The Truth about Identity
There’s an old story about a boy who, having grown up at the edge of a wide, turbulent river, spent his childhood learning to build rafts. When the boy reached manhood, he felled some trees, lashed them together, and riding his raft, he crossed to the far side of the river. Because he had spent so long working on the raft, he couldn’t see leaving it behind when he reached dry land, so he lashed it to his shoulders and carried it with him, though all he came upon in his journeys were a few easily fordable streams and puddles. He rarely thought about the thing he was missing out on because he was carrying the bulky raft — the trees he couldn’t climb, vistas he couldn’t see, people he couldn’t get close to, and races he couldn’t run. He didn’t even realize how heavy the raft was because he had never known what it was like to be free of it. – Lori Gordon
Sometimes in life, we can carry around a false identity and purpose. We can put our identity in our careers, talents, looks, relationships, finances, and what has been said about us positively or negatively, and we carry them around like a heavy raft. We find freedom in Christ when we have in Christ when we set down the identity that we have created and remember who God says we are and what God calls us to do because of what Christ has already done.
We can often think of our identity as the total of our efforts, circumstances, successes or failures, our choices, and our life that we carry today. But our new identity in Christ does not come from our efforts, family line, or circumstances because we are now God’s people, given a new identity because of what Christ did on the cross. We are set free by the truth of our new identity and purpose in Christ. We must remember who we are in Christ. We are reminded of this in 1 Peter 2:9–10:
“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. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
How does it change your day and week’s outlook when you reflect on what Christ has done for you and the new identity you have in Christ? The things we often try and carry to give us significance, we can lay at His feet. Because He has given us all the significance, we need in Jesus. The purposes we strive to make a name for ourselves we can give to God because He has given us a new purpose to proclaim God’s excellencies and what He has done.
Paul reminds us of this new identity as well in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Part of the challenge of living our new identity in Christ is that we must lay aside our old identity and remember we are a new creation in Christ. What are you still carrying that God is calling you to let down so that you can run free as His new creation living out the new purpose and identity as God’s people? Because of what Jesus has done for us, we are his children, fully forgiven, and made new. So, let’s proclaim His excellent work and walk in the freedom He has given us.