I’ve bet you heard the saying, “find your identity in Christ”. We hear it preached during conferences; we see it plastered on various social media posts; and we’ve become accustomed to saying it without thinking twice. While I’m sure it was created with great intentions, I believe this generation of believers has made the act of seeking God all about self. Sure, there are some believers truly seeking God for all that He is. And then, there are others who have merely watered down the power of their lives being transformed by an encounter with God…to the evidence of God in their lives with stuff.
Often, we are sold ideas that say we haven’t arrived in our relationship with God unless we have something to show for it; wealth, a popular ministry; a handsome praying husband, and a business that can get us out of our 9-5. Or maybe I’m the only one who notices that trend *shoulder shrug*. I think that it’s awesome to see women excel in their calling, but somehow the Gospel, and everything that we know to be true in the Bible, has been traded for a common misconception: that you have achieved a certain status in Christ when you have something to show—specifically dealing with our false view of identity and purpose. When we do this, we reduce God and we make our lives bigger than they should be.
As followers of Jesus we are to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Him. Today, we see many people saying they follow Jesus, but never really walking it out. Could it be that we have these views because we are constantly told to find our identity in Him? I want to challenge that saying—change it, even—because we will never truly encounter God in His fullness if we are steadily reducing Him to be a purpose dealer. Please don’t mistake me; I know that we can only find out why we were created by going to the creator, but that shouldn’t be the reason why we seek Him—especially if it’s aside from the fact that all we do should bring Him glory.
Instead, I think the saying should go, “lose your identity for Christ”. Yep, that’s right. Give it ALL up for Him. Yes, even the idea that finding contentment in God will bring you a husband quicker—reducing God and making our lives bigger, once again. You see, we have replaced the beauty of coming before God just because He is God, with a give and take attitude that can lead us to all kinds of problems, like self-righteousness through works of the law.
If you really think about it, losing your identity for Christ isn’t something I’ve made up; we find it in Matthew 16:25
“Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.” (GNT)
It’s a critical scripture that we tend to lose sight of because popularity has said that finding your identity in Christ means a purpose birthed ministry; a career; a husband and a family. But doesn’t that understanding of finding our identity in Christ resemble gaining our own lives like Matthew 16:25? In its purest form, the phrase “find your identity in Christ” can mean that we come to see ourselves the way that God sees us, while also being challenged and changed to take on the characteristics of Jesus Christ. I get that, but how often do people use that phrase and truly relate it to the description given above?
Personally, I don’t see it, read it, or hear it very often.
More than ever, we equate our identity to a calling, a ministry, and our purpose. Often we seek these huge platforms to tell people about God. We want to have the look, the perfect persona, and the perfect message to tell the masses how they can get what we have. Through a false sense of identity, many have believed that telling people their story and how they founded a ministry or got married can replicate the Gospel. While I do believe—and know firsthand—that a testimony can be powerful and encourage someone going through the same trials, it shouldn’t aim to replace Jesus Christ. It shouldn’t come close to Jesus. Sadly, these messages attract countless people. The idea of doing x,y, and z to gain all the material things God has for you has become encouragement for listeners hoping they’ll find their “identity” too. When all along, what we ALL truly need is Jesus. Not a ministry. Not a husband. Not thousands of double tappers on Instagram. What we really need is a wake-up call; a snap of the fingers to remind us that letting go of our vision for our lives and our idea of what makes us look the part, gives us the chance to BE transformed and actually BE the light on this earth. We’ll actually recognize the person working at the desk next to us, instead of setting our sights on the thousands because we’ve been fooled into thinking our identity comes through gifts, ministry, or a calling. Only through Christ will we be able to believe everything God says about us—our true identity. Only through Christ will we grow and be pruned, making us more like Jesus and less like the false identities we’ve been chasing after.
LOSING OUR IDENTITY FOR CHRIST IS EVERYTHING!
When we lose our lives for Him, we gain our true identity. What is that identity? Well, we’re justified and declared righteous because of Jesus. We begin to commune with God and the Holy Spirit begins to change us. After all, we are a new creation. We begin to display the fruit of the Spirit and our old way of living is replaced by our new way of life. When we truly commune with God we learn that nothing can satisfy us like He can.
CAN I SHARE SOMETHING WITH YOU?
Something powerful happened to me last week. I was humbled and it brought me to a place of reverence about who God truly is and who I am not. I learned to celebrate that, because following Jesus is much better than holding on to stuff and identities on this earth that receive acceptance from mere men. I learned that losing my life allowed me to gain. The Spirit constantly reminds me and prunes me to be more like Jesus everyday. I have seen the harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control in my life (Galatians 5:22). I have communed with God and felt His correction in those areas when I am wrong and have fallen short. I’m reminded of how amazing He is and how flawed I am—I NEED HIM. In seeing it His way, I also learned not to pout over my mistakes, but to thank Him for convicting me about the “little things” because they literally SAVE. MY. LIFE.
I can’t say it enough: I have learned that losing my life for Jesus is gain. Ministry, purpose, and marriage are all beautiful things in the correct context, but there is only One who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Losing my false sense of life for His sake, gives me REAL life. Jesus Christ is the life.
It’s my hope that we can get back to knowing Jesus is the answer, instead of reducing him to be a part of life’s equation that somehow gets us this Christian status, approved by a lot of Christians and sort of approved by the world, too. So to speak, denying yourself, carrying your cross, and following Jesus is the equation. The outcome—your true identity—is life…
Through Jesus, because of Jesus, and only Jesus!
Stay encourage. Keep fighting the good fight. Seek acceptance from above.