Who are you in light of the Father’s eyes? From where or whom do you draw your true identity? We often search for identity or significance in our social status, reputation and achievements apart from God. Amid the emptiness of this quest for identity, we’re enticed to fill the void with just about anything – past or current struggles, hobbies or a career. It’s common, even trendy, to think and actually believe these imprints or constructed words of identity define us.
Our identity is to be found in three callings: child, disciple and ambassador. Initially, we enter into our God-given identity as a child of God by responding to faith in Christ. Just like as a child hopefully matures into adulthood with additional responsibilities and freedom, we likewise grow up into Christ as His disciple and further mature as His ambassador. A proper understanding of our true selves is only formed by looking at the life of Christ.
By responding to faith in Christ, our identity in Christ begins as a child of God:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6
How grand to be created in the image of God and as His child to reflect His holy character!
This belief reveals itself where we place our trust, hope and rest in search for an identity and within our allegiance in daily life. We never find the deepest rest that will sustain us with abiding fulfillment in any area of life, outside of our identity in Christ. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit helps us to walk out our trust to assess our misplaced expectations.
In addition to our identity as a son or daughter, we have the opportunity and obligation to grow as His disciple. “And he said to all, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23-25). In our search for identity is a call to follow Christ and therefore to deny false individualities. For in this pursuit of obedience as imitators of Christ, the Holy Spirit helps us to see the unredeemed parts of ourselves in and through the spiritual disciplines of honest prayer, allowing the Word to read us, frequent worship and authentic biblical community.
In addition to a child and disciple, our identity also matures in the joy of being co-workers with Christ, as His ambassador:
All of this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
Discipleship necessitates each point with our identity in Christ as a child of God, a disciple and ambassador, which develops and builds inside each other rather than at the cost of one another. Our identity in Christ calls forth a life of holiness within these three points of discipleship; we see a call to wholeness and fullness of life.
…We always live out of some kind of identity, and the identities we assign ourselves powerfully influence our response to life. As people pursue the process of lifelong change, they need to live out of a gospel identity. Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands