November 12, 2023
Ask a person who they are and most will tell you what they do for a living. Ask a person about their identity and it’s interesting what kind of answer you’ll get or what kind of strange looks you’ll receive. So let me ask you, “who are you?” Many people fight a conflict within as they know who they’d like to be or should be, but the identity they portray in the things they do is inconsistent.
The Bible is clear about who we are if we are followers of Jesus Christ. No matter our past or our failures, we are God’s children by adoption, redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, who has called us to God in regeneration. Not only that but God has promised a glorious future to all those that Jesus calls His sheep because He has promised to keep them forever.
John 10:27–30 (ESV) — 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
1 Peter 1:3–5 (ESV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The apostle Paul realized His identity in Christ. Notice in the verses below how he felt that in himself he saw very little worth, but God has called him and bestowed grace upon him; therefore in the power of God he worked harder than anyone, living out of gratitude for taking him out of the pit of life and giving him purpose in life. As he states, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
1 Corinthians 15:8–10 (ESV) — 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
What an illustration of identity! Where is your identity? Recently a friend and I were discussing this situation and he pointed out how many people today base their identity on the acceptance of others. This is especially seen in the realm of social media. A person places a picture or a post on Facebook then checks back often to see how many “likes” he is getting and maybe even who is “liking” his post. We had a good laugh at such practice but had to admit we all do that even a little. Then he admitted how he posts his bike ride information on Strava, a social media program that allows you to compare and “see” what other riders are doing and give them “kudos” for their workouts. I like to call my friend “the king of kudos” because we can ride together and put our ride information on Strava and immediately it seems he has 30 kudos within the first couple of minutes and by the end of the day my “kudos” are pale in comparison to his. But who is counting, right? It made us chuckle but we were caught. We do check to see how many kudos we get, just as I imagine you check to see likes or affirmations of some sort on social media. Let’s face it. Much of our identity today is based upon our acceptance by others and that craving for acceptance is amplified via social media.
Stop the train! We do not need acceptance in “likes” or “kudos” because God has declared us accepted in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3–7 (KJV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Did you catch that? God made us accepted in the Beloved (Christ). You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to wonder about it. It’s based upon the eternal covenant of God, who cannot lie, and brought to assurance in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that but the assurance of such a blessed state of identity is constantly reinforced by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Wow! That is some identity: a child of the true and living God. And because of that identity, Paul said he saw himself as just a servant who is to do whatever his master Jesus would have him do.
Romans 1:1 (ESV) — 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
How about you? Who are you? From what are you seeking approval? Do you look to other people for your acceptance? Or do you look to God who graciously lets us know His approval through His word, particularly through the Gospel and His promises, as well and through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Romans 8:16 (ESV) — 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Psalm 68:19 (KJV) — 19 Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loadeth us with benefits, Even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Realizing who you are before God and the blessings of that status relieves a great deal of pressure in trying to please others to find your identity. May God bless you today to enjoy your status in trusting Christ alone for salvation and your identity as one of His sheep.
Bob Brubaker, Pastor