“If you’re content to be yourself, your life will count for plenty.” Matthew 23:12 The Message

“Spiritual growth and development rests upon the holy potential God offers you.”

My thoughts today are about “identity.”

When you consider the issue of personal identity, there are three possible factors – the person you present yourself to be; that’s image – the person other people believe you to be; that’s reputation – and the person that God knows you to be; that’s identity. Identity is not about externals and posturing; identity is about your inner life, about character, spiritual integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness. See Psalm 15:1-5/24:3-6 NKJV. The latter is the most important because God’s opinion matters most and that’s where you truly discover who God means you to be and who you can fully become. What others believe about you is of lesser importance, except to your sense of well-being. It isn’t so bad when you are not sure of other people’s real identity but if unsure who you are, that’s a problem.

Know this; a healthy sense of identity is important. “If you’re content to be yourself, your life will count for plenty.” Matthew 23:12 The Message. A more familiar translation of Jesus’ words is: “Whoever exalts Himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Humble yourself and leave it to God and others to exalt you, if they choose.

Here’s the Bible’s advice: “Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3 NLT. God has an accurate knowledge of exactly who you are now and a correct understanding of the unimagined potential you have. You usually have an estimate only; so be honest with yourself and others. People seem inclined to some measure of the extreme, either creating a false exaggeration of their own importance or self-imposing a devalued estimation of themselves – neither of which would be accurate.

James, the early church leader and brother of Jesus, described people who are, “like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” James 1:23-24 NKJV. He described a person observing then forgetting the reflection they saw, because their reflection was without real regard for the amazing original God designed them to be. This verse always encourages me: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12 NKJV.  Power to become! That’s what God offers. That’s what I need; that’s what I want.

Everything about your journey of spiritual growth and development rests upon the holy potential God offers. It is not so much about who you are presently. Who and where you are now is just a place from which God begins your exciting journey to His image and likeness. See Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV/Romans 8:28-29/Colossians 3:8-10 NKJV. Image suggests appearance, which is outward resemblance; likeness suggests attributes, which are inward realities. Being a copy of anyone else never works out very well. Don’t settle for being a cheap copy of anyone or anything rather than the original God made. It takes courage to be yourself. Be yourself, as God made you. God says you are “children of God, an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ.” Romans 8:16-17 NKJV. That’s why “your life will count for plenty.”

My prayer for you today is that you allow God alone to shape who you are becoming.