Have you ever said or done something you regretted and wondered, “Where did that come from?” The struggle to maintain our identity—who we are in Christ Jesus—is real. Being a Christian can be like trying to keep your balance in the middle of an ocean. It’s easy in the shallows, but if you venture out, you’re soon fighting the push and pull of the undercurrent, with every wave threatening to knock you down and drag you under.
King David recognized the pull of the world to undermine who he was as God’s anointed king over the nation of Israel. In Psalm 26:10, he describes the people around him, “Their hands are dirty with evil schemes, and they constantly take bribes.”
But then with conviction, he declares, “But I am not like that; I live with integrity” (Psalm 26:11). He saw the world for what it was and decided who he would be in the midst of it. Someone who walks with integrity. Someone who does what is right.
It’s important to know who we are in Christ. It’s equally important to find ways, in this push-pull world, to remind ourselves of our God-given identity and to find ways to walk it out on a daily basis. Here are three ways you can grow stronger in your identity in God that you can implement today!
Do things that affirm your identity.
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (James 2:14)
I’m a screenwriter, and in the film world, we’re always thinking in terms of “show, don’t tell.” In other words, don’t just tell me a character is kind and loving; show me by their actions that they’re kind and loving.
The Christian walk is the same way. James inspires us to walk out our faith. Our actions reveal our love for God, showing the world that we belong to Him—and ultimately pointing the way to our Savior. Consider these examples:
- You are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
The Bible says that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). How can you walk that out?
How can you walk rightly in an unjust world? Can you find ways, as King David did, to walk with integrity when the world would pull you towards indifference or worse yet, to side with unrighteousness?
- You are the Light of the World.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells His disciples, “‘You are the light of the world…’” As a follower of Christ, that’s who you are, too! Light to those around you, shining into the dark places of the world.
It’s a powerful visual of who God has called you to be. How can you live that out on a practical basis? What does “being a light” look like?
- You are Kind.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
How can you embody God’s kindness? What acts of kindness can you do that show God’s love to a hurting world?
The world talks about “paying it forward.” I suggest we live with an attitude of “paying it backward.” As the Bible says, “We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19).
What are some ways you can be who you are in God—bright, kind and true—to those around you this week? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Buy someone’s coffee.
- Take extra time to talk to your elderly neighbor.
- Say hello and smile to the high-school kid who passes by your house every day.
Let’s look at another way to be strong in your God-given identity…
Spend time with others who remind you who and whose you are (and inspire you to good things!)
We are to be in the world but not of it. Surrounding yourself with God’s people will help you grow strong in your identity in Christ. Again, King David offers us insight:
“I will search for faithful people to be my companions.” (Psalm 101:6)
Spending time with God’s people is crucial in strengthening who you are in God. These are the people who will love you through your failings and inspire you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus in your trials.
- We Can Inspire One Another to Good Works
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)
Do you have people in your life who encourage you to love God more? Are you part of a community of faith that motivates you to “acts of love and good works”?
There’s a verse in Psalm 18:35 where King David acknowledges that it was through God’s gentleness and support that he became great. God’s people can be the support and strengthening that will help you become all God has called you to be.
Do you have people like that in your life? If not, take a moment and consider how you can cultivate godly relationships that will strengthen your identity in the Lord (and how you can do the same for someone else!)
Spend time with the One who created you.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
When God created you, He also planned a wonderful future for you. Doesn’t it make sense to spend time with Him? It’s one of the best ways to grow strong in your identity so you can stand firm when the winds and waves of the world try to push you around.
God loves you. He designed you with AMAZING things in mind.
What’s even more reassuring is that He will complete what He started in you! Look at this verse:
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)
If you feel like you’ve blown it, you may be tempted to shy away from God. But He loves you and is always there with open, forgiving arms to pull you close, dust you off, and help you try again.
If you’ve been struggling with your identity, reach out and reach up. You can be strong in a push-pull world.
“For in him we live and move and exist.” (Acts 17:28)