- the unreliability of basing our identity on seasons, or characteristics about us
- the way we are all geared toward identity idolatry (feeling that what we do/choose is the same as who we are)
- and the way God – in kindness – seeks to shake us loose of that.
And in Part 2, we dug deeper into:
- our identity in Christ– what it means and why it matters
- why “motherhood” as our key identity is a dangerous thing
As women, we can easily view ourselves through our identities. “Single,” “Newlywed,” “Career woman,” “Mom of Three,” “Empty Nester,” “Military Wife,” “Widow.”
But God loves us too much to let us find our joy in a place that ultimately won’t satisfy us. Put another way, I believe God has custom-built every stage of womanhood in such a way that every wrong identity will– at some point– fail us.
So one of the ways that we can choose to turn away from identity idolatry is to stop trying to “choose our own identity.” Instead, choose to stop, evaluate who HE says you are, and let GOD define your identity. Submit to the things HE says about you, and live in a way that shows you believe HIS words over your own.
This is one of my favorite verses because it puts me in my place and reminds me who I am in relation to God. It reads:
“Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”Romans 9:20
We are the clay, being made into pots, and He is the Potter. In a pottery shop, the potter decides what the pot is for, and designs it according to his purpose.
But somehow, when it’s our lives, and we’re the ones who are clay, we want to be (like the verse) clay that talks back.
We want to ask questions of God and say, “why did you make me this way? Why didn’t you make me that way? Why aren’t things going the way I’d like?”
But everything gets put into perspective when we remember that GOD is the Potter.
HE is the one who made us. He knows what we were made for. So if we want to know what it means to be His child, we have to look to the POTTER and listen to Him to know WHO WE REALLY ARE.
If we want to know what it looks like to be a wife (or daughter, friend, mother, single woman, aging woman) who is submitted to Christ, we look to HIS Word and let it define us.
Instead of us “choosing our own identity,” He defines our identity.
Since God defines who we are, it is crucial that we know what HE says about us, and rank that higher than anyone else’s input (including our own). HIS WORDS about us should be the filter through which we see ourselves.
So, if you ARE in Christ, if you have repented and turned to Jesus in faith, let’s go through a list of verses. Look them over, and as we go through, take note of any that strike you as particularly meaningful today.
Let these verses wash over you and REMIND you who you are.
Sister, whatever phase of life you’re in,
- you are not who the world says you are.
- you are not who the internet says you should be.
- you are not who YOU think you used to be and can’t get away from.
- you are not a compilation of your biggest failures.
If you are in Christ, God says these things are true about you, and they are true “even if” you are divorced, have a prodigal child, have cussed in the past 24 hours, haven’t picked up your Bible in a long time, are the focus of gossip and derision in your community, or feel like you’ve made a mess of your life.
No matter who you are, or what you’ve done/not done, if you have claimed the name of Jesus, these are true:
- Isaiah 43:7 “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” — YOU WERE FORMED BY GOD, FOR HIS GLORY.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” — YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU ONCE WERE. YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY THOSE OLD SINS. YOU ARE NOT A SLAVE TO SIN. YOU ARE A NEW CREATION.
- 1 Peter 2:9 “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,” — YOU ARE CHOSEN, SET APART, PURCHASED BY GOD.
- Ephesians 2:10 “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” — YOU WERE MADE BY GOD AND HE HAS GOOD WORKS ALREADY PREPARED FOR YOU TO DO.
- Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” — YOU ARE NOT CONDEMNED.
- John 1:12 “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” and Galatians 3:26 “ in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” — SISTER, YOU ARE HIS CHILD.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” — WE ARE NOT DEFINED BY OUR SIN. INSTEAD, IN CHRIST, WE ARE MADE RIGHTEOUS.
- John 15:5,16 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” — GODLY, LASTING FRUIT WILL COME FROM OUR LIVES WHEN WE ARE ABIDING IN CHRIST.
- Philippians 3:20 “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” — SISTER, WE ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN, NOT EARTH. WE SHOULD BE MORE DEFINED BY THE CULTURE OF HEAVEN THAN BY THE CULTURE OF THIS WORLD, OF AMERICAN POP STARS, OR EVEN THE CULTURE OF OUR LOCAL HOMESCHOOL GROUP. WHETHER OR NOT WE FEEL LIKE IT, OR FULLY UNDERSTAND IT, OUR CITIZENSHIP IN HEAVEN IS A REAL FACT ABOUT US.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5 “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” — IN CHRIST, WE WALK IN LIGHT AND TRUTH, NOT DARK & SIN.
- 2 Corinthians 5:20 “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” — LIKE AN AMERICAN AMBASSADOR GOES AND REPRESENTS AMERICA IN A FOREIGN PLACE, YOU ARE AN AMBASSADOR THAT TELLS THE WORLD WHAT GOD IS LIKE. YOU ARE TO KNOW HIM AND HIS WAYS WELL, SO THAT YOU CAN REPRESENT HIM WELL. GOD IS MAKING HIS APPEAL TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU, THROUGH YOU.
- 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 live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” — YOU WERE NOT SAVED TO LIVE FOR YOU. I WAS NOT SAVED TO LIVE FOR ME. YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED SO THAT YOU CAN LIVE BY FAITH, AND LET THE LIGHT AND HOPE OF CHRIST SHINE THROUGH YOUR LIFE.
It’s easy to drift into fear and doubt, or even just the simple fog that comes with being distracted by the world around us.
But it is dangerous to forget the truth about who we are. What you believe about who you are makes all the difference in the world in the choices you make, the words you choose, the relationships you pursue, and the way you view your place in the world.
We all need to be reminded, regularly, about who we are in Christ.
God has mercifully built life in this world so that every phase of our lives as women will leave us on shaky ground, UNLESS we are building fully on the foundation of Christ alone.
But in Christ, we have a firm foundation for our identity. We can walk in peace, and not churn inwardly. We can have confidence, without arrogance. We can see chaos around us, and experience sorrows, and retain our hope in God alone.
We can know with certainty that He is making us holy, without having to fake it or imitate external perfection. We can humbly grow, without requiring that everyone around us adopt all the same habits and convictions as we’ve come to have.
In Christ, we can walk through terrifying and tragic things without being shaken.
I want to go back to one final question I mentioned at the beginning of part 1: “Will there be anything with my name on it- a hospital wing, a scholarship fund, a grandchild? Can I do something lasting and meaningful with my life?”
When our goal is our own glory, we are doomed for disappointment, but when our goal is for Jesus to receive the glory, this gives identity and value, makes our relationships meaningful, gives our roles their importance, and makes us beautiful even as time and gravity take their toll.
Whether we are young or old, the lasting and meaningful thing all of us can do in our lives is to make sure that the banner that hangs over our lives has the name of Jesus written on it… that the things we do, the words we speak, the investments we make — of our time and our energy and our resources– go toward making HIS name great in all the earth.
As women, this is the true answer to our desire to accomplish, and be a part of, something lasting and meaningful. Our hope can’t be in our kids, bodies, careers, or our names outlasting us.
Our good God loves us too much to let us find our identity in anything other than Him. But IN Him, we have a rock-solid foundation, the secure loving relationship our souls long for, and an eternal inheritance that can not be taken away.
It sounds over-simplified, but it really is true:
The answer to every identity question we ask is found in CHRIST.
Grace and Peace,