Our Identity In Christ
I spoke recently with a colleague who said every day he encounters at least three good reasons to leave his place of ministry and move on to something else. Knowing he was serving in a very challenging setting, I sensed his fatigue and frustration. As we talked our attention shifted from passion-draining, outward circumstances to inner realities. I sensed encouragement seeping into his weary soul.
Like this brother, we all have a need to feel loved, valued and significant. The circumstances where he was serving frequently made him feel just the opposite. Like him and most probably like you, I have days when I wonder if my feeble efforts to serve God in such a broken, twisted world are really worth it? I look at some of the daily grind of the ministry, people I care about getting ground up and burnt out, and so many becoming discouraged and defeated. How can we maintain our equilibrium when many are falling... quitting... moving on to something they hope will be better?
There is a deep, satisfying well, one that never runs dry, to which we can go repeatedly to know that we are loved, valued and significant. It’s the well of our identity in Christ! It’s an inner reality that never changes regardless of discouraging outer circumstances.
You’ve undoubtedly seen summary statements based on Scripture that help us see more clearly who we are in Christ. The summary that follows is a common one, probably not new information to you. Someone gave it to me and I’d like to pass it along to you with a challenge: I invite you at the beginning to allow these truths to pass through your cognitive grid into the depths of your soul. Meditate on them so that they become the foundation of your understanding of who you are. Return to them frequently, especially during times of testing. Here they are:
I AM LOVED AND ACCEPTED. I am God’s child (John 1:12) and Christ’s friend (John 15:15). I have been justified (Romans 5:1). I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him (I Cor 6:17). I have been bought with a price, I belong to God (I Cor 6:20). I am a member of Christ’s body (I Cor 12:27), a saint (Eph 1:1). I have been adopted as God’s child (Eph 1:5). I am loved with a steadfast, everlasting love (Eph 2:4) and have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18). I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (Col 1:14). I am complete in Christ (Col 2:10).
I AM VALUED AND SECURE. I am free from condemnation (Rom 8:1, 2). I am assured that all things work together for good (Rom 8:28). I am free from any condemning charges against me (Rom 8:31-34). Nothing in heaven or on earth can separate me from the love of God (Rom 8:34-39). I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21, 22). I am hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3). I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil 1:6). I am a citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20). I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). I can find grace and mercy to help in time of need (Heb 4:16). I am born of God and the evil one cannot harm me (1 John 5:18).
I AM SIGNIFICANT. I am the salt and light of the earth (Matt 5:13, 14). I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15:1, 5). I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16). I am a personal witness to Christ (Acts 1:8). I am God’s temple (I Cor 3:16) and a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21). I am God’s co-worker (2 Cor 6:1). I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph 2:6). I am God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10) and may approach Him with freedom and confidence (Eph 3:12). I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).
A few years ago Esther and I attended a Stress in the Ministry conference. There we were reminded over and over again who we are in Christ. It was like drinking from a well of refreshing, renewing water! Here’s a variation of the confession we said aloud there and have used many times since:
“In Christ, I am an awesome spirit being of magnificent worth as a person. I am deeply loved by God. In Christ, I am fully pleasing to God. Because of Christ, I am totally accepted by God. I am absolutely complete in Christ.
And when my person is expressed through my performance, the reflection of God’s image is dynamically unique... there has never been another one like me in the history of humankind, nor will there ever be. I am an original, one of a kind, really somebody in and through Christ, and so are YOU!”
I want to challenge you to drink deeply from this well of your identity in Christ. I want to call you to reflect regularly on the glorious reality of who you are in Him! When the outward circumstances drain your passion and make you feel discouraged, unloved, under-valued, insecure, worthless and insignificant, remember who you are... in Christ!
OMS Global President