This world has a warped view of identity. The highest value is placed on having the biggest house, driving the newest car, being or having the trophy wife, earning the biggest buck, and living the “American dream.” People wear themselves out trying to impress and trying to get more.
I think sometimes this mentality rubs off on Christians. We seek to find our value in good grades, a certain job/ministry or in a relationship; we feel pressure to marry at a certain age or live up to the “perfect family” expectations. Time and time again, we’re disappointed when we somehow fall short of the “Christian standard.” Perhaps even worse, our expectations are realized, and we rely too heavily on those things God’s blessed us with – and less on God Himself.
Our identity can’t be placed in a perfect set of circumstances; those simply don’t exist (or not for long). We must learn to consistently find our identity in Christ.
The question of how to do that is a struggle for me and for perhaps some of you. The only place I know to start is what God’s Word says about our identity. The definition I’ve discovered is incomplete – I have more digging to do – but read on if you desire to see what God says about who we are in Him.
We are made in God’s image.
Perhaps the most fundamental truth about ourselves is that we are made in the image of God.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27, NKJV
The ramifications of this reality are mind-blowing. Here’s a short list.
- Life demands dignity. Every life (unborn or elderly) is sacred and has intrinsic value. Therefore, despite what our culture tells us is normal or acceptable, abortion and euthanasia remain morally wrong.
- God created males and females. It’s one or the other, despite what our world tells us in the new norm. Thefulltimegirl.com shared an excellent article on this tough topic and did an outstanding job speaking the truth in love.
- Our lives have purpose. We aren’t accidents of time and chance. We have an all-powerful Creator who intentionally designed us and knew us before the beginning of the world.
- We are loved. Think about it this way. In a physical sense, we are made in our parents’ genetic images. Although our world is broken and sometimes families are too, this reality was designed to create a unique bond between parents and children. A special belonging. That’s how God sees us. He is our heavenly Father. He made us in His image and lavishes His love upon us. Wow.
Our bodies are His temples.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? I Corinthians 3:16, NKJV
Do you really believe that? Temples are designed to be holy places, places of reverence. If you’re a child of God, your body is His home. How should this shape how we see and treat ourselves?
- We should take care of our bodies and their physical needs – exercise, food, hydration, rest. We should seek to live balanced lives that can enjoy God’s natural gifts.
- Self-loathing practices like cutting, bulimia and anorexia dishonor God’s temple. I’m not belittling these serious health conditions; they are real and prevalent in our world today and demand a great deal of compassion; in fact, if you struggle loving what you see as your imperfections, let me recommend my cousin’s blog. She is a courageous young woman in recovery.
- Our bodies demand respect. That means how we dress and the boundaries we set (especially in relationships) are essential to honoring God’s temple.
Our home is His heaven.
Sometimes, we grow too attached to this earth. We cling to things that simply won’t last. We wear ourselves out striving for stuff we can’t take with us.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV
It’s easy to know this truth but sometimes hard to apply… when you interview for that job you really want and don’t get it… when your first car is totaled in an accident that’s not even your fault.
Yet we alone are responsible for choosing our attitudes. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, Steve Covey quotes Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
I like that. We can’t control circumstances, but we get to choose our response to them. Our responses here can be one way we lay up treasures where they matter most.
What about me
You don’t understand, Kristen. You can’t possibly know what I’m going through.
You’re right; I can’t. That’s why having a relationship with the One who does and cares infinitely for you is so important.
These three pieces of our identity are vital to our self-image but by no means form a complete picture. My challenge to you is to dig deep into God’s Word this week and discover for yourself what it says about who you are in Christ.
Share with me here what you find. Your discoveries may very well be a missing piece that a friend so badly needs to know.