in Christ and completing the task.
God bless you with grace and peace.
(c) Celeste Glass
(c) Celeste Glass