The Trumpet Sounds: ‘Identity’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Writer

We live in a world where identity is so important. Personal identity is one of the most important things to understand about ourselves. Knowing who we are, what makes us tick, what makes us laugh, what gets on our nerves, what brings us true joy—those are essential things to name because that understanding affects everything else. Personal identity affects how we look at life, how we deal with conflicts, and even who we choose as friends.

If I were to ask you, “Who are you?” Would you respond with your name, job, your style or hobbies, or maybe the state where you grew up? All these external things may be a part of you, but they aren’t permanent. They may be facts about who you are today, but 10 years from now, many of your responses would probably be different.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have a secret identity that you may not be aware of. Can you see it? Do you know it? Or have you lost sight of who you really are? Have you forgotten who lives in your heart? Your identity in Christ doesn’t depend on your hair color, body type, or which lunch table you sit at. Have you allowed other people to define you? To tell you who you are and who you aren’t? God has already defined you in His perfect Son, Jesus Christ!

But we forget that identity sometimes. It’s so secret that we end up chasing after meaningless earthly possessions and sinful experiences to “find ourselves,” to try to fit in, to try to be relevant. To try and be someone we’re not. Your true identity hides somewhere much more precious than things and experiences. And that identity is eternal. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you’re no longer a part of this world soaked in sin. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. This life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” You’re a new creation in Him; the old has passed and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

Why do we, who have been called out by our Heavenly Father, try so hard to fit in and get approval from a world we are no longer a part of? We will never get their complete approval because here’s the hard truth: If you’ve decided to follow Jesus with all your heart, you’re never going to completely “fit in.” But the world’s approval doesn’t matter. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you more than anyone on this earth ever could. And His love for you doesn’t change. It never fails. And it’s eternal. That’s worth giving up the fight to get a seat at the popular table, right?

I know many of us feel insecure at times in life. But that’s because we keep trying to find our worth and security in the wrong things. In Christ, we are firm and secure in Him (Hebrews 6:19). He’s always with us, and we’ll always have the stamp of approval from Him. We never have to try harder for Him to love us more. We never have to beg Him to stay. Because all those things are a part of His character. His unshakable love is who He is. And as Christians, we’re a part of it too. Once you become a new creation in Him, everything changes for the better. You’re given a new name. Your whole identity changes because you’ve been rescued and redeemed from sin and darkness and welcomed into God’s Kingdom family.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” Not only is it important to understand your identity, but it’s important to actually live life like you know who you are. When’s the last time you’ve looked at yourself like you’re God’s special, chosen child? When’s the last time you have made a decision with the confidence that you’ve been set free in His love and grace?

We can bring our honors, ribbons, and achievements before God, thinking that’s what makes us special or desirable, but they are ghosts in comparison to our identity in Christ. Yes, our accomplishments can be great, but they don’t qualify us for God’s love. They don’t add any value on our behalf in God’s eyes. His love for us is truly unconditional, for once we have our identity in Christ, we become who we really are: Children of God. Take some time to reflect on these truths of who you are and receive them in humility.

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. You may find more opportunities to share the gospel, and Christ will be all the more glorified. Remember who your Father says you are, because it’s in Him where your true identity can be found. You’re a child of the One True God. That’s worth celebrating. You’re worth celebrating. This Sunday at South Side we begin a new series entitled “I.D.” and will be talking about 6 core values at South Side that make us who we are! Worship begins at 10:45, and we would love to see you there!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Minister

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Writer