Those are the positive words I or others might use. But there are other words, words that attempt to define me by my insecurities, shame, and shortcomings, words rarely spoken out loud but resounding in my heart nonetheless: boring, ugly, incapable, ridiculous.
There are many ways we can describe who we are. There are many things we can believe define us. But we each have an identity that supersedes all these other identifiers. An identity that defines us not by our position or status, not by others’ opinions of us, not by our accomplishments or failures, not even by our own personalities and passions.
Our identity in Christ.
Maybe like me, you’ve grown up hearing about your identity in Christ. (And if you haven’t, that’s okay; you’re about to!) How you are a precious daughter of the Most High King; how you are loved by your Heavenly Father; how you are forgiven and free, chosen and wanted, made new and so much more.
These are all true. So, so, so true.
But sometimes, the truth of them doesn’t seem to stick to our hearts as much as all those other labels.
We hear the words, but they don’t seem real. Not as real as the job title, or the relationship status, or the cutting words of others, or all the ways I could list that I’m not good enough.
We hear the words, that our identity is in Christ. We hear the words that describe this identity. But what does it really mean that our identity is in Christ?
These words are the key words here. They’re the words that give this identity power over all the others, they’re the words that prove this one true and the others false, they’re the words that make it a reality for us, causing it not only to stick to our hearts, but transform our lives.
So let’s take a look at what it means that our identity is in Christ:
Your Identity is Defined by Christ
We each were created to have relationship with God who loves us, but our sin causes separation between us and God. Yet in His love, God sent Jesus to save us from sin and make a way for that relationship to be restored.
When He died on the cross, Jesus took our sin upon Himself and suffered the punishment in our place. And when He rose from the grave, He defeated sin and death so it would no longer have to enslave us.
So when we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He shares His identity of son with us: one who has right relationship with the Father (righteousness), who has a place at His table and in His heart, who can trust in Him for care and provision, who can approach Him with confidence to ask for help, wisdom, and strength, who is empowered to victoriously walk in obedience to Him, and who can delight in Him and know He delights in us.
Our identity being defined by Christ means we can’t find our true worth and significance apart from His love. It means we won’t find wholeness or purpose outside of a love relationship with Jesus.
Your Identity is Secure in Christ
Failures in our efforts, rejections from others, regrets of the past, shame we carry, the feelings and emotions we experience, our faults and weaknesses, even the sin we at times commit cannot change our identity in Christ.
When we repent of our sin and trust in Jesus as Savior, we are given new life as children of God. And this new life, this new identity, is secure in Christ.
The word “hidden” used in Colossians 3:3 comes from the Greek word krupto, which means “to cover, conceal, keep secret.”
Our life is covered with Christ, safe from the punishment, condemnation, and tarnishing of sin. Our identity as children of God is tucked so deeply into Him, like a cherished treasure, that we needn’t fear anything being able to steal it away.
This includes mess-ups and mistakes, failings and faults, let-downs and the less-than-perfect.
Because Jesus has secured our identity, we don’t have to earn it. Like our salvation, it is a free gift from God, a work He does in us by His Spirit.
Your Identity is a Reflection of Christ
New identity and new character go hand-in-hand. In Christ, we are already chosen and cherished, forgiven and free, righteous and holy. With this identity in Christ, we are called to live out character that reflects Christ.
If we keep living in our old nature, following old patterns of thinking and behaving, as if that is who we are, it will be difficult for the truth of our new identity in Christ to take root in our hearts.
But if through the power of the Holy Spirit, we cultivate new thoughts and attitudes and habits, we will begin to live as who we already are in Christ: righteous and holy.
Our identity is defined by Christ: we are sons and daughters of God. Our identity is secure in Christ: we don’t have to earn it or fear losing it. And our identity is a reflection of Christ: we are created and empowered to walk in Christ-likeness.