People have a natural desire to identify ourselves with something bigger than our individual selves.
There are a multitude of distinctions which we use. We identify ourselves by where we were born or currently reside, our political beliefs, how we earn a living, our social class or even what sports team we cheer on. Some of these identities are based on factors that are beyond our control, such as where we are born, and some are intentional.
While latching on to these identities may not be morally wrong there are limitations.
How do You Find Your Identity?
As an example, we can identify ourselves too closely with how we earn a living. What happens when something changes, i.e. loss of a job? If we identify too much with our job and lose that job it can have a detrimental effect.
People often struggle with a sense of purposelessness and depression as the job that they used as their source of identity was eliminated. So we see that some identities are built on shaky foundations.
Sometimes these identities can be hurtful as they can create boundaries. They can serve as the impetus for people to feel superior to others and discriminate against them. We see this in history time and time again where identity is used as a weapon.
Your Identity in Christ
For a Christian our identity is ultimately found in Christ. As the apostle Paul tells us it is not limited by gender, race, age or social class. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.(Gal. 3:28 CSB).
This identity is connected to and dependent upon Christ. Therefore, it supersedes all others. It arises from the intentional decision to trust, have faith in, Jesus (Gal. 3:26) and allow Him to direct our lives.
It starts when we allow ourselves to undergo baptism. For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27 CSB). This identity is continually demonstrated by our lives (Gal 5: 25).
It is shown by the type of life we live., one filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 3:22 CSB), all enabled and empowered by the Spirit.
Your Identity as a Christian
This identity is not simply about our individual relationship with Christ. Our identity is also defined by our relationship with all other Christians.
The apostle Peter tells us that
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession,so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.“(1 Peter 2:9-10 CSB)
We discover from this passage that our identity is wrapped up in our association with others who have entrusted themselves to following Christ. We are not merely individuals, connected to Christ but part of something larger.
Not only that, but our identity is contingent on fulfilling a purpose- to proclaim the praises of the one who made all of this possible. Our lives were intended to be spent praising God, thanking Him for all that He has done for us.
The most obvious example of this is when we gather together to worship Him. It is not just that though. Our very lives are to be a sacrifice to Him (Romans 12:1). When we live for Him we are offering worship. We proclaim to the world the wonderful mercy that has been shown to us. We tell the world about it with the hopeful anticipation that others will want this as well.
This is an everlasting purpose. One that will survive the test of time. One that will survive all of the challenges that we face in life.
We invite you to embrace this identity. Place your trust in Christ. Follow Him and become a part of something greater.