Sep 22 2013

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God Quotes: New Identity

He (Jesus) came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right (power) to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. (John 1:10-13 NLT)

My church is doing a study called Identity Project. Here is a description:

Identity Project

Identity Project

September 15 – October 6, 2013Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Are you a teacher? Salesman? Mom? Does your past define you? Addict? Divorcee? We allow all of these and more to define us, dictating how we view ourselves and our future. But God has given us a new identity. We are different. We are new, and it changes everything. Join us starting September 15th as we explore who we really are – our true identity.

Click here to listen to the message. (If you are in the Lexington, SC and don't have a church, please join us.)

During this series, I will be sharing my reflections on the scripture passage and sermon.

New Identity

If I were to label myself based on what I did this week, I'd be a complainer, screamer, temper loser, punisher, hugger, teacher, listener, talker, pray-er, waiter, cook-er, baker, driver, shopper, reader, writer, host-er, planner, avoider, stress-er, clean-er. But I am not any one of those things. Those are things I did but not who I am. Countless times, I got stuck mulling over my embarrassing behaviors. I let those actions attach themselves to me as a label, as an identity. And when that happened, I was pressed down further into discouragement.

Thinking verb not noun

If I challenge myself to rethink how I look at the labels, I can get closer to embracing the new identity I have in Christ. The shift is from “I am what I do” or “I am the role I play today” to “I am an adopted, loved, being-transformed Child of the living God.”

What is the shift in thinking like? It is changing the noun to a verb. (Noun is a person. Verb is an action.) I yelled at my kids this week. That is what I did. I found it easy to label myself as a mom failure. The transformed thought is I am not a failure. I failed to control my temper. Because I am God's child, I have the resources available to me to have control my temper. This shift requires me to run to my Source. I know I can't have control over my monster temper without help. Just because I know who I am doesn't mean the struggle isn't there. But because I know whose I am, I know to whom I can go for the power needed to conquer the things that have had power over me.

Gospel based identity

Again, the truth of the Gospel needs to be in the process. The Gospel starts in the heart of one seeking rescue from eternal penalty and practical remifications of sin. The hope found in the message of the Gospel leads to faith in Christ. The Gospel continues to work in the life of the believer who needs (practical) rescue from the power of sin. While we are saved from our sins, we are being transformed as the power of sin is broken. This is a lifelong process. As the layers of behaviors and attitudes that were opposed to God and His way are removed from power, deeper layers are revealed. This is how the Gospel rescues and continues to rescue.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV)

The paradox of who we are in Christ and what we do (that is not Christ-like) can only be reconciled in an identity rooted in Christ. How could I….if I am a child of His? As we allow God to work in our hearts (allowing Him to peel away the power of the old ways of thinking and believing and behaving), the new person we are in Christ is revealed. The real person (in Christ) becomes more in line with the way life is lived. Even in my failures from this past week, I did not handle them in the same way I had in the past. I am moving closer to Christ-likeness even though I lived far from perfect.

New identity thinking

The shift from good things I do (or good roles I have) to a rooting in who I am in Christ is harder to grasp. I am a mom. Isn't that a good identity? Being a mom is a great role but a terrible identity. As an identity, mom has too many adjectives slapped on the front. Good mom. Bad mom. Mean mom. Unprepared mom. Amazing mom. It's a roller coaster of highs and lows. Any mom knows what it is like to be labeled the “mean mom” while making the right choice for a child. (If there is a teenager in the house, lame is thrown in the label pile too.)

I am a mom, but that is not all of who I am. Who am I really? I am God's image bearer. I am an adopted child of God. That identity doesn't change. It is solid. It is not up for hormonal ups and downs. It is not defined by the petal-pulling “she did well today, she did not, she did well, she did not” with the hope the last petal is “she did well.”

What is your response to this passage?

Who are you? Do you know about the new identity found in Christ? Can you turn your thoughts to identity truth? What impact does the new identity (Child of God) have on you today?


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