These last twelve months have been amazing. God is sooo good and I’ve learnt so much about who I am as a person and who I am in Christ. It’s been so amazing and joy-giving and freeing!
I’m one of those people with two sides – the quiet, sweet, and introverted, in-my-own-little-world side, and the funny, people-loving, energetic, bubbly side. Both are equally fine. The trouble comes when I try to be one or the other. I think I would see the extroverted people, and see my bubbly side, and try to match the two, when really, I’m not one of those crazily outgoing people.
For a year or two leading up to June 2011 I knew I was struggling to be me, but refused to admit I had an ‘identity crisis’. I still don’t think it was an identity crisis per se but I wasn’t really confident with who I have been made and with who God has made me, because of Jesus.
Then Mr E. from Character First! came up to run a family seminar. Josh, Nomi, Daniel, two friends and I took him out for lunch straight after he arrived in town, and he talked with us about our identity in Christ (he gave us this list of scriptures, which I have loved near to death!). It really challenged me. I could hear this voice inside me telling me I wasn’t really sure about who I was. It’s not a very comfortable thought for someone who wants to have it ‘all together’. At the time I just listened very carefully and started thinking through what Mr E was saying. It was stuff I’d heard before: I am a saint, I am justified, I am God’s workmanship… but it wasn’t all in my heart.
Fast-forward a few weeks. We watched a Christian movie, Upside, which I liked but didn’t really know what the message was. One of the actresses said in the behind-the-scenes; ‘Upside is a movie about finding God, and finding yourself, and how the two are so intricately related.’ That helped me somewhat, but I fell into a spin trying to write something about the movie. As I talked to Mum about it, I told her, ‘I don’t really see how who I am in Christ affects my everyday life’. So we searched around online and found a Bible study by Charles Stanley, Discovering your Identity in Christ. I started reading it around September.
WOW. I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone. Mr Stanley unpacked some of the truths about who I am in Christ: saint, predestined for adoption, child of God, righteous, redeemed, forgiven, ambassador, a member of the body of Christ. He talked about how I am no longer in Adam, but in Christ. The chains of sin are gone – instead I am a child of light! God loved me so much that he bought. me. back. and made me an heir, and Christ’s inheritance! As a Christian, I do not have to fear anything because God is for me and with me and my Rock, Shield, and Fortress.
Over the next nine months I went back and forth in my understanding of how my identiy in Christ affects my everyday life, but here’s some of the things I learned as I read Charles Stanley’s book.
I don’t have to strive for attention in the way I dress or act, because I have God’s attention, and he is well-pleased with his children.
I don’t have to be shy or afraid- because I have YHWH on my side, and with him I can scale a wall.
There is no guilt or condemnation to be felt in Jesus Christ.
I can be confident because I am walking in the Lord Almighty’s shadow (Isaiah 41:11,12) and empowered to live the life of the Lord.
There is no ladder of acceptability before God – I can be who I am made to be.
I have been given a spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7) so I can play the piano confidently, do the right thing, take a stand against abortion, whatever.
I am saved. Forgiven. Redeemed – from my sin! Instead of being a slave to darkness and evilness – I am a daughter of light! So live it – shine it!
I can live life to the fullest, because God is on my side. I can walk in victory of death and sin, because he’s conquered everything.
He is helping me love people, love Him, love His things, training me to be a stronger soldier for Him.
Around the same time, I started reading Caitlin Little John’s 31 days on our identity in Christ. Her daily posts went into even more aspects than the book, though not as in-depth. They were really good and you can view them in her blog archives.
When I walk in the life of being in Christ, there’s a joy and boldness and excitement there outside of who I am as a person. I am free to be who I am – and let my two sides interweave each other – because there’s no fear of man if God Almighty is for me. He created me and delights in me.
But there is more to me than just my personality. Christ transcends on all of me – my identity – and what he has done for me and who he is becomes how you identify me. My identity lies in Christ. These truths are still making there way to my heart – I still have to remind myself that I am not my sin and that I am free to be who I am. The list Mr E. gave me is now very worn and I’m working my way through list memorising the scriptures. But let me tell you, there is so much joy and freedom in knowing I’ve been given every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3); knowing I am loved and free and a new creation, all in and because of Christ Jesus!