Theology Thursday: God in My Identity

Woman admiring the sunrise with her arms raised.

Beloved pastor, author and theologian Henri Nouwen once said, “Spiritual identity means we are not what we do or what people say about us. And we are not what we have. We are the beloved daughters and sons of God.”1 His words address the reality of the identity of humanity as loved daughters and sons who are uniquely endowed with purpose, value, and giftedness by their heavenly Father. 

Sadly, it is often a wrestling match in the human mind and soul to hold onto and live out this truth. In fact, to the contrary, humankind often seeks to find validation and distinctiveness in possessions, promotions and approval from people rather than in a God-given identity.

How does one stay connected to God and confirmed in their identity and value? This is an essential question that begs reflection for the body of Christ to fully live out faith and calling. This is significant when considering the very thing the enemy of our soul, Satan, wants to destroy is understanding of identity. With that in mind, let’s consider the importance of knowing who we are and whose we are to better navigate the journey of lifelong transformation in Christ.

In This Article:

Who Are You?

The goal of creating humankind is clearly described in Genesis when God declares, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,” (Gen. 1:26, ESV). In this verse, God shares his intention in create humanity after the Godhead. In other words, man and woman would truly be God’s offspring, created in his image, and empowered with identity, authority and ability. These children of God would be (and still are) gifted with the characteristics of their Creator as they are created after our likeness. They would have authority as God declared let them have dominion, and they would have ability. After all, God is good, and would not require the care of all the earth without endowing the power to accomplish it.

The Genesis narrative on creation proclaims the profound love and value that God bestowed on his most treasured design, humanity. In fact, the scriptures are filled with examples of God’s enduring love, extraordinary grace, and incomprehensible mercy. He truly adores his children. Consider Psalm 139, a manifesto of God’s intention toward humanity and attention to all the days we inhabit from conception to death. The psalmist rightly declares, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well,” (vs 14, ESV). David’s awareness of God’s thoughts, presence and love in his own formation were cause for worship in his soul for who he was and whose he was and should inspire the same in every follower of Christ who acknowledges they are children of God.

Who’s Your Father?

Knowing who one is can have a profound impact on pursuing destiny. Knowing whose you are can impact purpose even more. Consider the undeniable reality that sons and daughters of kings think and act differently than other children. They know who they are, what they have, and what is expected of them. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Galatians 4:4-7 (NIV):

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So, you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. — Galatians 4:4-7, NIV

Those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and savior have been adopted into the family of God, with full rights as heirs to all that is God’s. And what is God’s? Everything! In fact, as the Apostle Peter states:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. — 2 Peter 1:3-4, ESV

The child of God has everything they need to live out purpose, destiny and identity. There is no lack, no deficit, and no need to doubt. God is faithful to keep his promise to his children. The realization that God is Father should cause his children to rise and run after every promise and provision that extends from the Father’s heart toward his offspring. Our heavenly Father knows every need and invites us to ask for his provision and seek after his presence. He is a good father.

Guard Your Heart

In the place of God’s grace and provision, the Garden, the Devil perpetrated a horrific deception on humanity. The basis of his lies was and is still the same. Satan will always come against the intrinsic identity of humanity and the goodness of God. His words did God really say (see Gen. 3: 1-3) are arrows of doubt in the heart of Adam and the woman and are still effective for implanting skepticism in the hearts and minds of God’s children today. This doubt, left unchecked, is a dangerous catalyst toward looking for fulfillment in possessions, promotions and the praises of people rather than authentic relationship with God and in sacred community. 

Therefore, it is vital to take to heart the mandate to “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” (Prov. 4:23, NIV). Child of God, you can resist the Devil and silence his lies about your identity and God’s goodness. The effective weapon is the truth of God’s word and the knowledge of who you are and whose you are — beloved daughters and sons of a loving God.

Read more Theology Thursday blogs and check out other degree programs and theology minors. Visit GCU’s College of Theology and fill out the form on this page to learn more. 

Approved by faculty for the College of Theology on Feb. 7, 2024.

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.

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