I watched a young man at the mall as he walked in small circles, talking on his phone. Trying to find his wife? Probably. He was a big man. Massive wooly beard. Broad shoulders. An imposing aura surrounded him. Not a man you’d want to cross. That’s how I supposed he would identify himself.
As I walked on past him, I heard a child’s excited voice. I spotted her; she was about two years old, maybe younger, and running as fast as her little legs would carry her.
“Daddy!” She shrieked and giggled, grinning ear to ear. Mom followed close behind, laughing and anticipating the scene that would develop. I turned back to watch as the laughing child made a bee-line for the imposing big guy. By the time she reached him, he was on his knees on the floor waiting to embrace her with both arms, her face buried in his bushy beard.
I guess I had him wrong. Now there, I concluded, is a man who knows who he is. Identity. He’s a daddy. Sure, he’s many other things as well, but one thing’s for sure: He’s got “daddy” down good.
Identity. I was captured by the scene because it reminded me that identity is one of the concepts I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, praying about it, and searching the Scriptures to build a more solid foundation for my grasp on my identity in Christ. To affirm my relationship with Him.
I’ve been reading Black Belt Discipleship by Gino Mingo, a California pastor, and he focuses a lot on the subject of identity, how a Christian sees himself or defines himself. Mingo’s wife Michelle contributed a chapter titled “Spiritual Authority in Discipleship.”
She writes, “The mind-boggling authority that Jesus walked in was because He was secure in His identity. His identity wasn’t found in His gender as a man.” Or, she goes on to say, His race, or His career as a carpenter, or His role of religious leader.
Fortunately for us today, there are scores of Scriptures to define the identity of a follower of Christ. A little online research produced long lists that took me to the Bible. I’m sharing only a few of the countless verses which explain what it means to be in relationship with Christ.
- I am chosen. “…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…” (Ephesians 1:4).
- I am created. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
- I am a child of God. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
- I am a co-heir with Christ. “…and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17).
- I am called. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
- I am a citizen of heaven. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
- I am confident. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
- I am a conqueror. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
And, friends, those are only the C-words! Imagine how many more words God uses to define who we are in Him.
I plan to continue seeking, reading, and absorbing the Scriptures that teach me about my true identity – my identity in Christ. But I’ve fine-tuned my plan. I want to follow Jesus’ example more closely. How did He affirm His own identity?
The bottom line according to Michelle Mingo: “Jesus’ identity was firmly rooted in His deep and abiding relationship with his Father. He spent time with His Father. He continually drew away to pray – to get alone with his Father. He needed the Father’s presence, voice, guidance, and leading.”