Minutes after I published my last post, I put my hand on one of my journals (seriously, I was moving a pile) open to a page that talked about identity. It was a page I’d written after thinking further on a sermon in February 2017, and our pastor had been teaching on Next Steps. Pretty much, a “back to basics” series. Step 1: Salvation. And guess what one of the things is that changes after salvation? Identity!
II Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
(all verses from the English Standard Version)
The thing that has troubled me lately is finding the balance between who I am declared to be in Christ (a new creation, holy, righteous, set apart), and who I want to be or how I behave in the day-to-day. I like to be comfortable. I like to do the things I like. Are those things at odds with living by faith? Not necessarily….
This is the note that caught my eye on the page:
Unity with Christ means that my identity is secure
My primary identity is who I am in Christ. The tasks that God has set aside for me to do. My primary identity includes “unity with Christ” – being of the same mind, purpose and love that He has.
My secondary identity is (I hope you read this as the big dramatic pause I intend) all the other things in life. Parenthood. Career. Reputation. Relationships. Health. Hobbies. Goals. I literally cannot describe myself without at least 3 of those “other things” thrown in. They’re also part of who I am (and how I’ll be able to accomplish the tasks set aside for me). There’s nothing wrong with them, as long as they line up with that primary identity.
But I think that I get them switched around. I emphasize my independent spirit and loyalty as a friend, my love for my kids, my work ethic and knowledge, my knack for turning string into something beautiful and/or useful. Too often I de-emphasize that primary identity.
I almost feel like I’m afraid that if I fully embrace my primary identity, unity with Christ, I’ll “lose” the secondaries that I love. I don’t know if that makes sense. But I think I hold back from living my life first and foremost as that new creation because I may lose the relationships I value so highly. Or fear that
my goals may get ahead of God’s plans, or His plans won’t include my goals. So I try to walk a line between those 2 sets of identities, mentioning that I go to church, giving encouragement and offering to pray for people, but never being “pushy” about my faith.
Y’all, I’m not just like everyone else. When I signed up for salvation, I signed up to live the life He designed for me!
Embracing my identity without fear,