“If anyone is in Christ . . the old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV.
Difficulties can confuse your sense of identity; grace restores it.
My thoughts and comments today are about “identity confusion.”
As a teen, I remember my Dad often reminding me, “Remember, you are a Randolph.” He certainly had no intention of elevating our family name above others; socially and financially, we were a middle class family at best. His clear intent was that I remember in my conversations and conduct the responsibility I had to honor the name we shared. My Dad wanted me to not be confused about my identity, nor irresponsible toward it.
Occasionally, anyone can “forget” who they are. In words spoken or actions unbecoming, a person can say and do what is uncharacteristic. Those moments make you wonder to yourself, “Who am I really?” Disappointments and difficulties can confuse your own sense of identity, but humility and confession release grace and forgiveness that restore who God made you to be, in Christ. We are each painfully aware of our own failings and foibles, and wrongly assume they, or the opinions of others, or the accusations of the Accuser, define who we really are, but they alone do not define you or me.
You are made in the image and likeness of God however diminished that may sometimes become. The Bible proclaims, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God . . chose them to become like His Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NLT.
God’s Word and His Spirit within you affirm you are made in His image and likeness. “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” Him we preach . . teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man [mature] in Christ . . Till we all come to . . the knowledge of the Son of God, to a [mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Colossians 1:28-29/Ephesians 4:13 NKJV. In Christ, yours and my destiny are sure.
God and His Word are where you begin. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” See 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV. Stay true to the truth. Consider how this works in your spiritual life. The objective of the devil, your adversary, is to make you doubt God; in doing so, his tactic is to make you unsure of your true identity in Christ. Read 1 Peter 5:8-11 NKJV/2 Corinthians 2:11 NIV. Identity confusion is not something new; it is as old as human history.
Many people mis-identify themselves, or allow others to do so, by inaccurate comparisons. Your true identity is in your potential, not your history; your knowledge and wisdom, not your education; who you are, not what you do; your stewardship of things, not your ownership of them; and most importantly, who you are in Christ, not in and of yourself. You cannot really know who you are until you understand who Christ declares you to be.
In his adult years, Don, my life-long friend, legally changed his name. Emigrating from Greece years earlier, his father and uncles anglicized their Greek surname. Choosing to lay aside the name he had known all his life, he reclaimed his father’s surname to honor him and to choose to be who he was supposed to have been. Don fully embraced his heritage and its cultural identity. In Christ, you find your true identity – liberating and empowering.
As an Angel struggled with him, Jacob was asked, “What is your name?” Read Genesis 32:24-31 NKJV. His name, Jacob, meant “supplanter, deceiver,” correctly describing who he had been and even what he had done, but not predicting who he was destined to become. God corrected Jacob’s identity confusion; “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for [as a prince] you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Vs. 28 NKJV. In Christ, you are more than you ever could have been.
”It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption . . If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV/2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV. “In Christ!” What a place to be.
My prayer for you today is that you never forget all that you are in Christ Jesus.