Everyone needs to know who they are. Without knowing who you are, you will not be successful. You’ll spend most of your life still trying to find your identity. More than that, if you don’t know your identity, you won’t act like the person you’re supposed to be.
Identity is the foundation of our whole lives. We can search for years and years before we figure out who we really are. It’s hard to be comfortable in your own skin when you don’t know your identity.
So it’s even more important that those who follow Jesus, whose lives have been completely changed, know who they are in Christ. If we don’t know our identity in Jesus, we will spend most of our walk with him trying to be what we already are.
Christians who don’t realize their full identity in Christ bang their head against the wall of temptation and sin. Over and over they find themselves locked in a mortal battle with an enemy Jesus has already defeated.
As we embark on a study of the identity we have in Jesus Christ, I hope that you will not only learn your identity in Christ, but you will embrace it and live like what Jesus already has declared you to be.
A Sneak Peek at Identity
The New Testament says so much about our identity in Christ that it’s hard for me to put it in one blog post. I’ve decided to split it up into six. But I want you to know what you’re in for. I split the individual identities in Christ into four categories.
The first category we will cover is images of conversion. This has to do with how Jesus has changed our lives forever and what these images mean to us. They show us how we have changed in Christ and are fundamentally different than we used to be in our old lives before we met him.
The second category falls under a change in perspective. Each one of these explanations of identity in Christ shows how we now are different people and we operate in different ways. They emphasize how different we are from the world around us.
The change Jesus made in us is so significant that we don’t even look like the people we used to. This doesn’t mean that we don’t retain anything from before we met Christ. But it does mean we act a whole lot different than we ever did.
Each of these show how we are representative of Jesus Christ now. We live differently than the world and we act in different ways. Now that we are Christ’s representatives in this world, these qualities greatly affect our witness in the world and our lifestyle.
The third category of our changed identity is a new status. The discussions on these changes in our identity focus on a brand-new understanding of our place in God’s kingdom and family.
God has included us in a new inheritance and this changes how we see ourselves to agree with what God declares of us and how he sees us. This changes everything about our destiny. We are no longer condemned to God’s judgment and eternal death. Now we’re heading for a glorious destiny.
The final category of our identity in Christ declares the blessing we receive from him at salvation carrying on through in our walk with God. This category talks about our spiritual blessings received in Christ, our privilege to be his temples, exactly what he does in saving us, and how he is using us in the world today.
I’m excited to talk about our identity in Christ because I believe it is the reason most Christians do not advance toward holiness. Not knowing identity in Christ keeps us from achieving the level of obedience that moves us forward in our walk with him.
The Crucial Component
What specifically holds us back in our walk with him? It’s not only not knowing our true identity in Christ and practicing what we know to be true of ourselves in our lives. It’s much more than that.
If we could only understand with our minds what Jesus thinks of us, we would advance by light years in following him. There would be no more worrying about our salvation, temptation, sin, and a host of issues Christians rehash in their minds and hearts.
The mind is the battlefield for holiness, and knowing who we are in Christ can win that battle. This is one of the reasons one of the pieces of the Armor of God is the helmet of salvation. Our minds are not protected as we face the devil in battle.
He continues to question our faith in Christ, our commitment to the gospel, and our understanding of who Jesus says we are. When we are unclear on our identity in Christ, we cannot use it in the everyday battles we face.
Protecting our understanding and application of our true identity in Christ gives us the fortitude to fight and win every battle we face. It is locking in our mind who we are in Christ that gives us the upper hand.
When we clearly understand who we are in Christ, we don’t give up ground to the enemy, to temptation, to our fleshly desires, and to anything else that hinders us. We listen to the Holy Spirit and respond with obedience.
Changing Our Nature
Jesus changes us from the inside out, saves us, and sets us on this new path in him. But the change is so deep, so all-encompassing, that we really understand exactly what happens in our salvation. More than that, as we grow in Christ, become sanctified or made holy in him, it changes everything about us.
Jesus changes who we are, are very identity, when he sets us on this path. The old nature that we had, the old understandings we had, the old desires we had, are made new in Christ. Identity is at the core of our being. When he changes that, he changes us.
But if we don’t have a clear understanding of the deep changes Jesus has made, how he has transformed us, we easily go back to the old identity, the old self, and the old ways. When we don’t see ourselves the way he sees us, we revert to our worldly ways because we live in the environment of the world.
It’s when we truly understand who we are in Christ that we can stave off temptation and worldly desires. This is when we can be who Jesus declares us to be. When we know we’re different than the world, we act differently than the world does.
What we know about ourselves changes how we think, speak, and act. If I think that I grew up on the streets, not knowing that I was adopted and my parents were royalty, I act like a homeless vagabond. I learn my identity from others on the street instead of from the King who is my true father.
We must learn of our identity in Christ because it changes our thinking processes. We think like Jesus instead of the world. We speak life into our situation and those around us. And we reach out to be Jesus’ hands and feet, to represent him in this world.
One of the main contentions people in the world have against Christians is that they are hypocrites. This is because we can get our identity in Christ in our heads, but it doesn’t extend to our hearts. We don’t truly demonstrate our new identity in Christ regularly.
But knowing who we are in him gives us the ability to be more consistent with who we truly are. Sure, we will stumble from time to time, but when we walk with Jesus knowing who we are, we represent him better in this world.
As we embark on this series about identity in Christ and how it changes the way we live our lives for him in this world, I hope you enjoy our study and learn who you are in Christ. But even more than that, I hope you practice your identity in Christ in front of everyone you know.
It does us no good to know what the Bible says about us and how Jesus looks at us if we don’t live out our knowledge. It must be both a head and heart knowledge. As we begin this look into true identity, I pray that the Holy Spirit would place deep in your mind and heart these truths about who you are.