As we struggle to find our identity, we eventually stumble upon the realization that the key to figuring out who we are, is tied to our identity in Christ. Paul tells us “in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).”
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I love the Contemporary English translation of the verse: “he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are.” That means everything we are, is because of God.
The phrase “identity in Christ” is common in Christian circles but what does it really mean? Does it mean that I’m no longer a unique individual? If my identity is “in Christ”, do I stop being me? Why is identity such a big deal? Does it matter who I am?
Before we start asking all those hard questions, let’s figure out what “my identity in Christ” means.
Our identity is what identifies us and sets us apart, and includes those we identify with. A popular saying in Jamaica is, “show me yuh company and me tell yuh who yuh be”. In other words, show me who you associate with and I will tell you the kind of person you are. The persons we choose to spend our time with have a lot to say about our character.
Related: How to Tell Someone’s Character
When we say we identify with Christ, it means we seek to emulate Him. Remember those attributes of God? It means we try to imitate them. Of course, this is not possible in all cases because some attributes belong solely to God.
For example, only God is infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. But we can spend the rest of our lives learning to be faithful, holy, loving, merciful, gracious, truthful, righteous and good – with Christ’s help.
The idea of self pervades every aspect of our being. Our identity and sense of purpose are intricately linked. These in turn drive our actions. What we believe about ourselves (identity) have a huge impact on what we allow ourselves to do (action) and what we believe ourselves capable of achieving (purpose).
Let’s put it another way: when we know who we are, we understand what our purpose is and act in ways that reinforce what we believe about ourselves. If I believe I am forgiven, when the enemy comes and reminds me of my past I can claim 1 John 1:9. I know that as long as I confess my sin before God, He will forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
The best way to develop a personal identity based on what God says about us is to use Scripture as our knowledge bowl. The Bible is a practical book and has answers for almost any question you could ask. Now, it’s not Google so it won’t neatly order the results for you in descending order.
Instead, it will take time and effort on your part. Do you want to know how to be a better wife? The Bible offers many lessons both in expository text and through the examples of biblical couples.
Let’s use the current topic as an example and do a mini Identity in Christ Bible study.
I had a big shocker when I tried to use the concordance in my self-identity journey. Identity does not occur once in the King James or New King James versions of the Bible. My Strong’s Concordance doesn’t even have any words beginning with “i-d-e”. I mean, come on, is it that no Jew ever asked "Who am I?"
I realized I would have to dig a little deeper to seek the answers I needed. The New Living Translation had this to say on identity:
Their descendants became the seafaring peoples that spread out to various lands, each identified by its own language, clan, and national identity. Genesis 10:5
These were the descendants of Ham, identified by clan, language, territory, and national identity. Genesis 10:20
These were the descendants of Shem, identified by clan, language, territory, and national identity. Genesis 10:31
These verses tell me that identity has to do with race, class and the country we live in. We identify with the people we have things in common with. As God-girls, that means we should identify with the body of Christ. Yes, they may come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Yes, we’re all different ages and have different ways of doing things…
But the fact that we’re all gather in one place (church) for the same reason (to worship God) says a lot about who we are. It says we all believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He died to save humanity – including us – from their sins.
[Joseph Reveals His Identity] Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Genesis 45:1
The second time they went, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, and they were introduced to Pharaoh. Acts 7:13
These verses tell us that God created in each of us the desire to be known. The earthly connection we have with others is but a dim reflection of the connection we can have with God through Christ. The Heavenly Father sent His Son with the plan of salvation to restore the connection which existed before sin.
“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10
We have been claimed by an Almighty, Awesome God. It’s not that we have done anything worthwhile, He claimed us simply because He loved us. First, He created us and then He redeemed us from sin. It’s from this place, as members of God’s family, that we can now dig into the personal claims integral to our identity in Christ.
You may be wondering what God says about you. The Bible has a lot to say about who we are in Christ. It tells us we are:
Here are some more verses for you to ponder and meditate on as you learn more about who we are in Christ (download the free printable so you can read it later).
Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) Ephesians 2:5
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 1 Corinthians 12:27
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light 1 Peter 2:9
For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 14:2
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:7-9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1 John 3:1
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:17
I hope this mini-series was helpful in helping you to figure out who you are in Christ. My prayer is that you will learn to rest in Him as you continue to grow in grace and truth. Download the free ‘My Identity in Christ’ pdf with these verses to remind you what God sees when He looks at you.
How does knowing your identity in Christ affect the way you act? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.