In Identity - Part 1, I talked about the importance of “I am” statements and how they relate to personal identity and behavior. I have given a lot of thought to my own identity and what is really true about me.
For me as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, it has to start with my identity in Christ and how God sees me. If you aren’t born again spiritually, this approach may not make sense to you, and I suggest that you read the posts on salvation.
Most of these are personalizations of scriptural statements that I have written in my journal. Because of the power of “I am” statements, I have tried to phrase them that way. The idea isn’t necessarily for you to take my statements as your own, but just to give you an example of what I see as my true identity. However, these things are as true for any believer as they are for me.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This is a direct quote of Galatians 2:20 because it already begins with an “I am” statement. It is quite remarkable that I am—present tense—crucified with Him.
“I am chosen by God to be holy and without blame before Him in love.” [A paraphrase of Ephesians 1:4.]
“To the praise of the glory of His grace...in His grace, I am accepted by God, in the beloved. The beloved is the Lord Jesus Christ, and because I am in Christ, God accepts me.” [A paraphrase of Ephesians 1:6.]
“I didn’t accept Christ—I received Him and He accepted me. The Father accepts me as a son because I am in His Son.” [From John 1:12 and Ephesians 1:6]
“I am dead and my life is hidden with Christ in God. Jesus and I together in God.” [A paraphrase of Colossians 1:3.]
I love the present tense in these scriptural statements—I AM dead, my life IS hidden. I AM dead to sin by the body of Christ (Romans 7), and my old man IS crucified with Him (Romans 6). When these things are not stated in the present tense (like they are in the King James Bible) , there is a question of what may happen in the future. But every time I read my Bible, I see the present tense and my identity is affirmed: I AM dead, I AM crucified, I AM saved, I HAVE eternal life.
Which means this: no matter what happens in my life, all of these things are still true. They are only conditioned on one thing: that I have received Jesus Christ by faith and been born again. If I totally relapse and wash out, all of these aspects of my identity will still be true. When all is said and done and this life is over and God’s redemptive work is done, this is what I will be part of:
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:3–5).
If you are religious and believe in a merit-based salvation, I am sure this all sounds strange or wrong to you. I am not saying that there are no consequences for sin in this life. I have been spanked enough by God where it has hurt to sit down. I have been a disobedient son, but a son nonetheless.
If you are saved, I hope this discussion of identity gives you renewed hope. I would suggest that you write out identity statements like this in your journal. Meditate on them and use them to counter-attack negative self-talk. Regardless of our mistakes and failures, we are still alive and God wants to continue the work He started our lives when He saved us. If we build our sobriety and recovery on our true identities in Christ, we will be amazed at what He will do. With God all things are possible.
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