My identity is in Christ. Ok...what does that even mean? What exactly are the powerful truths behind that statement? How do we know our identity is in Christ? How do we move in the direction of living in that place?
When I left Long Island 5 years ago after serving on church staffs for three decades, I was not prepared for the shock to my system as I was unknowingly launched on a journey of discovering where I truly find my identity. My journey is not over, but the growth is evident and I am so thankful God loves us enough to lead us, surround us, and help us on the path toward genuinely trusting him.
Identity is all about relationship...thus the journey. Every growing relationship is a journey. The mystery that surrounds relationship with God makes the journey that much more challenging and also more rewarding. Our part in relationship with God begins with acknowledging and accepting him as our Creator, Redeemer, and Provider. Sounds easy enough. Simple, yes. Easy, no!
So, what is identity. On the latest leg of my journey I've learned to articulate identity with these two words: fulfillment and contentment. When I gain my sense of fulfillment and my sense of contentment from who God is, what he has done, and what he is telling me to do, then my identity is in him. When I look elsewhere for that fulfillment and contentment then I am finding my identity rooted in self. Recognizing the three identity lies is what helps me gauge where I am in my relationship with God each moment of every day. Worship is Life!
We are all susceptible to the three lies, but each one of us is more vulnerable to one of the three depending on our personality type. Adding validity to the reality of these lies is that they correlate to the three temptations of Jesus which reaffirms he was tempted in every way we are. (Hebrews 4:15)
Here are the three identity lies. I am what I do. I am what others think of me. I am what I have.
I am what I do (work, athletics, creative arts, hobbies, etc.) which correlates to the first temptation; turn these stones into bread. I am what others think of me (appearance, reputation, social status - insert social media rant here, etc.) which correlates to the second temptation; throw yourself down from this pinnacle and prove you are who you say you are. I am what I have (power, position, possessions) which correlates to the third temptation; you can have all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. When I am looking for fulfillment or contentment in any of these places it is a sure sign I am looking for my identity with the focus on myself. I am most vulnerable to lie number one. How about you?
One final insight. We were absolutely designed to be blessed with a sense of accomplishment from what we do. But we were never intended to find our fulfillment in what we do. In the same way we were created to be blessed by a sense of acceptance in human relationships. But we were never intended to find our fulfillment in human relationship. We are called to find our fulfillment and contentment in relationship with our Creator, Redeemer, and Provider. This is the journey of identity in Christ.