Claim Your Identity
World chatter distorts the meaning of identity. We post and tweet claims such as, “I don’t eat meat” to put on a vegetarian identity. We’ve developed a new set of vocabulary to identify sexuality, sexual preferences and gender. We spout claims to be “in love with” a myriad of things from cars to coats to cash, inflating outward acquisitions and actions to be the measuring line for our identity.
The chatter blares in our ears and blurs our vision. We exchange things we do for who we are as we shout, “This is who I am!” while we point to our stuff and successes. We’ve trounced the distinguishing character of an individual; we’ve buried what’s at the core of our identity. What we eat, our sexuality and physical possessions reveal where our hearts are, they don’t change our internal design first formed from the dust of the ground and then given God’s breath of life.
We were created in God’s image for His glory and His purposes (Colossians 1:15-17). Genesis 1:26-31 reveals that we are made in God’s image and likeness so that we may rule. God blessed us and directed us to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. God ensured we had all we needed to enjoy life, in communion with Him.
Then…sin entered the world with just one bite.
I’ve been on a journey to more fully understand my identity in Christ. God is faithful! He continues to reveal truth to me as I study. My friends will tell you I passionately teach and share these revelations. A recurring soapbox chat relates to the plans and purposes God has for us. We love to quote Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We ruminate on the good things God has for us without dwelling on the contextual themes surrounding this promise.
Let’s back up to the beginning of chapter 29 to rediscover historical context. We read that the prophet Jeremiah sends a letter to the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people King Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Think on this! The people in exile are in captivity. The Israelites have a decision to make – whether they will heed the words of Jeremiah or listen to false prophets refuting God’s Word. Jeremiah prophesies their captivity will last for 70 years. He tells them the Lord Almighty wants them to settle in for the long haul – to marry and increase in number, to seek peace and prosperity of the city where they are exiled so they too will prosper.
Now, let’s take a look at verses 12 through 14 in the Voice Bible:
12 At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen.
13 You will look for Me intently, and you will find Me.
14 Yes, I will be found by you,” says the Eternal, “and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations where you’ve been scattered—all the places where I have driven you. I will bring you back to the land that is your rightful home.”
Did you catch that when God tells us of who He is and what He is going to do, He also calls us to respond to Him with specific actions? Our actions include calling out to God, praying, looking intently, and finding the God of restoration. Did you notice the focus of these actions? The focus is on God. So that’s where we’ll start, understanding our identity in Christ, with our focus on God.
As I searched the scriptures regarding identity, I put together a chart and made note of biblical references for each aspect I recorded. I tucked it away for several days, sensing I was missing something important. When I pulled it out again, I understood I had neglected to explore how I could claim these characteristics. When I pondered the list of “I am…” I began to see the potential for a prideful focus on self, as if I could claim these things in my own power. I dove back into each of the scriptures to record what God has done, knowing my identity has everything to do with who God is and what He has done for me.
The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. Isn’t that amazing! It all starts with Him. Call out for Him! Pray! Look intently for the One who is holy.