Are you the shy one? The broke one? The creative one? The successful one? The brave one? The sad one? Or, the one who gets it all done? The cold one? The awkward one? The bold one? The lazy one? The health conscience one? The talented one? Or, the one who’s seen by no one?
The busy one? The organized one? The smart one? The loving one? The controlling one? The frightened one? Or, the one hiding behind the scenes? The lovely one? The sweet one? The good one? The beautiful one? The fun one? The helpful one? Or, the one who’s simply none of these?
Are you the doubter? The comedian? The doormat? The opinionated? The list maker? The task master? The victim? Or, the bloviated?
The gold-digger? The loner? The peacemaker? The warmonger? The know-it-all? The truth teller? The truth seeker? Or, the compulsive liar?
The foodie? The shopping addict? The workaholic? Or, the exercise queen? The alcoholic? The gambler? The adrenaline junky? Or, the go-between?
Maybe you’re the lonely one? The procrastinator? The criminal? The attention seeker? The one with the business mind? The pleasure seeker? The passive one? Or, the free spirit?
Your team? Your party? Your group? Your hobby? The stay-at-home? The big business? Your work-from-home small business? The homebody? The world traveler? The initiator? The avoider? Or, the straight-up nobody?
Are you who you belong to? What you do? Only who depends on you? The mom? The dad? The sister? The good listener? The bad daughter? The favorite son? Or, you can count on no one? The Scientist? The Doctor? The Waitress? The Teacher? The Lawyer? The Coach? The Dentist? Or, the Preacher?
Are you someone you shouldn’t be? Someone you can’t be? Or, maybe you’re just someone you should altogether quit trying to be? Forever falling behind? Always leading the pack? Or, seem forever and always stuck somewhere in between?
Are you better because you name it? Or, completely shameless? Less because of what brought you shame? Or, could hardly care less? The hopeful one? The hopeless one? Or, just simply the hopeless cause? Up on the mountain? Down in the valley? High as a kite? Or, crawling on your belly?
Are you capable? Or, disabled? Type A? Or, a type all unto yourself? The bully? The bullied? The moral police? The thought police? The strong one? Or, that stronghold? Blue collar? The police in blue? The first responder of another hue?
Or, maybe you refuse to respond no matter what they do?
The student? The thinker? The hard worker? The believer? The missionary? The ambassador? The hippie? The protester? The patriot? The conservative? The liberal? Or, the proudly non-political?
Are you pushing this agenda? Or, advocating for that cause? Are you your denomination? Or, seem stuck on pause?
Are you where you’re from? Or, where you’re going to? What people think of you? Or, what you’ve been through? Who people think you should be? Or, trying hard to be anything but? What your good at? Or, no good at all? What you love? Or, who you love? What no one sees? Or, all there is to see? A lover of yourself? Or, all by yourself? Who you’re married to? Or, simply the idea of one becoming two? What you’re looking for? Or, looking for no more? Who you’ve lost? Or, trying not to be found? Those scars you can’t hide? Or, the mask you hide behind?
Are you the slave? The servant? Simply not good enough? Or, are you better? Broken? Complete? Completely full of yourself? Or, have it all together?
Fully satisfied? Empty? Obsessive? Craving? Preoccupied? Unaccepted? Angry? Unforgiving? Unloved? Rejected? Crazy? A killer? Confused? Overwhelmed? The saint? The sinner?
Or, maybe… just maybe, you know that who you think you are is nowhere close to the who you’re meant to be…
Can you relate? Am I getting warmer? Do you see any of these when you look in the mirror? When the world looks at you, who do they see? Who do you tell them you’re meant to be?
Because the truth is, who you truly are will never be found in any one of these.
Not even close.
Because, whoever it is you say you are… whether good or bad or straight down the middle… YOU are more.
So. Very. Much. More.
And, even way better, because there’s a Someone that looks at you and knows exactly who you were born to be. Better still, He knows Who’s you are because He alone purchased you with His Life on that tree.
Listen, if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ – on His completed work on the Cross at Calvary – then you are NONE of those things.
Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. None.
What you actually are… is HIS. And, His ALONE.
His Possession. His Passion. His Purpose.
And… the best of all part is, we are who we are – exactly and only – because of Who He IS. Not because of anything we have done, will do, won’t do, refuse to do, do right, do wrong, don’t grasp, lose sight of, let go, hold on to, or take hold of.
In Jesus Christ, who we are – at our core – is perfectly and totally and completely His. (Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:2, 26:18, Malachi 3:17, Titus 2:14)
But, you may be thinking… Wait, some of these labels actually do describe me. And, what’s wrong with many of them anyway? Especially the best of them?
Yeah, I get it. I’ve been there and revisit often… especially the “better” ones, but also, too many of the bad… but, see, whether they bring you pride or shame or leave you feeling completely neutral… if our identity is found in any one of them – any created thing at all – then how can it ever last? And, maybe you’ve never even considered that identifying yourself by these terms was in any way a big deal. At least, not too big of one anyway. But, what happens when the created thing becomes a crutch… or, gets crushed… or, crushes us? We will (always!) end up crushed right underneath it. Yes, we may have been called many of these things, or called ourselves these things many times, or maybe even took pride that we were these things on too many occasions. Heck… if you’re anything like me, you may have even resembled many of the not-so-good things most or all of every moment you can recall. So yeah… we can so relate, simply because this world we live in desires to define and categorize everything.
But… because these labels are created, they do not get to define – nor, identify – the YOU, you were reborn into.
Simply because, when we are In Christ, these labels no longer bear any resemblance to the new creation we have become. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
So, what? What’s the harm? Why does any of this matter anyway?
Well… who we say we are shows WHO we belong to. If we source that in the Someone that created us, then our supply is never ending and our burden light (Isaiah 40:28-31; John 4:14; Matthew 11:30). If, on the other hand, we source our identity in anything created, then eventually we will come up empty and depleted.
Maybe you’ve been there? Or, maybe you’re sitting there right now?
And, please do not be fooled by the enemy… who we believe we are motivates everything we do… from our attitudes and emotions, to our choices, to our love of others, to our love of our own selves, to our love of Jesus. And, remember the stories we are telling? The ones we were born to tell?? Well, Jesus has designs for us to live that story out (Ephesians 2:10) and made the way for us to live it out by the power of The Holy Spirit, Who lives inside us to accomplish His Purpose (Philippians 2:13). So, we have no business owning any label other than “HIS.” Rather, we, just like Jesus as He told His frightened parents once they found Him in the Temple, “…must be about [our] Father’s business.”… The eternal business of Kingdom Building… by growing in the knowledge and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and making disciples of all nations. (Luke 2:49, 2 Peter 3:18, Matthew 28:19)
And, most sincerely… knowing our identity in Christ is crucial to our Kingdom building purpose, so we don’t end up trying to tell others’ stories… or, getting lost in our own… or, extra lost making up new ones as we go along. Because, as long as we believe we’re something we’re not… or, don’t believe who…or, simply, Who’s we are – then we will be left searching high and low for the answer, instead of loving many souls into the Kingdom of The Most High.
If we don’t know Who’s we are, we are subject to believe lies… blown around by any popular belief of the moment. (Ephesians 4:13-14)
If we don’t know Who’s we are, we end up chasing everything placed in our paths… spinning our wheels and coming up short. (1 Corinthians 3:18; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9)
If we don’t know Who’s we are, we will follow anyone who’s willing to lead… maybe even to our very own destruction. (Galatians 3:2)
If we don’t know Who’s we are, we cannot even begin to love Jesus… let alone, all the “whoevers” He places in our stories. (Matthew 22:37-39; John 3:16; 1 John 4:7-12)
Yes… may we all seek to know who and Who’s we are… Who it is we follow – so, we don’t become slaves again to the bondage Jesus freed us from on that tree… bondage to fear… bondage to ourselves. (Romans 8:15)
Since, you remember well how we first had to identify ourselves as sinners before we were ever able to see the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ’s death on that Cross and choose to believe in Him for our own salvation and path to God. And how, at that point, we – in all ways spiritually – also died and have now, and forevermore, became identified with Jesus’ death and Resurrection Life on our behalf. (Ephesians 2:1-5)
And honestly, if you now, in this same way, belong to Christ… living like you don’t will never work. (Double negative, and all!) Living out our identity through the world’s created things will never fulfill you because you were created to be fulfilled by HIM. Simply put… He loves you too much to allow any of these labels to be your true identity.
Put even more simply… He also loves you enough to crush them.
So, can we look at WHO we are really… at just who He knows you and me to be… the exact IDENTITY that was purchased on that tree???
In Christ, we…
Are free from all condemnation; have a mind controlled by The Spirit of God; are full of life and peace; are dead (!) to sin; are the dwelling place of The Holy Spirit; are the children of God; are heirs of God; are co-heirs with Jesus Christ; are more than conquerors; are called according to the purposes of God; are predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ; are justified and glorified before a Holy God; are graciously given all things; are chosen; are never divided from the love of Christ. (Romans 8)
“…have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)
“…by grace… have been saved through faith. And this is not [our] own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
“…have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)
“…have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God…” (Colossians 3:1-3)
“In Him… live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
“…were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.” (1 Corinthians 6:17-20)
“…in Christ, [are] a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“…are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
“…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11)
“…for freedom…Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
“…[have been] given…everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
“… brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, [should]… offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Why in the world would we ever want our old, spiritually dead, enslaved “selves” back? More importantly, why wouldn’t we do anything possible to take hold of the new, free identity purchased for and promised to us?! Why would we want to hold on to a story that death has such a hold on, when we can take hold of the story that The Life Giver destroyed death for? Because, we’ve got a choice, you know? We can believe our own worn out, played out, stressed out, destructive stories… or, by faith in His completed work on that cross, we can believe that we have been brought into God’s very own Kingdom… into God’s very own Story, and that our identity is now, always and forever, for His very Own… for bringing Him glory while we live out our own story.
Fellow Story Teller… I pray you receive the courage and faith to stop believing you are something you’re not and start believing on the One Who thinks of YOU as HIS.
Father, may we all, by your mercy and grace, finally meet the who we are, as we stare into the Radiant Face of Who’s we are, declaring with one voice, that In YOU we begin, we stand, we end… and, In You, is where we find our story and give You ALL the glory.