How to Discover Your True Identity in Jesus
Updated: Nov 3
“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalms 46:5 (NIV)
Who Are You? Or…Whose Are You?
Do you ever feel you are right smack dab in the middle of an identity crisis? While everyone around you is pursuing their passions and chasing their dreams, you’re just trying to make sense of who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing with your life. Right?
We’ve all attended those business and social gatherings where who we are and what we do are the hot topics of the evening. I am often awed by the careers people choose and the businesses others own. I know of one young, ambitious woman who, upon graduating from college, went to Israel and joined their army as a fighter!
It’s natural to assume the one questioning us is curious about what we do for a living. When we are asked who we are, most often we offer a short bio on where we were born, who our parents are, where we went to school, our marital status, where we work, and if we have any children.
But when was the last time you were asked, “Whose are you?” Hmm. That would be never.
Imagine asking a woman, upon meeting her the first time, “whose” she is, not “who” she is. You would most likely be greeted with a few choice expletives. In our modern society, women take pride in their independence. Most prefer to think of themselves as autonomous, not needing or belonging to anyone.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-” John 1:12 (NIV)
Perhaps, this is the reason the internet is bursting with personal development courses. Seeking to reach our full potential, we opt in to the “how-to” topics such as: breaking through obstacles to manifest your best life, increasing your confidence and self-esteem, discovering your hidden potential and mastering life through happiness, health and success.
Each promises success if we follow their step-by-step plan. In doing so, we will learn to believe in ourselves, identify our strengths and grow in self-confidence. There is nothing wrong with seeking improvement in areas in which we need some extra help; however, we risk becoming self-consumed if it is our primary focus.
Many of these personal development courses begin on the premise that if we want to reach our full potential, we must first learn to love ourselves. Or should we?
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
I’ve struggled at times with feeling the love of God. I know he loves me, but I don’t always feel warm and fuzzy inside. This, along with my home life growing up, led me to believe I had to earn both my earthly and heavenly father’s love. But the love of God is not based on our works. It’s a free gift, one that cannot be bought or earned. As we grow in the awareness of his love for us, we will soon discover our true identities as his children.
As children of God, the answer is not in learning how to love ourselves better. Instead, it’s in learning to live better. We do so by receiving the love of our Father. A natural response is to then learn to love others better. Seems a little less selfish, doesn’t it?
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
The Bible teaches us that our value comes from knowing we are God’s children. However, what do you do when you know you are God’s child but don’t fully comprehend your new identity? Consider these practical steps for how to discover your true identity in Christ.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
First, stop comparing yourself to others. When we fall into the comparison trap, we will label ourselves through our abilities and limitations rather than by our relationship with our Creator. If we focus on our personal weaknesses or shortcomings, we might end up feeling like a complete failure. When we compare our strengths and talents to the shortcomings of others, we risk becoming puffed up, resulting in a false sense of value based solely on our performance.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3 (NIV)
There are days each of us feels we don’t measure up to the world’s standards. It’s easy to get caught in the comparison trap when everyone around us seems, by outward appearance, to have it all together. The truth is, life can wreak havoc on our confidence level and land us smack-dab in the middle of a major crisis of identity.
In today’s economy, many people are settling for jobs far below their education, experience, and pay grade. Some are losing their careers as businesses are forced to shut down under the weight of a struggling economy.
For some, your family may be falling apart. Chances are you might be blaming yourself for circumstances beyond your control. Whether it’s illness in the family, infertility issues, singlehood for those longing to be married, or marriage woes for those wishing to be single, each has a major impact on what we believe about ourselves as women.
If you’re the mom of a prodigal or the wife of a husband who has walked away, self-doubt and shame lie to you, making you feel “less than” the other women around you. If you’re not careful, it’s natural to move towards self-blame, an absolute identity crusher.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1 (NIV)
Sure, it’s normal to question ourselves when we are scrambling to find the answers to why our child rebelled against the values we taught them or our spouse would rather be anywhere but at home. We convince ourselves this mess was preventable, if only we were better or smarter or prettier or skinnier.
You don’t have to be in a family crisis right now to be in an identity crisis. We all struggle against the social trends that tell us we must do “A, B, and C” if we will ever discover who we really are deep down inside.
That’s the problem with finding our identity in who we are and what we do. When we seek to find our value in what we bring to the table or allow others to determine our worth, we will always come up short. In a world of comparisons, we can usually find someone more talented, better educated, more successful, or of a higher tax bracket than us.
Believe You Are Chosen by God
Next. Know you are chosen by God. It’s important to believe what the Bible says about your identity as found in Jesus Christ. Remembering whose we are and that He chose us brings the entire picture into a better light.
When we acknowledge ourselves as God’s children and understand his great love for us, we embrace grace. We no longer feel trapped by our past choices, our upbringing or our social status. We are not manipulated into being someone we are not based on the voices around us or the one inside our heads. We can let all that go because we belong to Jesus. We are his priceless treasure.
If you’re the daughter of a prince or of a pauper, a corporate CEO or a church custodian, if you are in charge of your own business or the school PTA, none of it matters when it comes to your identity. You no longer need to stand on your personal merits or achievements. Your identity is found in Christ alone.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
I love the series, The Chosen. What a perfect name for this show. As I watched the episodes unfold, I sat mesmerized as the scales fell off the eyes of those whom Jesus called to follow him. No longer were they harlots, vagabonds, tax-collectors, or society’s outcasts. They were chosen by the Master. They were accepted. And they were necessary.
Jesus chose to reveal in them a marvelous transformation when they no longer were identified by their past choices and mistakes.
Never again would their worth be determined by others. Poor, rich, sinner, or saint. All who came to Jesus would be labeled, “His Chosen Ones.” The old labels didn’t fit anymore. If their family, friends, society, or even the disciples themselves, tried to reattach the old labels, they simply wouldn’t stick. A personal relationship with the Living God put an end to all that.
Just as Jesus called his disciples to identify with him, he calls us to do the same. Follow him. Serve him. Belong to him. In doing so, we are choosing to find our identity in him and in no other.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship though Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-” Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV)
Check out these 5 ways to know your identity!
Think and Act Like a Child of God
Finally, start thinking and acting like a child of God. Transformation takes place from the inside and reflects on the outside. How do you feel when you consider whose you are? Do you feel the weight of the world lifting off your shoulders? You should. This truth frees us to be everything God calls us to be because we are no longer held captive by other’s expectations and differing opinions.
Here’s a little word of caution, though. You will need to be patient with the process. It takes time to change old habits and mindsets. If we are going to believe and behave like a child of God, it will require us to renew our minds and align our beliefs with the truth as found in the word of God.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Finally, be encouraged as you reflect on this truth. You may not be the perfect mom or wife. You may not have graduated Magna Cum Laude or even finished high school. You may not have an impressive job title or an expensive car parked in the garage. But you belong to Jesus, the Creator and Savior of the world.
As you remain on this path of discovering your true identity as revealed in the Word of God and through his Spirit, you just might be able to take a few less self-improvement courses, or at least be less concerned about what others think of you.
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
As we learn to embrace who we are in Christ, we will no longer make a bolt for the nearest exit when asked “who” we are. Instead, we will hold our heads high as we boldly proclaim our true identities as daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
May we relish in the truth that we belong to you. It’s easy to take this for granted. We fall back into the habit of comparing ourselves to others. We feel we don’t measure up. We ask you to forgive us for forgetting our identity. Today, we gratefully praise you because we are your chosen vessels. May we glorify you. In Jesus’ name, we pray.
Beautiful Blessings, Dawn