Sometimes I like to ask people, “Who are you?” It’s interesting to hear what they say. Some give their name … others give their occupation. Another answer is a role the person fills in their family or organization. Not many share their real identity, what makes them, them…uniquely, the one deep inside.
I have a close friend who years ago moved out of a lesbian lifestyle and into a walk with God. She tells her story, “If you had asked me if I was born gay, I would have given you a resounding ‘yes.’ Now, I realize I was not born gay, and I am not defined by the fact that I lived as a homosexual. When I came to God, He redefined me as a follower of Christ.”
Often we define ourselves by a lifestyle, a role we play, or some of our personal characteristics. Whether these definitions are joyful or painful, good or bad, represent success or failure … they are comfort zones. And even when we come to Jesus, we might be reluctant to let go of them.
People being in or coming from a homosexual lifestyle might consider the gay world a safe place. People caught in a workaholic mode base their worth on their own accomplishments and success. Being a mother, a church leader, an indispensable worker, a good friend … we feel more in control as we develop our earthly identity. But when we come to Jesus, it is vital to let go of those identities and come to recognize who we are in Christ.
You see, we have only 2 identity options. Our identity is based on who we are under our own power and personality. Or our identity comes from who Christ is and what He has done for us, then how we respond to that. The former has lots of limitations and is heavily weighted by our inadequacies, failures, and fears. The latter has unlimited potential, opportunity, and joy. A pretty easy choice I would say.
Today, even though you may still be struggling with old habits, be encouraged to let go of the old definitions and know that your most important identity is in Christ. Take a paper and make 3 columns: one titled “old Identity,” the next “new identity,” and third, “what would I believe differently about myself if I believed I were this new person?” write in 5 elements of the old identity and fill in the next 2 columns for each. You are a new creation! God has a great plan for your life and He is worthy of your trust.
Dear Mighty Creator of Everything, I thank You for transforming me into a new creation when I became a follower of Christ. I still tend to see myself as “the old me.” Please help me to see myself through Your eyes – cleansed and made new. The more I believe it, the more I will practice it, and the more I practice, the more I believe. And help me remember that no matter what other roles I play in life, my number one identity is always “a follower of Christ.” I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One I follow, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17