Finding Your Identity – June 2015

identityEveryone wants to feel special and appreciated. We often seek to define ourselves by our friendships, talents, beauty or possessions. We seek to be validated by the value that others see in us. If we have something very nice, we often want to show it to someone else to get approval on some level. But Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

Your life, your acceptance, value, and approval, does not consist in the abundance of the things that you possess. Whether they are talents, knowledge, beauty, riches, friends on Facebook, or anything else, your value is not dependent upon those things. You are worth so much more than anything you could ever possess.

John made an interesting statement about Jesus: “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23). I recently learned something about this verse that helped clarify things for me.

Many people believed on Jesus, but He “did not commit himself unto them.” Was Jesus committed to the people He came to save? Of course He was! He was so committed that He gave His life for us. The Greek word translated “commit” in this verse is the same word that was translated “believed” in the previous verse. Many people believed on Him, but Jesus did not trust Himself to their belief. Their belief in Him did not determine His identity or His value. A few years later many of these same people were crying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him” (Luke 23:21). He knew His real value apart from their approval or rejection.

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People are so fickle; their opinions can change very quickly. If you let any human determine your identity and value, then your experience will be like a rollercoaster—up and down. We cannot afford to let others drag us down with guilt and shame that do not belong to us. Nor can we afford to trust their fickle commendations to determine our value.

True Identity

So what is your identity and how do you find it? To find out what you are really worth, you need go no further than the Bible, which says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love for you is limitless. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). The greatest, most exalted Person in the universe is willing to give up everything for you, including His beloved Son. You must be pretty special and very valuable. ☺

“Oh, but I am an ungodly sinner, God can’t possibly love me.” Yes, He can, and He does! If you are ungodly, then you are exactly the person Jesus came to save. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

Your value and identity is determined by someone who does not change (James 1:17). He loves you “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).

As You Believe

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Jesus said, “…as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee” (Matthew 8:13). We live our lives according to what we believe about ourselves. If you believe you are a child of the Most High, in whom He is well pleased, it will affect the way you live. Likewise, if you believe you are a lost sinner doomed to failure, it will affect the way you live. You have amazing potential, and power available to you far beyond what you have imagined (Ephesians 3:20).

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2-4). Grace is “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary). This grace is multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. The more you become familiar with the treasures available to you in Christ, the more your life will be transformed into His image. Believe His promises that were given to you so that you can be a partaker of His divine nature.

God “…hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:6, 7). We have been purchased with the blood of His Son. We are accepted in Him. His acceptance is our acceptance. We are valued based upon His value, which is limitless. Jesus prayed to His Father, “…that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23). Did you get that? God loves you just as much as He loves His “beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17). That means you are a beloved child of God. You are part of the body of Christ and He “nourisheth and cherisheth” you (Ephesians 5:29). Believe in your status as a beloved child of the Most High, and your life will reflect that belief.

What About When I Fall?

I remember when my children were little how excited I was to see their first steps. When they first started to walk, there were a lot of failures. They were sitting on the floor much more than they were walking, but it was still thrilling to see. I would not have even considered scolding them or rejecting them for their failure. Instead, I would say, “Get up! You can do it. Take another step.” God is at least as kind as we are as parents.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief” (Proverbs 24:16). Based upon this verse, who falls more often, the just man or the wicked? The wicked only falls once, while the just falls seven times. The reason for the difference is that the just rises up again every time he falls. If you don’t get up, you can’t fall again; you are already fallen. The just have the attitude, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me” (Micah 7:8).

Don’t get discouraged when you fall. God does not stop loving you. He loved you before you ever decided to accept Him. He doesn’t stop when you fall. Make sure you don’t stay down when you fall, but get up by coming to Him for forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When you do this, He will always accept you. Jesus said, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

The Prodigal Son

Jesus gave a parable of a son who selfishly asked his father for his inheritance and then went away and wasted it on “riotous living” (Luke 15:13). He had lots of friends while he was rich. Many people are glad to be your friend when they have something to gain. But finally this son’s money ran out. He was reduced to feeding swine, and tempted to eat their sloppy food, because none of his so-called friends would give him anything (Luke 15:16). “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:17-24).

After this young man wasted his inheritance he felt ashamed to come to his father and ask for anything. He decided to devalue himself to his father and become a servant instead of a son. But his father would have none of it. While the young man was reciting his prepared speech, as soon as he denigrated himself by saying, “I am no more worthy to be called thy son…” his father interrupted him by calling for the best clothing and throwing a party. That father represents our heavenly Father and that son represents us. Do not try to lower your status to that of a servant. You are His child, and He wants you to know how precious you are to Him.

My friend, no matter what you have done, no matter how much shame has been piled upon you, you are special to God. He is eagerly looking for the first sign of your return. He loves you immensely and is earnestly seeking to shower His love upon you. You are God’s child regardless of how much Satan has tried to distort that in your mind. You were created in God’s image and likeness. You have a purpose in life. You are dearly loved beyond words. Jesus took all your guilt and shame, along with your sins, to His cross. He has given you His spotless robe of righteousness. Accept it! Wear it joyfully! Leave that guilt, shame and sin behind and don’t think of it ever again. He isn’t! He cast it into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). He wants to see you shine! “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3).

(This article is available as a tract. Contact us for more information.         Editor)