The search for identity envelops the heart of men and women today.
And the world has cooked up some answers for us – through personality tests and the like. They attempt to give you a description of who you are and why you do things the way you do.
Others label their identities based on their career, skill set, and what experiences and knowledge they’ve acquired have shaped them to become.
These are all secondary expressions of your identity.
The bible tells us that “God created man in His own image.“
Despite the fall of man, the loss of glory and the God-like image formed in man at creation, God still had us in mind. He didn’t want mankind to keep wearing that distorted identity.
So He did something more… which we’ll discuss soon.
You can look for an identity in other things, but followers of Jesus are called to find “Your” identity in Him.
Conformed To His Image
In Genesis 1: 26, “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion...” Unlike other creations, God created man to be more like Him so He could fellowship with man.
But sadly, when man chose to obey the devil in the garden of Eden, he lost that nature of God. Man lost the God-like identity. No wonder he went into hiding when God came in the cool of the day, as He did at other times, to fellowship with him.
Throughout the old testament, they sacrificed Lambs to atone for the sins of man – so he can have access to fellowship with God. But those animal sacrifices were never enough.
Then Jesus came. He offered Himself as a living sacrifice so that whoever believes in Him and receives the new life He gives will have that essence of the image of God re-instated. That man no longer lives for self or as a slave to the corruption in this world; he now lives a new life in Christ.
No wonder Paul the apostle, after his life-transforming encounter on the way to Damascus, that led to his conversion, wrote in the epistle to the Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2: 20)
I live yet not I. That should be the confession of anyone who says he/she is a Child of God. Your character, thoughts, actions, and lifestyle, should all be conformed to the image of Christ.
If someone wants to know more about Jesus – his lifestyle, love, faithfulness, fervency, gentleness… can you tell him/her “He looks like me?” If you do, can your life compel them to know and surrender to your Jesus? Or will they spit out and turn the other way, refusing to associate with anyone that looks like you?
“God made us who we are so that we might proclaim the excellency of his freedom in choosing us. The excellency of his grace in pitying us. The excellencies of his authority and power in possessing us. The excellencies of his worth and purity in making us holy.
In other words, he has given us our identity in order that his identity might be proclaimed through us. God made us who we are so we could make known who he is. Our identity is for the sake of making known his identity. The meaning of our identity is that the excellency of God be seen in us.”
Steps To Identifying And Living Your Identity
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And like we emphasized earlier, sin makes a man lose his true identity. To reclaim that God-like identity of righteousness, dominion and fruitfulness, you must REPENT – turn away from sin, ask Jesus to forgive and cleanse you… then go and sin no more.
Have you seen a potter mould a pot from clay? The clay lies in the potter’s hands, in full surrender, as the he moulds it into whatever shape he/she desires. That’s how we ought to be in the hands of God. Like Jeremiah 64: 8 says, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.“
Surrender your all to God – desires, ambition, skills, passion, dreams – put them into God’s hands and watch what He will make of your life.
One thing that made Paul an exceptional son and servant of God was that he had an insatiable hunger to know God. After his roadside encounter, he stayed 3 days without food and water, pressing more and more into the knowledge of God…
Your true identity starts with knowing God. Not just a head knowledge, but a heart knowledge that brings transformation. You “experience” the person of Jesus in your life. Just like a pilot can’t be truly qualified just by reading about what an aeroplane looks like. He has to really get into it and fly it. You can’t just profess to KNOW Jesus by simply Church attendance or coming from a Christian family. You have to know Him experientially.
“But we all, with open faces beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3: 18)
We are Christians because we find our identity, life, and purpose in Christ. We are evangelical because we believe the gospel and esteem it as the great central truth of God’s revelation to men.”— Paul WasherIf our identity is in our work, rather than Christ, success will go to our heads, and failure will go to our hearts. – Timothy Keller