Identity in Christ
In the innovation world or creative sphere we have laws that protect the inventor or the creator of a thing, and these laws fall under the field of intellectual property law. We have copyrights that protect expressions and creativity and we have patents that protect inventions. This prevents the original idea of the inventor or creator from being stolen or duplicated without any acknowledgement. Those of you who are in the academic world will relate to this thought, because universities consider it a serious offense to plagiarise. That is to copy someone’s writings and making them your own without referencing the original author. To prove this point further, a Samsung phone cannot tell the owner who made it, that it is not a Samsung phone, the owner or inventor gets to define what it is, and the same must go for us.
We cannot tell the one who made us who we are, but instead, we have to go to the one who made us to know who we are. Modernism teaches people to be “who they want to be!” while God has already defined the identity of man. Genesis 1:26 encapsulates God’s mind when he made us and defined us. It reads as follows “Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in our image, according to our likeness [not physical, but spiritual personality and moral likeness];” The first thing that we need to understand about our identity is knowing that we are made in the image of God. Man is different from every other order of created being because He has a created consistency with God.
God gets to define who we are and any definition that is outside the confines of what God has already said about us should and must be considered to be invalid. The Constitution of every country is the sovereign law, and any law that is inconsistent with the Constitution is considered to be null and void. I believe this must also be applied in our Christian walk; that is to acknowledge the word of God as supreme and above all other words. Any words that are contrary to His word should be nullified. The world does not get to define who we are, we ourselves do not get to define who we are, but God who made us gets to define who we are. He gets to define us because He made and knows us.
Jeremiah 1:5 reads “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you...” God reminded Jeremiah as a young man that he existed in the mind and plan of God before he ever existed in his mother’s womb. The same exact words that he spoke to Jeremiah, God is speaking them to us today. God does not want us to live in this world, as confused human beings about our identity, but His desire is for us to walk in His pre-ordained plan by His own will. This brings me to my second point, that our identity should not be confused with our physical circumstances. That is where we are born, the colour of our skin, the social names we are given, but our identity must be rooted in God.
People who always grumble and show discontent and resentment in who they are, are people who are mostly confused about their identity. When Jesus entered into His public ministry, He did not only teach people about the Kingdom of God or perform miracles, Jesus affirmed His identity. The Pharisees were even offended by this. John records this in Chapter 8:58-59 “Jesus replied, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.’ so they picked up stones to throw at Him...” Is who you are offending those around you? If the answer is in the affirmative, good! Because God has not created us to fit in men’s standards of identity.
The third and last point I want to make, is that knowing who we are makes us secure. When we are secure in who we are, it helps us to lead well, serve well, love well, minister well and grow in Grace. Afrika Mhlophe in his latest book “A Passion for Position: A Call to Servant Leadership” defines being secure as “free from fear, care, doubt, and anxiety. It means to not be worried, troubled or apprehensive” (See p.135) Mhlophe argues further that before anything else in this world, man must make sure that he or she is secure in God. Understanding His love and grace and what it means to be His child. In conclusion, God has called us to be who He has made us to be, He has already defined us and locating the right source for your identity is vital to success and fulfillment.
“But you a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” -1 Peter 2:9