March 30, 2012

Is Your True Identity in Christ? Part 1

 

In working with artists and creatives, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with others about our true identify in Christ. (I wrote about this in another post, That Insatiable Longing) Asking myself where my true identity lies is a key question for my heart that needs constant attention and cultivating. Why do I ask myself this? The simple answer is that I want to have “a well-kept heart.” How we see ourselves and who we believe ourselves to be is a core matter of the heart because scripture tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Like others, I have this Adam-induced DNA that wraps my identity around my work, relationships and interests. God has another name for it . . .

It’s called idolatry . . . worshiping or putting anything before Him. If our heart is a wellspring of life that flows into our marriages, parenting, friendships and relationships at work, we have to ask ourselves, “At my heart’s core, where is my true identity? Where do I go for ultimate love, acceptance, purpose and belonging?” Am I giving others my true self, the one God has designed me to be, or my false self which falls into idol worship? (Whether it’s myself or some other American Idol!)

Some people shape their identity around how much money they make. Or the approval of parents, friends, co-workers, or worse, their children. Other people wrap their identity around a certain persona they try to project to others. Who hasn’t seen these characters and the masks they wear?  I’m a tough guy. I’m a surfer. I’m smarter than the rest of you idiots. I’m nobody. I’m sexy. I’m more godly than the rest of you heathens. I’m a high-achiever, productive, and important!

Geez! All that posing and pretending takes way too much energy to maintain a false front. Finding our true identity in Christ is a much easier way because the way of Christ is the way of rest. Having your identity in Christ as a son or daughter of God is based upon what God has already done for you in Christ, so you and I don’t have to win, prove, and achieve the belonging and acceptance our hearts are hungry for.

So what can help us get there? The essence of finding your true spiritual identity in Christ in discovering and knowing whose you are, not what you are or what you do. If I know I am God’s beloved and I don’t have to win his favor or wear all these false labels to prove who am I, then life takes on a whole new meaning, purpose and direction.

What helps to remind of whose I am in Christ is reading simple thoughts from the heart of God that tell me who I already am. Just like a father or mother who communicates in the most loving way possible to their children, “Hey, you belong here. You’re my child and an incredibly important member of this family,” God is saying the same thing to us. I hope you find the love and encouragement of God for you in these words…

I am a Child of God. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
I am a Friend of Jesus. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
I am not Condemned by God. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
I am Accepted by Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 15:7
My Body is a Temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in me. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor. 3:16

Now isn’t that good news? If your identity is in Christ, you are a child of God, a friend of Jesus, not condemned, but accepted, and the Holy Spirit dwells in you.

Take some time to reflect and meditate on these verses. Finding your identity in Christ will lead to more peace, purpose, freedom, and the true life your heart is longing for. So much better than carrying all that burdening weight of false masks, pretense, posing and propping up an unreal self we were never designed to be.

Questions: Where do you tend to place your identity? Have you discovered the deep rest that comes by placing your identity in Christ? How?

I’d love your comments and questions.

I wrote a lot about identity and what it means to live as a chosen, loved and accepted child of God in my book The Longing: Embracing the Deepest Truth of Who You Are. It’s available in print, epub and PDF in the Art, Life & Faith Store.

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