“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (ESV)
“We think of the Christian life as a ‘changed life’ but it is not that. What God offers us is an ‘exchanged life’, a ‘substituted life’, and Christ is our Substitute within.” Watchman Nee
- Grab a cup of coffee, head to a space in your home where you spend your quiet time, and open your Bible to the book of 1 John.
- Read the entire chapter of 1 John 4, focusing on verse 18.
Have you ever sat down and thought about who you are as a person? We are often asked this question when we meet new people or in a group setting when we need to introduce ourselves. Someone turns to you and asks, “Will you tell me about yourself?” We start by identifying ourselves by the people we associate with or the activities we are involved in on a daily basis. If I asked you right now to tell me who you were, some of the common answers might be:
- A Woman
- A Mom
- A Daughter
- A Christian
- A Friend
- An Employee
I often identify myself as a military spouse before anything else. It plays such a huge role in my life: where I live, what is next on the horizon for my family, and even how I parent. It has seeped into every part of my being.
As women, it can be so easy to find our identity in what we do instead of who God says we are according to the Bible. God has a very specific list of the truths found in the Scriptures that are based on the finished work of Christ when He went to the cross and gave His life as a sacrifice for us. Scripture states that we are children of God (John 1:12), that we come from a branch of the true vine (John 15:1,5), that we are friends of Jesus (John 15:15), that we have been accepted by Christ (Romans 15:7), and that we have been called to be saints (Colossians 1:2 and Ephesians 1:1).
I would much rather identify with this list than the one mentioned in the previous paragraph. True joy as a Christ-follower comes when we live a life surrendered to God. This means that we admit we are no longer in charge of our lives, but that we instead choose to live for Jesus and not for ourselves. Joy only comes when we live for God. Follow the example of the apostle Paul. He found true joy when chained to a Roman guard. Paul found his identity in Christ Jesus and not in his daily works.
When it comes to seeking our identity in Christ, we find ourselves consistently seeking to bring glory to God instead of glory to ourselves. Matthew 5:16 states, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” What we have to understand is that once we trust our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, we then see ourselves the way God sees us—fearfully and wonderfully made. Our identity is rooted firmly in Jesus Christ. We learn four valuable truths when we hold our identity in Christ. Let’s begin exploring them now.
Truth #1: We should choose to live in a way that glorifies and honors God.
We read in Colossians 1:10 “so that you may have a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” I heard a quote by Craig Groeschel, “Respect is earned but honor is given.” What this means is honor is a gift freely given with nothing expected in return. An example is the relationship of a wife honoring her husband. She chooses to live and act in way that honors her husband. We should also choose to honor God in the same manner. Where there is surrender, commitment is not an issue.
We find further evidence of this in the following verses:
Psalm 34:3 states “O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
Truth #2: We no longer have to live in fear.
In Joshua 1:9, the Scriptures tell us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Dear sister, what a wonderful truth to hold onto at all times. As a believer, Jesus is with you, walking beside you during every moment of your life. Lean into Him and trust what 1 John 4:18 tells us: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
Truth #3: We can leave comparison in the past. We seek to only please Christ.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
Before we knew Christ, it was all about what was in it for us. Now that we have found our identity in Christ, we no longer need to find our validation in the world.
We should rest on Psalm 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” We have all that we need in Jesus Christ. He meets all our needs, wants, and desires. We must have faith that He will always provide for us.
Truth #4: We no longer need to be surprised when trials come our way. We see the value of an eternal perspective.
I find this truth about our identity in Christ to be the most important but often the most overlooked. In John 16:33, we read, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Friends, we are going to have trouble, sadness, and even death, but we can sit at the feet of our Lord and know that He loves us and truly wants the best for us.
We read in John 14:27-28, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You heard me say, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” What a promise!
Dear friend, I hope you know that when you hold your identity in Christ, you are drawn more closely to God. He desires that we walk beside Him. Take comfort in Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Have you ever sat in front of a mirror and given yourself compliments? Every day this week, I want you to set a timer for 5 minutes and look yourself in the eye and tell yourself everything you love about you. The goal is to see yourself through the eyes of God. Think of it as a filter you put on a photo before you publish it to Instagram. The original photo does not change, but the filter enhances the photo to highlight its best features. We are able to remove all the negativity and ugliness that we see in ourselves when we deliberately filter using God. I encourage you to journal about your experience. Write down any changes you notice in how you treat yourself. My hope for you is that you find yourself kinder and willing to give yourself more grace as the week comes to an end.
Start a Genealogy Notebook.
Do you wonder where your ancestors hail from? My girls often ask me about their heritage and where we came from in the “olden days.” I tell them stories of a young boy facing the insurmountable task of walking across our great nation to travel out West and how great men before them fought and died for their country and their freedom. I get asked to tell these stories over and over, not only for their entertainment, but also because they love to hear about loved ones of the past.
Grab a notebook and start recording your family history. If your parents are still alive, start by talking with them and gathering information. Ask for names and birth dates of your immediate family members. This will give you the basic information you need to start building your family tree.
There are several resources online to help you, but the easiest to navigate is Ancestry.com.
I also suggest taking an oral history from any of your grandparents or parents. This is something that you will cherish after they pass away. You can either video or audio-record the session. Ask them questions about their childhood, the day they got married, when their children were born, a time they were very proud or scared, etc. Please remember to save or backup this file.
Leslie has known Jesus almost as long as she has known her husband.
She loves Jesus, her husband, her two daughters, coffee and her dachshund Oscar Myer.
Her favorite bible verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8 "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed or broken. We do not give up and quit."