“Identity produces clarity.” Afshin Ziafat
Who do you say you are?
What determines your identity?
It’s a hot topic right now and I think it is an important one. How you understand and define yourself helps clarify how you live your life.
I recently heard someone talk about how defining himself as a flosser changed his life. He did not like to floss his teeth but knew how important it was. He decided to become the kind of person who flosses every day. Over time, it helped redefine who he was. He joked about it and said, "The reason we have a good marriage with 6 kids is because I floss." He adds it is really not too far from the truth though because that little consistent thing of flossing helped him see himself as a person who does hard things. It helped him be discipled and intentional about other things that are even more important. How we think of ourselves matters.*
There are many ways to think about ourselves. I would like to highlight 4 ways our faith in God can define us.
1. You are made by God.
“All things are made through him, and without him was not any thing that was made.” (Jn 1:3)
On Ash Wednesday, the church gathers in worship to remember who we are: Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. It is God who fashioned us from dust and gave us life and breath. (Gen 2:7) Life is fragile. We all have a limited number of days.
Psalm 103 tells us:
“For [the Lord] knows how we are made; he remembers that we are dust. As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish life a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him.” (v14-17)
There is a great freedom that comes in realizing your humanity. It changes your perspective and approach to life. While we are but dust, the steadfast love of the Lord is everlasting.
Who are you? You are one made by God.
2. You belong to God.
“It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people.” (Ps 100:3)
Throughout scripture we are reminded that we belong to God.
“But thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not be fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” (Isa 43:1)
I am continually amazed by the fact that God interacts with us personally. He has made each of us uniquely and calls us individually by name. He tells us, “You are mine.”
Who are you? You are one who belongs to God.
3. You are a beloved son or daughter of God.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1Jn 3:1)
We not only belong to God. He is our Father. (Gal 3:26, Rom 8:16) He guides us, supports us, and cares for us as only a good father can. No matter what - God our Father is there, for us, and loves us.
Who are you? You are a child of God, greatly loved by your Father.
4. You are a friend of God.
“I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you.” (John 15:15,16)
For Jesus, friendship is the ultimate relationship with God. In the New Testament, a friend is known as one who loves. One of the most common verbs for love in Greek is phileo, the Greek word for friend. As Jesus life on earth was coming to an end, he gathered his disciples together. He washed their feet and promised to remain with them by sending the Holy Spirit. And then, he shares something amazing. He says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends… I call you friends.” Jesus is going to lay down his life for them.
This is so personal. As his friend, we are invited to be with. We can know him. We can listen to him. We can learn what’s in his heart. We can love him. We can be with him. As his friend, we are never alone. Jesus is with us
Who are you? You are a friend of Jesus.
You are made by God.
You belong to God.
You are a child of God.
You are a friend of God.
You are deeply loved God.
Let this bring clarity and confidence. Let this quiet, and calm your soul. Let who you are shape how you live. You can live in love, knowing you are loved.
“An identity grounded in God would mean that when we think of who we are, the first thing that would come to mind is our status as someone who is deeply loved by God.”
*Craig Groeschel, Ep 90, The Paula Faris Faith and Calling Podcast