What is our true identity in Christ? A significant portion of the New Testament is devoted to answering that question. In order to fully embrace our identity, we need to understand the extraordinary privileges and responsibilities associated with it. These seven key passages offer clear insight.
Receiving Jesus as Lord changes our relationship status with God. We become His children. He welcomes us into His presence as all loving parents welcome their children. He delights in us. He knows what’s ultimately best for us and steers us toward it. Knowing that we can approach Him as a child approaches his or her father gives us peace of mind, confidence, and hope.
The fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—grows in our lives as apples grow on the branches of an apple tree. As appendages of the tree (or “vine”), we’re nourished by something greater than ourselves. Jesus’ work within us produces qualities and characteristics that draw people to us—and to Him.
One of God’s most precious gifts to His children is His Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul explains it, when we choose to follow Christ, our bodies become temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells. From within, He performs His vital work of guiding us, convicting us of sin, helping us understand and apply God’s Word, and communicating our prayers to our Heavenly Father. We have the opportunity to bring glory to God in the way we care for our bodies—or temples. By taking care of ourselves, we glorify Him.
Every follower of Christ is a part of His body. Together we accomplish His work in the world. Individually, each member of Christ’s body plays a key role in its effectiveness. If one body part fails to do its job, the entire body suffers. Our identity in Christ gives us extra incentive to complete the work He’s given us, using the talents and abilities He’s given us.
When we assume our identity in Christ, we don’t become improved versions of our old selves. We become something else entirely: a new creation. That means we’re no longer tied to the mistakes of our past. We no longer have to carry the guilt and shame of past offenses. We’re no longer slaves to old desires and habits. In God’s eyes, we’re pure and spotless.
Our identity in Christ results from our being all-in. We no longer have the freedom to take back the reins when it suits us. Our lives are His—not for better or worse, but for better and best.
As members of God’s family, we’re understandably (and rightfully) held to a higher standard in the way we interact with others. We have an opportunity to give others a glimpse of Christ’s mercy, patience, and kindness. If we humbly point to Christ as the One who makes those qualities possible in our lives, we may help others find their own identity in Him.
Come and see.
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Every bit as valuable as the Bible’s words of encouragement, wisdom and inspiration are its stories of people, like us, who learned life-changing lessons—lessons that still apply today. These stories can be valuable utensils in a parent’s toolbox. No matter what situation you and your child are facing, you can find a Bible story that fits it.
Case in point: If you’re trying to help your child find his or her identity in Christ, here are three stories you can use to shed light on the process.
Samuel was a young man who served in the tabernacle. One night he heard a voice calling his name. He thought it was Eli, the priest. But when he went to check, he discovered that it wasn’t. Two more times the voice called Samuel’s name. Two more times he checked with Eli. The third time, Eli realized what was happening. He instructed Samuel to reply to the voice with these words: “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” Samuel followed Eli’s instructions, and his life changed forever.
Samuel listened to the Lord’s calling. He absorbed the words he heard. He maintained a humble spirit. He understood that God called him not because of anything he had done, but because of what the Lord saw could be done in him. In time, Samuel became a revered prophet and priest in Israel.
If our goal is to discover what God has in store for us, our best strategy is to give Him the time and space to speak to us in His manner.
In passages such as John 15:20 (“If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you”), Jesus warned that following Him would not be easy. Those who commit to Him will face trying times, setbacks, obstacles and opponents—some of which will seem quite intimidating.
David faced an opponent like that. And we can look to his experience for lessons for our own battles. David was delivering food to his brothers in Saul’s army when he saw Goliath, the Philistine super-warrior, challenge the Israelites and blaspheme their God.
Since no one else would answer Goliath’s challenge, David walked onto the battlefield himself. He knew little about combat strategies or weaponry, but he knew all he needed to know about the God he served. So he approached Goliath with no armor, no shield and no sword. Just a sling and a few stones. With a flick of the wrist—and the power of God behind him—David eliminated the giant obstacle before him.
The way we look at the obstacles in our way will determine how we react to them. King Saul and his soldiers looked at Goliath as an unbeatable foe, so they cowered in fear from him. David saw him as powerless against the God of Israel. So he defeated him. The more we understand who God is and what He’s capable of, the more confidence we’ll have in overcoming obstacles great and small.
Timothy discovered his identity in Christ at a very young age. His mother and grandmother were among the earliest Christian converts and gave Timothy a valuable spiritual education. God called Timothy to be a pastor, even though he was much younger than many of the people in his congregation.
He might have been overwhelmed by his responsibilities if it weren’t for another Christian leader who took a strong interest in him. The apostle Paul became a spiritual mentor to Timothy, offering him much needed instruction and encouragement. Paul’s advice ran the gamut from the spiritually profound (“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers” [1 Timothy 4:12]) to the practical (“Use a little wine for your stomach’s sake” [1 Timothy 5:23]).
The lesson your kids can take from Timothy’s experience is that no matter where our Christian walk takes us—no matter what God calls us to do—we will find mentors to equip, prepare and encourage us. That’s what it means to be part of the body of Christ.
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One of the most important decisions we face is what to do with our lives. The question is, how do we choose a career path that aligns with our identity in Christ? Here are four tips to consider.
There are certain industries that operate on the margins of the law, blurring the line between what’s “right” and “wrong.” There are certain jobs that encourage people to take advantage of others in the name of maximizing profits. There are businesses that create hazardous conditions—environmental or financial—for others.
The question is, can someone pursue a career in a “gray area” and still maintain an identity in Christ? If we choose a job for less-than-noble reasons, do we damage our witness to others? Do we open ourselves to legitimate accusations of hypocrisy?
In Titus 1:16, the apostle Paul warns against people who “profess to know God, but in works … deny Him.” In 1 Timothy 6:9, he warns against improper motives in choosing a career. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
In Ephesians 2:10, the apostle Paul writes, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Each of us has been given a unique set of…
The challenge is to find a career path that best aligns with our unique makeup. If you have experience in the workforce, you already may have an idea of where your path does or doesn’t lie. If not, you may want to consult people who know you well for input.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Your job falls squarely in the category of “whatever you do.” Some careers naturally lend themselves to glorifying God. Others can be made to glorify God with some thought, creativity and effort. But if you can’t find any legitimate way to bring glory to God in the work you do, you may need to reconsider your career path.
No matter what career you choose, your first job requirement is serving others. Can you impact other people’s lives in a positive way? Can you bring joy and hope to people who need it? Can you make someone’s life better? Can you ease someone’s troubles? These are all important considerations when choosing a career path.
No salary guarantee, stock option or benefits package can equal the value of this promise from Hebrews 6:10: “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”
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