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Sep 15 2013

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God Quotes: Real Identity

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. (Romans 5:1-11 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.

Real Identity

The truth is: I place my identity is all the wrong places. I think role is identity. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a daughter. I’m a friend. I think my feelings tell me who I am. Today, I feel great, so I am great. Or another day. I feel horrible, so I am horrible. I think my failures (I yelled at the kids) or successes (I made it to the appointment on time) are my identity. Depending on where the pendulim is swinging, I am a rotten mom or punctual. (I have thought of myself as a rotten mom but have never claimed to be punctual even in face of successive “on time” achievements. With the punctual success, I relabel myself as more on-time than punctual. Interestingly, it is easier for me to accept failure as an identity than successful. Can you relate?) Romans 5 lays out the foundation of real identity.

Truth based identity

You are who you are based on the truth of scripture not based on a current role, past experience, or feeling. Here is what God says about who we are apart from relationship with Christ:

  • Helpless
  • Sinful
  • Ungodly

That doesn’t sound complimentary at all. I’d like to think I am:

  • Capable
  • Mostly good
  • godly (at least I try)

Life doesn’t let me be fooled by “capable, mostly good, and godly.” I fall on my face and fail too often to maintain those thoughts. When I am aware of my helplessness, my sinfulness, and my ungodliness, I want to run and hide. I don’t want to look at it. At. All. It’s ugly. It’s shameful. I’m back in the the garden with all the fig leaves I can find. And God is asking me, “Where are you?”

Gospel based identity

Without the Gospel, I’d still be trying to avoid the “squashed bug” feeling under the weight of my frailty. But because of the Gospel, I can look at all my ugliness and accept the rescue and restoration provided by the blood of Christ. In fact, the more I dig deeper and see more of the ugliness of sin in my life, the more I have an opportunity to experience rescue and restoration. Invitation after invitation, He provides.

Whenever I try to avoid the reality of my sin, I am denying the opportunity to experience the Gospel fresh in my life. Furthermore, I am hampering myself from experiencing the fullness and freedom that is all mine. No more squashed bug feeling. I get to feel the embrace. I get to know acceptance and love like never before.

Real identity

My real identity is a former helpless enemy of God transformed into a friend of God. I am–in a practical sense–helpless and sinful. I run back to old ways and the old me like a comfortable pair of jeans. It’s a crazy dynamic. That old me feels “right” but makes me feel horrible and is the worst decision maker. The new me feels awkward when I am facing a personal fail. I want to put on the old identity and wallow. I forget to run back to Him and listen to what He has to say. What does He say? He says I am:

  • Made right by faith
  • At peace with God because of what Jesus did
  • Brought into a place of undeserved privilege
  • Going to share in God’s glory
  • Developing endurance and strength of character in problems and trials
  • Dearly loved by God
  • Made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ
  • Friends with God

That is who I am. And I need to come back to this truth every day.

What is your response to this passage?

Who are you? Is your understanding of identity based in truth? How does this affect how you live out your life?

 

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