Be kinder to yourself.
And then let your kindness flood the world.
And then let your kindness flood the world.
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12 NLT
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
My identity is what distinguishes me from everyone else, but the word identity also means to be the same as one described; having a close similarity or affinity. For a long time I would hear people refer to their identity in Christ, and I just thought of it as a phrase to describe a person who is a Christian or who believes in Christ, but I am learning now that it is more than that. God didn’t give me my identity simply to distinguish me from everyone else because I am His child-He knows me better than anyone. Similarly, we don’t need name tags to acknowledge our own children--but when describing them to others we will name certain characteristics so that they may be recognized by those who don’t know them. I believe that God has characteristics that He wants us to embody so that Christ may be perceived and attractive to everyone we meet. The verses above not only describe who we become upon accepting Christ into our hearts, but they also come with a charge to exercise the right to be children of God by living a new life that reflects our identity in Christ.
So I thought, just be like Christ...Got it! But wait a minute, I still heard Christians talking about finding out their identity in Christ. I thought I just had to be loving and kind like Jesus and I’d be good. But as I walked each day, I realized it wasn’t that simple. There would be situations I’d look back on and know for a fact I didn’t do what Jesus would do! It felt like the whole Christ Like identity was contrary to who I had been all my life-before and after accepting Christ. I felt like I was failing at representing Christ in a way that would draw hearts to Him. I felt like I couldn’t be a witness for God’s Kingdom. And at times I even felt like every thought and every action was reflective of sin. So I decided to find out my identity in Christ so that I could not only rid myself of these thoughts and feelings, but so I could truly be this new creation Paul describes in second Corinthians. I had no idea where to start, but through prayer and a keen desire mixed with frustration here are three steps that I have made habits.
Find out who God says you are to Him
Back in September I posted a list of Bible Declarations that I would use to educate and remind myself of who God says I am to Him. Shortly after being saved, factors such as broken relationships, loneliness and too much time spent on social networking sites drew me into a comparison trap that ultimately led to depression. However, reading the Bible Declarations changed my life and brought so much healing and peace to my heart. I had no idea that this particular habit toward finding out my identity in Christ was actually the healing I needed if I was going to be a viable force for the Kingdom of God.
These are just a few of the declarations along with the scriptures they’re drawn from that I would write out on index cards and read out loud to myself daily:
I am created in the image of God.
God created human beings in his own image.
I am complete in Christ.
So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
I am a temple, a dwelling place of God.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?
1 Corinthians 6:19
I am loved unconditionally.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Declaring these truths gave me confidence, joy, peace, gratitude, and a sense of responsibility that I had never experienced.
Pray about your mishaps
As I mentioned when situations arose and I reacted in ways that did not reflect Christ, or I thought, spoke and operated in ways that were contrary to what God’s Word declared about who I was supposed be as a new creature, it would pain me and cause a lot of guilt and shame. I began to pray whenever this would happen to find out why I did the things I did. I wanted to get to know myself as well as God knew me. (I know this is a lifelong process-but I am wasting no time) If I knew my weaknesses and my triggers I could pray about those specific things and learn how to use God’s Word to combat them.
I prayed using Psalms 139: 23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Up your devotion
This last habit is one that took more time, and one that I’m still working on improving. I was a great note-taker in church. I was good about being consistent with going to church and serving in some capacity. Yet it became something I did when I had the time, rather than a priority I made the time for. Then when I began to up my devotion as a means to combat adversity and equip myself for each day, I realized that it was an integral part of finding out my identity in Christ. God’s Word is so rich and timely! Through intentional time studying, praying, and simply reading through chapters of the Word I have learned so much about myself, so much about God’s character, and just how important and necessary time spent alone in His presence is to my life. I was even convicted thinking about how much time and attention I give to my loved ones, in comparison to the time and attention I give to the God of my salvation who made me in His image, and who gave me the ultimate gift of everlasting life.
If you’re still reading I pray that you have begun to reflect upon your identity in Christ. We are so precious to God! Although we each have unique gifts and qualities, we are all made in His image. Christ saw His Father in each one of us, so I believe that made His sacrifice even more extraordinary. Now it’s our turn to reflect the same power that rose Christ from the grave to the world. I charge you to find out your identity in Christ and do it on purpose!
Father, I pray that this personal testimony of my process to being the woman your created me to be will be an inspiration for those reading it. It is not meant to bring shame or guilt, but to promote a generation of believers who will be intentional about their devotion and service. I pray that through these simple, yet powerful habits, that you will heal insecurities, reaffirm hearts of service, and cast out depression and doubt. Thank you for Your Word, and thank you for making us new creations through the gift of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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