In Journeying with Jesus #1, I shared a little of how my life has not turned out as I’d anticipated, but rather God has had His own plans (oh so different to my own!). As I’ve walked through life, I’ve discovered…
6 GEMS IN THE JOURNEY
which I believe can help us all to live successful and fruitful lives in every season. These include knowing:
- Who God is (see Journeying with Jesus #1)
- Who we are
- How to grow our character
- How to love others as Christ does
- What our destiny is
- How to trust God and His timing
I pray that as you read today, God will reveal to you more of who He has designed you to be and that you’ll find peace, rest and beauty in that. xx
WHO ARE WE?
Discovering who we are as children of God is a life-long lesson! There’s so much for us to learn!
Throughout my life, I’ve faced various struggles, with both knowing who I am and being able to live that out with confidence.
There have been times when I’ve felt so comfortable in being me. I’ve walked with my head held high. I’ve flourished in living the life God has given me to live. And, on the flip side, there’s been times when I’ve felt like no-one sees me or values me for who I truly am. I’ve had to wrestle with this. There’s been learning and unlearning. Learning that it’s God who created me and gave me worth. Unlearning the trap of finding acceptance in others, who value me only when I:
- agree with them,
- do something for them,
- look a certain way,
- laugh at their jokes, or
- achieve a goal that they value.
Desiring acceptance from others is part of our human nature, yet it can be particularly unhealthy when we place this above knowing our true worth as children of God. It can:
- lead us to places we don’t want to go,
- distract us from our calling,
- limit our ability to be successful in life,
- cause us to prioritise wrongly, and
- lead us into idolatry, and away from intimacy with Christ.
A number of years ago, I (sadly) fell into this trap. A group of friends I was close with at the time, began sharing ‘that’s what she said’ jokes (if you’re unfamiliar, they’re sexual and ungodly – degrading and cheapening sex, masculinity and femininity).
In my heart, I knew that this was not right and that I shouldn’t be a part of it. Yet, at the same time, I wanted these people to like me. So, I laughed at the jokes. Their ‘humour’ became more frequent, my conviction grew. This was not right. It hurt the heart of God. It hurt me to hurt Him. So, after a time, I made the decision to no longer participate in this. I wouldn’t laugh at these jokes. I’d change the topic of conversation. I would limit the time I spent with these people, until I was healthier/stronger in standing for truth and righteousness.
As I did this, these friends pulled away from me too, and ultimately those friendships came to an end. I grieved the loss, but also became so thankful for what I gained – or regained – my views on sexuality, relationships and the roles of men and women aligned with Christ’s vision once more. I became ‘me’ again – a woman after God’s heart – a woman who desires to live upright, righteous, light bearing and life giving, rather than diminished and dimmed. My identity became more firmly established in who Christ says I am.
The question of, ‘Who am I?’ was answered not as, ‘The (insecure) girl who laughs at inappropriate jokes to gain acceptance from her peers’, but, ‘Daughter of the King. Pure and lovely’.
This journey was heartbreaking. I cried tears of repentance unto God, as I changed how I lived. I became acutely aware that we should never compromise our values in order to feel valued.
This is just one story, of many, on my journey to knowing who I am – my identity in Christ.
You too, probably have stories of your own struggles to see and know your worth. It’s okay, beautiful. God knows. He has promised that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13). As we seek after the Father, He will in turn teach us who we are and how to live out our identity purposefully and full of confidence. Our Creator’s truths about who He says we are, are to be our compass, directing us in how to live out the life He has given us.
So, who are we?
- We are people made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and thus, we’ll never truly know ourselves if we don’t know Him. We, much like mirrors, are created to reflect our Creator.
- We are good (that is, we were inherently created by God as good… Our behaviours may not always be good, as we choose these) (Genesis 1:31), and we are fearfully and wonderfully made – His masterpiece (Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10). As such, we are to be respected, cherished, appreciated, treasured, honoured, loved and admired. We should view ourselves this way. It’s so important, particularly as women, that we don’t diminish our worth. God made us beautiful! We should celebrate that! Others too, should see us through His eyes – but, of course, we all know that this won’t always happen. Nevertheless, we need to remember that it’s His view of us that matters, above the opinions of people or the labels they place upon us.
- We are a people created with purpose – called to know Him and make Him known (2 Corinthians 5:20)! This requires diligence and intentionality, as we give of ourselves in order to reveal Christ to others.
- We are seen and loved by God (Genesis 16:13). We are his prized possession (James 1:18, Deuteronomy 26:18). He chose us, and adopted us into His family (Ephesians 1:4-5). If God had a fridge, your picture would be on it!
- We are victors, not victims (1 Corinthians 15:57). He intends for us to live a victorious life, not downtrodden by hardships and trials, but strengthened through Him! God wants to show the world, through us, that He is alive and powerful, as we walk in His authority. We should make Him desirable, as our family and friends see His goodness outworked in our lives. This requires us to be obedient, submissive and willing to do the heart work He calls us to. We can’t be spiritually lazy or apathetic. We can’t live our lives full of excuses.
- We are secure. Titles and roles don’t define us, God does. I’ve ‘climbed the ladder’ so-to-speak in my workplace. The simple reality is, that no height I attained (and the title that came with that role) gave me any more worth. I am who I am, regardless of what I do. Christ died for me, whilst I was still a sinner – not after I’d achieved some form of earthly greatness.
- We are not what we have done. In the story I shared earlier, the devil tried hard to bring shame on me for my mistakes. While he told me I was a failure, God reminded me that I’m forgiven, redeemed, cleansed white as snow, and free from condemnation, shame and guilt. Just as Jesus so kindly said to the woman caught in adultery, ‘Go and sin no more’, so He does the same to us (John 8:11). He knows our sin, but He doesn’t define us by it. He doesn’t devalue us because of what we’ve done. He gives us hope and a future.
- We are present in this moment. We are not ‘one day’ people. Let me clarify this: it can be easy to dream of the future. Future me will be a wife and mother. Future me will have a particular career. Future me will have success in x, y or z. We are not ‘future me’s’. We are who we are, and who we are today will lead us in roles, titles, successes (and failures) of tomorrow. It is so important to establish and build a strong foundation, knowing who we are as daughters of heaven: our future selves will be grateful for the groundwork we lay today (see Philippians 3:12 where Paul says that he hasn’t achieved perfection, but yet he presses on towards the goal…).
- We are chosen by God (1 Peter 2:9 and John 15:16) and we bear a name and identity given by Him. In the New Testament, Simon, meaning ‘broken reed’ was renamed by Jesus as Peter, meaning ‘rock’. Our names have significance – they tell of who we are. I’d encourage you to find out the meaning of the name given to you by your parents, and also ask God what name He places on you. My first name means ‘noble one’, which speaks into how I am a daughter of the King, a princess of heaven! Cool, huh! And my middle name means, ‘lioness like’ or ‘renowned warrior’. Both of these meanings speak to my motherly heart and desire to protect and nurture. They also speak about the spiritual battle that we are in, waging war not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. My names remind me of being victorious in Christ, and of being perfectly equipped (through Him) for the life He has called me to! Powerful! What does your name mean?
To establish a stronger understanding of your identity in Christ…
- Ask, how do I see myself?
- Pray, “Holy Spirit, remind me who God says I am”
- Put truth before your eyes as a constant reminder. If you’d like a gorgeous poster for your home, do a Google search for ‘Who I am in Christ’ or ‘My identity in Christ’- there are many free printables and also those that you can purchase.
- Listen to ‘Who you say I am’ by Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding. The lyrics are beautiful and encouraging – a wonderful reminder on those days when we’re feeling less than.
- Study… I quite like this journal, which reminds us who we are in Him and gives a scripture reference to look up and write about as we reflect on each attribute https://garmentsofsplendor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Who-I-Am-in-Christ-Daily-Affirmations.pdf.
You, my friend, truly are gorgeous, a delight, the apple of your Father’s eye (Psalm 17:8)! Take heart, even if you’ve felt insecure or unsure of your identity in the past, today is a new day and your Abba Daddy wants to reveal to you the truth of who you really are in Him!
Identity tells us who we are.
Character is about how we behave because of who we are…
Next time… Let’s talk about developing Godly character, to complement this beautiful identity that we have in Him!
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (various translations)
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