Knowing My Identity

Over this Thanksgiving weekend, I have been thinking about all the things that I am thankful for and how God has provided so much.   I am definitely thankful for my lovely wife, fantastic kids, extended family, food (pizza specifically), a warm home, friends, my new job, a close relationship with the Lord and so much more.  These can be seemingly common to many people.  However, I also have been thinking about how grateful I am that my identity as a person is in the Lord.

What do I mean by the word “identity”?  Well, Google defines identity as “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is”.   That’s a pretty bland way of describing what I am feeling and what I am grateful for.  When I think of my identity, I think of who I am as a man, what I stand for, my name and how I would be described by others.  Even better, I think about what God has to say about me, who I am in His eyes and the Godly man He has called me to be.

Let’s take a look at what the Lord has to say in the Bible about us and our identity in Him:

  • I am a child of God – John 1:12
  • I am the light of the world – Matthew 5:14
  • I am strong and courageous – Joshua 1:9
  • I am a son of God; God is spiritually my Father – Romans 8:14-15, Galatians 3:26 and 4:6
  • Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother – Hebrews 2:11
  • I am righteous and holy – Ephesians 4:24
  • I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence – Ephesians 3:12
  • I am a new creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • I am free forever from condemnation – Romans 8:1
  • I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit – John 15:16
  • I am joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him – Romans 8:17
  • I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved – Colossians 3:12 and Thessalonians 1:4
  • I am an enemy of the devil – 1 Peter 2:11
  • I am a son of light and not of darkness – 1 Thessalonians 5:5
  • I am a temple – a dwelling place – of God. His Spirit and His life dwell in me –                  1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19
  • I have been justified – completely forgiven and made righteous – Romans 5:1

Could it not be any more clear how much the Lord loves and cares for us?   Is there any doubt about what He thinks of us?  If the answer is so clear, then why do we have such a hard time believing that these verses are real and true?

I think we need to ask ourselves on a regular basis where we are seeking our validation and identity.  Is it from the world that we search for our answers or is it from God?   Do wealth, power, success and fame determine our identity or is it in our character built by the Lord over time?  I think we know the answers to all of these questions on the surface, but truly knowing in our hearts can be a different story.

So let’s talk about receiving our identity from the Lord instead of the world.  How do we do this?  One way is to just ask Him.  During your quiet times with the Lord, try asking Him these questions:

  • What do you think of me Lord?
  • What do you see in me?
  • What is my identity?
  • Who am I called to be?

If you don’t receive an answer right away, stay with it.  Come back to it later and be persistent.  He loves you and wants you to know how special you are to Him.  Seek and you shall find.

Part of my prayer life each morning is to ask God to speak to my identity.  I want to know who I am in Him each day.  He answers this prayer by speaking directly into my heart, through other people, through music, books, podcasts, nature and more.  Knowing who I am allows me to be true, real and authentic in my relationships and activities.  I can be who I truly am in the Lord and not worry about what others think.  I can walk free and without fear throughout my day.  Knowing He is with me and that I get my validation and identify through Him allows me to be my true self.

Having this knowledge of who I am and who He made me to be is better than gold.  With this knowledge comes a sense of peace, comfort and confidence for anything that comes my way in my life.  The confidence is not of my power, but only received through Him.  For all of this, I am grateful and thankful this day.

Let me leave you with this wonderful song sung by Hillsong called “Who You say I am”.  This song was played at our church service this past Sunday morning, and it spoke directly into my soul.  The Spirit of God reigned down upon me like the rays of the sun as this song played.  I felt His love encompass me as a true Son and Child of God.

https://youtu.be/lKw6uqtGFfo

Just know that we can all have this connection and identity in the Lord.  Just ask Him for it.  He wants to reach out to you and for you to reach out to Him.  Take the risk.  You won’t regret it!

A Narrative Life

The narrative of my life contains many smaller stories, ones of trauma from abuse to stories of joy including my path to salvation. It is the intertwining of these stories that continue to develop my character, influence my faults, and drive my passions; all of this works together to make me who I am.

The narrative of my life changed Palm Sunday 2014, standing in a Sunday morning service. The congregation was singing “Great Are You Lord, ” and the Holy Spirit filled me and brought me to tears of a bawling baby. This moment is the point I share with people that the Lord hit me with a board and woke me from my slumber of passiveness. On this day, I turned from being a self-destructive and self-absorbed person to someone wanting to spread the word and wake up other passive men. At this point, I began to focus more on what the Father was speaking to me on a daily basis through his word and prayer.

It is amazing what God can do with you when you are not fighting to have your way or manipulating him into giving you your way. The redemption of Palm Sunday was a triumph, but it followed a day of a selfish choice just two years earlier. It was July 21, 2012, my birthday, and I was tired of being passed over for promotions, being used by others, and beyond frustrated with life. It is on this day I decided I was going to make myself successful, by not caring for people and using them to get what I wanted and ultimately to win. I was going to be the best, not allowing anyone to stand in my way, lest destruction. Remembering my father’s example, I decided I would out work them, and I would use my skill of reading people so that I could manipulate them. If there was nothing they could do for me, I would throw them aside to find the next person that could. There was no limit to what I would do to get there, the only thing that mattered was winning.

This way of life was working until I got used myself, and I had to face how I felt. When the house of cards you have built up by manipulating people and using them against each other starts to crumble, it can be earth shattering to your soul. At this moment you realize that all of the “victories” were empty and ultimately the person you were using was yourself. When this all went down, and I was sitting shocked and scared of how everything would work out. I realized I had nothing, no one to talk to, no one to share with, and I had to face a disastrous outcome alone. As the weekend approached I had decided by Monday, I had to find a way out. Do I run away and disappear or stand and face what I had coming to me. Thankfully at this time, Palm Sunday and the redemption of the Father came along.

God, The Father, is there for all of us, his love and compassion knows no bounds. He never identifies a point that you are not worth fighting for and he will always welcome you with open arms. I have played the part of a prodigal son, living a reckless life and on Palm Sunday 2014 my Holy Father welcomed me with open arms and helped add another chapter to the narrative of my life.