Understanding your identity will impact your marriage! It will impact your family! It will impact your life! Why? Because if we are honest with ourselves, we often feel insecure. When we are insecure with those who know us best, then we feel a need to prove something or we begin to hide something. Those who hide their insecurity best often feel it most.
In my book (Before You Say I Don’t) I commit an entire chapter to this extremely important and potentially life changing truth about understanding our identity in Christ. It is an ongoing journey in my own life that has been and continues to be critical in my spiritual life, in my marriage, and in my ministry.
At the heart of what it means to be a Christian is to receive a new identity. The phrase “IN Christ” is used 130 times in Paul’s 13 epistles. “This is the mystery,” Paul advised the Colossians, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). He questioned the Corinthians, “Do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you – unless you fail the test? (II Cor. 13:5). “It is no longer I who live,” he explained to the Galatians, “but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
We have “all things in Christ” (I Cor. 3:21-23), “all things pertaining to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3), “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:3). We are “complete in Christ” (Col. 2:10). We need to be aware of our spiritual identity as “sons of God” (Gal. 3:26), “children of God” (John 1:12; I John 3:10), and “saints” (Rom. 8:27: Eph. 1:18; 4:12), who are now “godly” (II Pet. 2:9), “righteous” (Eph. 4:24; II Cor. 5:21), and “perfect” (Phil. 3:15; Heb. 12:23). Everything that God wants us to have and for everything that He wants to do in us, is already given to us by the indwelling presence and function of the living Lord Jesus who lives in us.
If I truly understand the depth of the meaning of who Christ Jesus is and my identity in Christ, then my fears and insecurity begin to vanish! Perfect love casts out all fear. (I John 4:18) This truth and the power of Christ in you overcomes FEAR! Think about it…the answer to fear is power! The moment you feel empowered—fear vanishes, and in Christ you have limitless power!
Dr. Larry Crabb (The Marriage Builder) says, “Your own security and significance come from who you are in Christ, not in or from your spouse. Keep God at the center of your marriage. Always keep your focus on Him, and on helping your spouse become more like Christ.”
If you are looking for your spouse, or anybody else for that matter, to find your own security or significance in in life, then you will ultimately be disappointed because others will let you down or are not able to meet your expectations. This means that we need to abandon any image of ourselves that is not from God. We need to stop accepting what others have said about us, how others might label us, and how others try to define us.
Galatians 2:20 has been literally a life-changing truth from me: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. You start believing what God says about you, that he is pleased with how he created you, and that God defines you.”
We are not defined by our feelings, by the opinions of others or by our circumstances. We are not defined by our successes or failures, by the car we drive, the money we have or don’t have, or how our children behave around others. You are defined by God and God alone, and you can be confident that He identifies you as his own (2 Corinthians 1:22).
Beyond a basic need for a sense of control or being in control, we are all deeply driven by our sense of identity, of who we are. We live in the middle of a “me first” individual world, where we place fundamental importance on our sense of individual self. Comparing ourselves to those around us or judging the decisions that others make can suck the life right out of us.
Personal identity affects how we look at life, how we deal with conflicts, and even who we choose as friends. Have you allowed other people to define you? To tell you who you are and who you aren’t? When we find our identity, our security, our significance in Christ, then we are free to love, care for, and serve those around us without any expectations. It is important to understand your identity, because it will allow you to actually live life like you were created to live. It will allow you to enjoy your marriage as God created you live. It will bring joy to your family knowing no one has anything to prove or a need to perform to be accepted.
Neil Anderson (Bondage Breaker) says, “THE MORE YOU REAFFIRM WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity!” When you see yourself as Christ sees you, others may begin to see you that way too. If you are steady and secure in your identity in Him, your actions, speech, and life will express God’s love, God’s grace, and God’s forgiveness to share with others. Remember who your Father says you are, because it’s in Him where your true identity can be found. That’s a GAME CHANGER!