Identity {Who or What Defines It?}

Indentity 1

Identity – Who or What Defines Us

We are not defined by who others think or say we are. We are not even defined by who we have worked so hard to be or believe we are. Honors, corporate ladders, and titles are all man-made distinctions – and distractions. God is not more pleased with gold tassels than with those who care for the poor or feed the hungry.

In Matthew 20, Jesus told the parable of the workers in the vineyard. He described the kingdom of heaven as being like a landowner who went out to hire workers for his vineyard. Although the workers were hired at different times throughout the day, they were all paid the same. Why? Because they each had agreed to work for that amount. The landowner was completely fair to each person, challenging the grumbling workers by asking them if they were envious that he was being generous.

Jesus stated in verse 16, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” We American Christians have trouble accepting this as the standard for us too. Surely this cannot be right. We cannot possibly all receive the same grace from God, can we? Doesn’t it matter who we are in this world? Don’t we have to be somebody?

The truth is that we are who God says we are, and God says a lot about us. Look at a few verses from the book of Ephesians:

  • Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us.
  • Ephesians 1:7 tells us we are forgiven.
  • Ephesians 2:10 states that we are His workmanship (not our own).

Let’s not stop here.

  • I Corinthians 6:19 says that we are God’s temple.
  • John 1:12 says that we are God’s children.
  • John 15:15 says that we are friends of Jesus.

Oh friends, the Bible tells us a lot about who we are as believers in Christ. We cannot allow the world or even well-meaning friends and family to wrongly define and label us. When you start to hear that lying voice in your head saying, “you are not good enough, pretty enough, rich enough, or that you are not smart enough, that you deserve that horrible thing that happened to you” STOP RIGHT THERE and tell yourself (yell it out loud if you have to):

  • “No! I am not stupid. I am God’s workmanship!”
  • “No! I am not unloved or unwanted. I am a friend of Jesus!”
  • “No! I don’t deserve to be abused. I am a temple of God!”

Sometimes the lying voice you hear is your own, and

Christ wants to be heard above it.

Instead of talking about how “proud” you are of someone (or someone telling you how “proud” they are of you) for whatever accomplishment(s) it my be at the time; tell them how proud you are of them for accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and for seeking to follow Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

You see, accomplishments (while they should be celebrated) are not what makes us good enough. What makes us enough is that we are transformed by the mercies of Christ Jesus.

  • Ephesians 1:3-14 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
  • John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
  • Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 

Who or what are you allowing to identify you?

In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

Excepts taken from Reclaiming Sanity by Dr. Laurel Shaler edited by Colleen Woodruff.

Naps: biblical or not? 

This was just to great not to share. I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page today and I died laughing. Oh how good laughter is to the soul {Proverbs 17:22}. 

See…NAPS ARE BIBLICAL! Aren’t we to be putting-on Christ? 🤗

Hope you have a smile on your face! Have a blessed day friend,

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Rethinking 

Hank isn’t changing. He is a cranky guy. He has been cranky his whole life, and not just about church. He does not effectively know how to love his wife, his children cannot relate to him, and He has no joy. He’s been going to church his whole life — 60 years and nobody is surprised. Nobody in the church is surprised that he stays cranky year after year. No one is particularly bothered by it. It is as if we expect it — that’s just Hank. Nobody is expecting him to be more like Jesus year after year. Yet the Bible does expect it. The writer of Hebrews offers the following challenge: 

“You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian Life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right” Hebrews 5:12-13 NLT

The Greek term used in the New Testament for disciple is ‘mathetes’, which simply means “learner.” 

As Bill Hull has written, the wrong question for the church is: How many people are present? The right question is: What are these people like? 

After people become Christians, the goal is for them not only to learn how to live like Christ, but to actually live like Christ. This involves nothing less than radical life change. If this is not happening, then discipleship is not happening, and rethinking must take place.

Excerpt taken from Rethinking the Church by James Emery White [pg 66-67]

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Do you know your Jesus?