Have you ever been distracted? I do my best not to text and drive, mainly because I don’t want screenshots of my last text being used as a don’t text and drive commercial. But, there are other times when I do get distracted while driving. For instance, when I’m scrolling through podcasts, trying to find something I want to listen to at the moment. There have been times, when I’ve been distracted for so long, that when I actually start paying attention, I don’t know how I got where I am. I’m sure you never do that.
The enemy would love nothing more than to distract us. If he can keep us focused on unimportant things, we won’t have enough energy to focus on God. And, if he can distract us at the very foundation of our being, then he can get everything else in our lives spinning in the wrong direction.
Just like we can get so distracted while driving that we end up somewhere not remembering how we got there, there are levels of distraction in our lives that can cause us to end up places we never intended to get to. This is what happens when we let ourselves get distracted on the foundational level of our identity.
This is the big struggle we see happening in society today. So many of us are being led to believe our identity is wrapped up in fleshly things. So many think their identity is in their sexuality. “I’m straight.” “I’m gay.” “I’m transgender.” So many other think their identity is in their profession. “I’m a pastor.” “I’m a banker.” “I’m a stay at home mom.”
We put all out effort into “becoming” that thing we claim we are, and yet it never satisfies us. We still find ourselves trying to become “it” more and more. Until one day, we realize, “it” is never going to fulfill us the way we had hoped. So, we abandon it in pursuit of another “it”. Maybe this one is the one. And it isn’t. And it never will be because it can’t be.
So much of the Bible is based on this idea – God showing his people who they are. God designed us to worship him. Our own worth is tied to that.
“What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” Jeremiah 2:5
Whenever we worship (definition: whatever consumes our attention and affection) anything other than God, we lower our own value. We become like what we worship. If we are worshipping sexuality, we will become like that. If we worship career, our value will be tied up in that.
No wonder so many people are so unhappy. When your identity is in something that was never capable of being your identity, frustration is bound to occur.
And frustration, to put it lightly, is the climate of the day in which we live. There is very little peace around us.
The scary part is, even among Christians, there is very little peace.
For so many believers, our identity is wrapped up in religion. Religion says: “I am in charge of my own salvation, I can earn my way to God by living rightly.” And that’s what so many believers are caught up in – trying to earn their position with God. That’s why so many believers are exhausted and get burned out.
If there was something any of us could do to earn our place with God, there would have been no need for Jesus to come. There is absolutely nothing you can do, in your own strength, to prove you are good enough.
What sounds like horrible news is actually the best news.
It’s good news because the work for our salvation has already been done. It was done by Christ when he paid the price for our sins on the cross, when he rose from the dead – conquering death, hell and the grave, when ascended back to his rightful place at the right hand of the father and sent His Spirit of Truth to dwell in all who believe.
Tim Keller says our identity is received, not achieved. In Christ, we receive, as a free gift of God, our new identity. We don’t do anything to earn it, we just receive it. When we place our belief in Christ – belief that goes beyond intellectual assent and takes us to the point of re-ordering our entire lives around it – we receive our new identity. Now our life is “hidden in Christ” and we are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.
So, our approach needs to be one of receiving what God says about us. We need to receive, without question, the truth of our new identity in Christ. When the Bible makes a “you are” statement, all you have to do is receive it. You don’t have to earn it, you just receive it.
Who does God say you are?
You are a child of God (John 1:12)
You are a friend of Jesus (John 15:15)
You are no longer a slave to sin or fear (Romans 6:6, Gal. 4:7)
You are not condemned. (Romans 8:1)
You are a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17)
You are a saint. (Romans 15:7)
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)
You are a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17)
You are righteous. (2 Cor. 5:21)
You are chosen. (Eph. 1:4)
You are alive. (Eph 2:4-5)
You are God’s workmanship. (Eph 2:10)
You have been brought near. (Eph 2:13)
You are a member of Christ’s body. (Eph 5:30)
You are light. (Eph 5:8)
You are a citizen of heaven. (Phil. 3:20)
You are at peace with God. (Phil. 4:7)
You are complete. (Col. 2:10)
How would it change your life if you started living as though you already are all these things? How would it change you, to live from a position of acceptance instead of trying to earn it?
This doesn’t mean we are free to live as we please. Instead, because we have received such a gift, now our lives become about working out that which we have already received. You’ve been given the gift, now you have to work it out. But, more on that later.
For now, just receive these truths about your new standing with God. This is who you are. This is your identity. You have received this free gift of God. There’s no point in boasting in your own ability, but boast in the God who give so generously.
So, you can be bold and confident, because God says you can. You can approach the throne of grace with confidence. (Heb. 4:16). You can be confident in who you are because it’s what God is saying about you. It’s not what you are saying about you, it’s who God says you are. Period. You are this because you are HIS!