What Determines Who You Are?

As usual, I am finding there is so much I want to do and yet so little time to do it all! For example, I am scanning the new Entrusted Bible Study and reading both a Christian Non-fiction book on Daniel, another on prayer (with a friend) and a fiction book on prayer based on several non-fiction characters (with my husband). Yes, I am a little crazy that way!

Now for the cool part! They all converge on the topic of identity. That’s right! Who we are, our identity!  So who are we really? Do our actions dictate our identity? Our heritage? Does the world we live in dictate our identity?
Paul found his true identity in his conversion on the road to Damascus when he met Jesus! His life dramatically changed from one who persecuted followers of Christ to one who reached out, taught and mentored people into followers of Christ! With boldness, he proclaimed, “Follow me as I follow Christ!”

Daniel and his young friends were taken captive into the custody of foreigners. These devout young men did not let their captures change their identity. Staying firm to their God-given identity was a priority in their new environment even when it threatened their very lives, they remained faithful.

One quote from Living Among Lions today was “Our actions spring from our identity, not our profession; from who we are, not what we do. If it is true that our actions are directed by who we are, our identity or how we see ourselves; then what do our actions reveal about us?

Are our actions consistent with who we think we are

or are they in contradiction?

 

Are our actions more aligned with what we do or feel

than with who we truly are?

 

 If so, is it possible that we may a bit confused still about our identity or

even under the influence of an identity thief?

 

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason, the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” John 10:7-18 (NASB)

 

These are just a few of the characteristics of our identity in Christ. God’s Word is full of much more, but let’s just look at these powerful few:

Forgiven –     “I am writing you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven      because of Jesus name. ” 1 John 2:10

Cleansed –    “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with on another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1John 1:7 (ESV)

Redeemed –  “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7 (NASB)

Called –         “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”  2 Timothy 1:9 (HCSB)

Chosen/appointed -“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of theFather in My Name He may give to you.” John 15:16

Complete –   “and in Him, you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule an authority.” Colossians 2:10 (NASB)

Children of God – “Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3 (HCSB)

A Royal Priesthood – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

Peaceful –       “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 (ESV)

Victorious –   “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  1 Corinthians 15:57 (HCSB)

“In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” 2 Corinthians 2: 14-16 (MSG)

Wow! Just based on these verses alone, what will our life be like if we find our identity in these promises? How would life change? If we begin to look at God’s description of our life based only on who He says we are and daily gaze upon that reflection; what would our lives look like in a week? A month? Or in a year? Would we see the likeness of Christ forming in our lives?

      How would life change if we were focused on who we are and whose we are instead of what we do? Can you imagine meeting someone for the first time and rather than asking them what do you do; asking who are you? What are you passionate about? It just might make for some highly unusual first impressions!

Heavenly Father, please teach us to look to You for our identity. Help us find our true value and worth not in the things of this world or in what others have to say, whether good or bad; but to find it in who You say we are. Give us wisdom and understanding as we walk through life to see beyond others opinions and superficial comparisons to walk in the fullness of who You created us to be. Grace and peace to you, In the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ!

What if….

        I love music! There are few styles of music that I don’t enjoy. My musical choices usually lean heavily toward that which is uplifting and inspirational, style or genre maters much less than the words.  Last week I discovered a new album from one of the artists I really enjoy and I couldn’t resist the download. Her style, I would guess is most like smooth Jazz. As I was enjoying listening to it, one song ended and as the next began; children’s voices filled my ears. This caught my attention even more as I closely listened to their words that were a prelude to the song. I was wonderstruck! My next thought was: what would happen if every child was taught these words from their earliest days all the way through adulthood? How would it change the world? Just what would it be like if we truly realized from an early age that we were created to be children of destiny?

 

Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. (‭Psalms‬ ‭139‬:‭1-6, 13-16‬ HCSB)

      Friday afternoon my two and a half-year old granddaughter was granted her hearts desire. She had been asking to come to Nannie and Granddaddy’s house for a week or two and this was a good time for her to spend a couple of days. Saturday morning as we prepared to enjoy breakfast together, I decided to turn on my playlist as I began cooking and she played with Granddaddy. Their play sounds slowed and I noticed she was listening to the children’s voices coming over the speakers. She had a huge smile on her face. It reminded me that just yesterday she had looked up at me with the sweetest expression on her face and sweetly proclaimed, ” Nannie, I cute! I cute!”  Most children have  proclaimed a similar statement at some point, whether acknowledging their cuteness, that they are smart, or some other attribute. It was not out of arrogance, pride or insecurity looking for approval, but just an innocent acknowledgement before people, the culture or world  challenged it.  What if I teach her the words of this song from Ginny Owens: ” I’m beautiful; exceptional; powerful; cause love lives inside of me, calling me to be a daughter of destiny…”  (From the album Get In, I’m Drivin’ by Ginny Owens). What if we could insure that instinctive and innocent understanding of their God-given value was preserved for a lifetime? What if people’s words and the circumstances of life that we encounter were experienced from a solid foundation that we are precious creations of God, His workmanship, His masterpiece?

 

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭1‬:‭3-6‬ HCSB)

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭8-10‬ HCSB)

 Proverbs 22:6 (NET Bible) “Train a child in the way that he should go,and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

     My curious mind just can not help but wonder, what difference would it make in our lives, in how we see others and how we see ourselves.  Would we have greater self-respect; respect for others? Would we place a greater value on all life? Would insecurity be lessened or vanquished? Maybe it would end or at least lessen abuse, violence, the taking of life and sex-trafficking in our world. I realize that many do not believe in God; many reject both God and Jesus. He gave them the freedom to choose or reject Him. I also believe they would be much more likely to be convinced if those of us who are His sons and daughters fully realized and experienced who we are In Christ Jesus and walked it out in our lives. Maybe as the title song says we could get in and let Him do the drivin”.

Grace & peace to you!

http://encouragingbiblequotes.com/verses2a.html