What is your identity in Christ?
First, let me ask you: How do you see yourself? Instead of starting with our identity in Christ, we usually define ourselves by what we see in the mirror. How tall we are, how old, how much we weigh, what color of eyes, hair, and skin.
But is that who you really are, the unique combination of all these material parts and conditions? No! There’s so much more to who you are.
How else do you see yourself? Do you identify your self by your nationality, your ethnic background and culture, where you were born and where you live now, where your parents and ancestors came from, where you went to school, your job and salary, etc.?
And then, of course, we identify ourselves by our past, good or bad. The trauma and the drama of circumstances define us with certain emotions and feelings. We accept the labels the world puts on us and begin to identify with what others say about us.
We cling to all these ways of identifying ourselves because we think the condition of our body, our culture and heritage, the emotional events, failures, and achievements of our past, our bank account, our job, etc. define us.
But material things don’t define us
They are more like a story board of what has happened to us. But they are not our identity. Sometimes they hint at who we are but other times they’re more like a counterfeit of who we really are as God’s children.
As a kid, I was very conscious of my body, especially my very blond hair. I thought that was my identity. Then I became overweight and thought of myself as “the fat kid.” Everyone at school identified me that way too.
Even after I slimmed down in 9th grade, I still saw myself as overweight. For decades I thought of myself that way. I thought my body defined who I was.
Discovering my identity in Christ
But when I was about 16, I got serious about my faith (Episode 1) and started to read the Bible. I learned about the way God originally created me in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27), and how God saw me. This was a very different view from what I saw in the mirror and how I saw myself in my mind.
I found a lot of hope in something Paul wrote in one of his letters to the Corinthians: He’s talking about what happens when you accept Christ into your life.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthian 5:16, 17 ESV)
You are a new creation
This is Paul’s promise. When we accept Christ, old things pass away.
Why then do we hold onto the things that are not who we are in Christ? We can let go of them. Christ washes them away. When we discover our identity in Christ, we realize our identity in the past is not who we really are. In Christ, we are so much more.
So, how do you see yourself?
It’s really not the best question. We should ask how does God see you. Or better yet, ask God directly, “God, how do you see me?”
Have you ever been afraid to ask that question because you think God will only see all the mistakes you’ve made? We need to remember that God doesn’t count our trespasses against us. (2 Cor 5:19) Why do we hold onto them so fiercely.
Discovering your identity in Christ
How does God see you?
The way He originally made you. We get a glimpse of this by the way Jesus saw people just like you. He looked at people with compassion. He said we are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. You are the image and likeness of God (Episode 37). We have much value within us and to share with others.
Discovering your identity in Christ does not happen in a moment. It’s a lifelong process (Episode 75) of discovery and putting into practice what you discover.
Your identity in Christ is intact. It is complete and whole in the heart and the hands of God.
James Early is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster and conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life.
Bible References in this episode:
2 Corinthian 5:16-19 ESV
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
John 15:5, 15-17 ESV
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Romans 8: 1, 2, 5-9, 14, 16, 17 ESV
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[footnote: Some manuscripts add who walk not according to the flesh (but according to the Spirit)] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,
Romans 12:5 ESV
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
John 20:17 ESV
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Jeremiah 32:38 ESV
38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Isaiah 43:6, 7 ESV
6 I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.
John 15:1 ESV
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
John 17:20, 21 ESV
20 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us,