ONE VOICE WORSHIP
Artistry. Discipleship. Worship.
Day 7: #nofearnovember (Identity: Part 2)
by One Voice Worship on November 7th, 2014

Identity: Part 2
 
Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post and invested a little time to begin creating your Post-It Note Timeline, or at least a short list of people, events and circumstances that have shaped your life. You’ll want to keep it handy, and I promise that this exercise will be worth your while, and could quite possibly prove to be life-changing!
 
In “Identity: Part 2”, we will discover how the Bible defines our identity. Today’s post is a bit longer than usual, but it’s necessary, so stay with me! Oh, and we’re going to get a little messy, and a lot honest. It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but God’s Word will be the healing salve to our wounds on the other side.
 
Identity is a mysterious thing. Too often, we define ourselves by our profession, our skills, and our accomplishments.
 
All the while, our spiritual adversary creeps into our minds, whispering lies that prompt conversation with ourselves based on false identities rooted in our mistakes, strongholds, perceived failures, and circumstances…

“I’m a recovering addict (again). I’m living in a broken home. I’m a failed entrepreneur. I’m an unfaithful spouse. I’m a victim and a statistic. I’m an unfulfilled dream.  I’m unwanted and unimportant. I’m a widow or widower. I’m a single parent. I’m in insurmountable debt. I’m a hopeless gambler. I’m a liar and a fraud. I’m unemployed. I’m terminally ill. I’m a hypocrite.”

 As if defining who we are isn’t difficult enough, the soul-reaching ache deep inside of each one of us complicates the matter by constantly reminding us of life’s cruelest blows, poorest choices and deepest regrets.
 
At a young age, I began to sense the greater purpose that God had called me to. And while I sought that purpose, I also allowed distractions into my life, subjected myself to the consequences of bad decisions, and permitted circumstances to lead me astray from the path I knew I was meant to walk.
 
At the age of 23, I found myself at rock bottom, scarcely weighing 90 pounds yet heavily registering zero on the strength scale for climbing out of the valley I’d slowly climbed into. The compounding of events in the preceding years: a bad romantic relationship, the heartbreak of having to leave college due to lack of financial provision, working a high-pressure management job while pursuing vocational ministry, the responsibility of caring for my Father during his cancer treatment and his unexpected home-going, and the subsequent responsibility of caring for my Mother after his passing eventually moved my focus away from God and onto the people, events and circumstances of my life. My self-perception, or identity, looked something like this:

“I’m an overweight, socially awkward little girl who was made fun of at the bus stop in grade school. I’m an insecure girl who befriends everyone ( even though they never stay around) because she knows what it’s like to be rejected and alone. I’m not wanted by anyone. I’m a failed perfectionist who’s fueled by affirmation and driven by approval. I’m a scammed ex-fiancé. I’m a college dropout. I’m an irrational dreamer who’s tired of chasing what I can never seem to catch. I’m fatherless. I’m a spiritual fraud and a hypocrite. I’m a depression, anorexia and bulimia statistic. I’m a failed suicide attempt because self-harm didn’t work in my favor that night. I’m hopeless, and a fool to think that I was created for something greater than this deserved pit I’m in. I’m a disgrace to my church, a disappointment to God, and a defeated Christian. I am nothing.”

The moment that I allowed my gaze to be shifted off of the truth was the moment I gave myself permission to be deceived. (Click here to Tweet quote.)
 
As I’ve said before, how easily I had forgotten who I truly am and what on earth I was created for.
 
Perhaps that description is uncomfortably familiar. Oh dear one, I understand and you’re not alone! Maybe your self-perception isn’t as in-your-face or dramatic as mine. Or possibly, yours makes mine sound like a children’s bedtime story.
 
Regardless, I know this: You and I share the same God-given identity that has been defined and sealed by the blood of Jesus! (Click here to Tweet quote.)
 
It’s ok; go ahead and grab a tissue. Or a few. Oh, and some chocolate. Yes, definitely grab some chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better, right?! Heaven as my witness, I’ve drowned today’s tears from writing this post with a few scavenged Butterfinger bites.
 
Ok, deep breath. Now exhale. We’re in this together, and I’m not asking you to do anything I’ve not already done while writing this. You ok? Good! Now, wipe those tears (and your chocolate-stained hands), blow your nose, and grab your bootstraps and pull ‘em tight, friend. God’s Word has much to say regarding our true identity, and it’s liberating and life-changing. Chin up!
 
The word identity is defined as follows:
  • the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions
  • condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is
  • exact likeness in nature or qualities
  • the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another

The Word of God must be our firm foundation for our identity. It’s essential that we understand Who created us and why we were created. We can’t reclaim our God-given identity if we don’t have an understanding of what that is.
 
Let’s build upon two simple, yet profound pillars of truth:

1. We are intimately known by our Creator who embraces us with an incomprehensible love.

“God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in! Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—    you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!  At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.  Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.  Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!  God, I’ll never comprehend them!  I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea.” – Psalm 139:1-22 (MSG)

2. We were created for relationship with God, through Jesus, with a divine purpose and role to play in God’s Kingdom agenda manifested on earth.

“…God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)  For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  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 2:4-10 (NLT)

If we revisit the definition of identity, we’ll see that these truths beautifully illustrate its meaning:

  •  the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions

TRUTH: God’s love for us is constant and inescapable, and is independent of our feelings, circumstances, or spiritual proximity to Him.

  • condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is
  • exact likeness in nature or qualities
  • the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another

TRUTH: God infused us with His DNA at the very moment He thought us into existence, before we had even lived one day of physical life. Jesus’ death and resurrection raises us from our spiritual death into new life, saving us from the eternal consequences of our sin nature.Not only are we a divine creation, but we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

TRUTH: God sculpted us from “nothing” into “something” - His unique masterpiece – carefully shaping us to fulfill a magnificent destiny before the beginning of time. We are God’s handiwork, a Kingdom ambassador purposed to tell our story of His grace and kindness through the good things He has empowered and entrusted us to accomplish for His namesake.

Reading these truths, I am absolutely wrecked and consumed by the magnitude of God’s love for me.  (Click here to Tweet this quote.)
 
Dear one, embrace who you really are: known, loved, wanted, and purposed by God.
 
Promises – (see above)
Psalm 139:1-22
Ephesians 2:4-10
 
Prayer – "Identity"
Lord God, I am humbled and overwhelmed by Who you are, and who I am in you. I am wrecked and consumed by the magnitude of Your love for me. There is no need to fear You, for You are my Creator. You thought of me. You love me. You have forgiven me. You created only one me. You fashioned every fiber of my being with Your love and set me on earth for such a time as this to accomplish marvelous and wondrous things that I could never fulfill on my own, nor could anyone else on my behalf. You have entrusted and empowered me with a unique, personalized assignment for Your namesake. Oh Father, I acknowledge that I am not my own, but that I wholly belong to You, my Creator. I confess that apart from You, I am nothing, and can accomplish nothing. I place my life back into Your hands in this very moment. I embrace Your definition of who I really am, for only the Creator can define the workmanship of his hands. Your Word says that I am known, I am loved, I was created for relationship with you, and purposed to do great things. This, sovereign God, is who I am: known, loved, wanted, and purposed. In Jesus’ name, amen.
 
Worship
“I Can Just Be Me” by Laura Story (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zeoqkwsmph0)
“Greater” by Mercy Me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98hWI6T4Qqk)



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