“Hello, my name is ________”.
It’s a phrase we have learned since childhood, a way to quickly identify one of the most important things to know about us. As we grow, this phrase may also develop, starting to include a few significant facts about who we are and how we define ourselves. For myself, this phrase didn’t really begin to take shape until my early 20s.
I remember the moment like it was yesterday. It was the first day of my Public Health Master’s program, the day I had long considered to be the first day of the next and most important chapter of my life. I had spent years preparing for this moment, and as I sat at my table with 16 other faces shining as hopeful and expectantly as I’m sure mine was, I felt like I was finally where I was meant to be. And like most first days, a lot of time was spent on introductions.
For this first day, our professors wanted us to dive into who we were and who we wanted to be at the end of the program. We were each given a very large blank sheet of paper, a few markers, and the direction to build a house that reflected who we were and who we wanted to be at graduation. Now I can’t remember exactly what values and things of interest built up the walls and windows of my poorly drawn house, but I do remember that my house was focused on helping people and making a difference.
Over the next two years, we spent more and more time building up our “Hello, my name is…” statements. We developed our ‘elevator pitch’ into a statement that quickly defined who we were to future employers, committee members, and community partners until this new and improved statement rolled off my tongue almost as easily as my name. After graduating and working four years in Public Health, I found myself making a career change into the corporate world. Suddenly that statement I had spent so much time cultivating was no longer applicable to my life.
Those first few months, I found myself at a loss for words when introducing myself, unsure of who I was and what I was doing in life. This led me to a few startling conclusions about myself, one of which being where and what I was finding my identity in. I was so wrapped up in who I thought I was and what I was suppose to be that I was missing out on the One who ultimately defined me.
The Bible is full of verses about finding our identity in the One who defines us, Christ. But how many of you, like me, find so much of our identity in earthly things? And while I don’t think it’s bad to have hobbies and careers that build into who we are, God made us all have different interests and pursuits. However, as I found out, in Christ, our “born identities” are reformed and filled with the life and purpose for which God constructed them. So let me ask you, where does your identity lie? Is it in Christ, or is it in earthly things that can disappear or change in a moment?
The book of 2 Corinthians [5:11–21] speaks directly of our new identity in Christ and our death to our past selves through our rebirth in faith.
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
These verses are both challenging and encouraging, showing us that our true identity does not lie in earthly things but rather in the one who made the heavens and the earth.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
If you have been struggling with an identity crisis or the weight of past choices, meditate on this verse. Knowledge and confirmation that our true identity lies in being a child of God, something that can never be taken away from us (see Romans 8:31–39), brings peace and is life-giving. We no longer need to question who we are, for we are in Christ.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5: 20–21
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Now that we know where our identity lies, the question has to be asked: what are we going to do with it? Is your life proclaiming the excellencies of God, or is it wrapped up in earthly matters? This is a question I have had to ask myself recently. Encouragingly, no matter where you are in life, you can proclaim the magnificence of our Lord and Savior. Once we begin to understand that our true identity lies in being a Child of God, we can experience freedom and cherish the opportunities to praise and share the wonder of our Savior with those around us.
And while I am still working towards understanding and finding my true identity in Christ, maybe next time I introduce myself, I won’t be at a loss for words, my identity in Christ secure.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20