A key to living life God’s way is rightly embracing our identity in Christ. As with so much in this universe, “right” is defined by God. Human beings often rely more on their own opinions than on God’s, which is never wise.
When we rely on our own opinions, we often use our mistakes and failures and feelings (the worst of our lives) as evidence to draw a conclusion about our own identity. Then we think that this is who and what we are. Perhaps the father of lies (the devil and his demons) encourage this. However, the standard for finding your identity in Christ is firmly discovered in God’s grace and truth.
What Is Your Story?
Have you embraced “worm theology” for your life? Do you say to yourself, I will always get picked last on the playground of life, that is, if anyone picks me at all. Have you heard that voice in your head declare, You have no idea how many times I have blown it! All I ever do is mess up!? Maybe you hear I'm all alone. Nobody cares about me, I’m not popular or liked. I’m not really good at anything, and if I try it will just turn out badly.
If that is your story you are a “worm theologian,” living under condemnation and shame without accessing the goodness and greatness of God. You have yet to grasp that Jesus came from the Father “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
God’s Story of Grace and Truth: An Identity in Christ Devotional
On the other hand, if grace and truth have captured your heart and mind, your story plays out differently. Or at least it will if you really accept what God has done for you and who he is in you. To discover your identity in Christ, embrace his grace and truth.
Affirm, I am loved and significant, and my Father has a special purpose for me. I am his child, adopted into his family! He never leaves me, and he is carrying out a long-term restoration project in and through my life. When I fail and, in turn, feel guilt and shame, he forgives. I can get a fresh start to use the gifts he has already given me to do good as I respond to the call God gave me to accomplish his purpose.
God isn’t finished with me yet, and today his mercies are new, and I get a fresh start. Christ in me is the hope of glory, empowered by the Holy Spirit for an abundant life and a compelling purpose for the rest of my life. (By the way, this is only a partial list of all the good news showered upon us in Christ and of the identity we have in Christ.) It is a far superior identity to those with which many identify today.
Aligning Yourself With God’s Design and Embracing Your Identity in Christ
It’s time to change your negative thought patterns. Tell yourself the following: Who I am matters, and also importantly, who I think I am matters. If I believe lies about me derived from my worst failures — my “worm theology” — the obstacles of life will batter me into bondage. If I embrace God’s story of “grace and truth,” the story written and determined intentionally to be the source and center of the universe as his creation, I find my identity in Christ instead of my failures.
My outlook and expectations of life dramatically shift, and I am able to be more than an overcomer in light of (and in spite of) the obstacles of life. Worms don’t aspire to much, but children of the most high God, daughters and sons of the kingdom, aspire to and accomplish great things.
Finding Your Identity in Christ
Who are you?
That question alone leads to many expectations, comparisons and, quite honestly, failures.
Society poses the misconception that it is up to us to either create ourselves or live up to the reputation and role that others have given us. The problem with both of these attempts to find an identity is that we will continually be disappointed with reality and who we actually are.
Have you ever noticed that you become offended when others have judged or challenged you? Or maybe that your pride is hurt when others question your intelligence or performance? This is a common and natural response, and it happens as a result in finding your identity in something other than the Lord.
We, as humans, feel the need to prove ourselves to others, as if we need to convince them that we have what it takes or that we are enough. The reality is that whether we are striving to be beautiful, smart, happy, a good parent or a good daughter or son, we will fail. If we are trying to be a perfect Christian, we will fail.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul writes “But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
In this passage, Paul is referring to times in his life when he recognized his own weaknesses and insufficiencies. Paul counts these times not as embarrassing moments or failures, but rather, as times when he relied on the Lord’s strength and guidance.
Some of the most beautiful and comforting things that can be found in a relationship with Jesus are freedom and acceptance. God knows that we will fail, and he loves us anyway. He does not ask us to meet a quota or look a certain way. Instead, he simply invites us to draw near to him. Jesus wants us to understand just how much he loves each one of us, to get to know him and who he says he is and to love him back in return.
When we find our identity in Christ and in Christ alone, we are rid of any societal standards or expectations. We are loved by the greatest love the world has ever known and accepted by the only one who will ever care for us despite all of our flaws and failures. Finding your identity in Christ is a journey.
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Approved by faculty for the College of Theology on Aug. 15, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.