Finding Our Identity in the Nativity

Copy of SD Blog 12-2-19

Acts 17:27-28 (NLT)

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”

We were made for another world and have lost our identity. But God has a secret . . . our identities can be found again.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 years ago a decision was made to leave perfection, to leave a God who loved us and to leave an identity in Him. As time went on, God’s people pursued idol after idol trying to fix the desperate need in their souls to find their identity again.

And today people are still on a search for this sense of completeness. Lost in a world with seemingly never-ending options, none of it fulfills us because our Designer made us for Himself, not for temporary things that perish. And the idols and fake identities we choose don’t satisfy. They are merely creations themselves from fallen man.

Two thousand years ago a baby was born, a God-man, to save our souls and restore what had been lost in the Garden. This baby came to give us an identity in Him that we forfeited when we opted for a fallen, broken identity instead.

Those who had ears to hear and eyes to see understood that they could not save themselves and that no identity and nothing in this world could. Still, many did not accept this free gift of salvation and continued the futile search for life in nonliving things, or in people, relationships, achievements, roles, positions to fill this ache in their souls.

And here we are today. Nothing new underneath the sun. Maybe a little more updated, but the struggle is the same. Man searches to be his own God, to find his identity apart from God, and yet he was made in the image of God.

We don’t recognize that the identity theft on the rise today that we bemoan is also happening to our souls. An identity theft that reaches further than our wallet, to our souls. That place where man tries to find that place of peace and fulfillment apart from His Creator.

Still, our Savior came and He is coming again. Will we see what He accomplished in the Nativity? What His birth did for us and how it relates to our identity?

The enemy of our souls is the author of confusion. If he can confuse our identity, we remain preoccupied with self and miss out on a relationship with God and His purposes for our life. Understanding our identity is important. We need to understand who and whose we are to live a fruitful life in Christ. Confusion happens when we don’t have a right understanding of our identity in Christ.

Identity confusion is even causing people to try and choose their identity. Some are confused about their gender, something that truly there is no confusion about. God made two genders. No in between, no confusion:

Genesis 1:27 ESV,

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

While others try to choose an identity from another race or another age. This is foolishness. God made us in His identity, in His image. We are children of God, if we have accepted His free gift:

John 1:12 (ESV)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Made in His image, this image was broken because of the sins of Adam and Eve:

Genesis 5:1-3 (ESV)

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

But the birth of Christ restores what sin took away. Christ is the second Adam, sinless, who lived a sinless life so He could pay for our sins and then give us back our rightful identity as a child of God, once again.

1 Corinthians 15:22 (NLT)

“Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.”

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𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐟 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐎𝐮𝐭 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈’𝐦 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐋𝐢𝐤𝐞?

10-7-19 What if they know what I'm Really Like_
Sitting in the front row biting my lip, defeating thoughts ran through my mind. “Who am I to stand and speak before these people? I’m just a homeschooling mom with fifteen extra pounds (ok, maybe twenty) that I try to hide underneath my baggy shirt. I struggle and I don’t have it all together. What if they find out what I’m really like?
Shame hides behind thoughts like that, telling us that if people really knew us, they would see that *gasp* we are just ordinary people.
 
But God has a track record of taking the ordinary and using them to do something extraordinary, for His glory. King David knew who he was— a shepherd boy. The runt of the pack, his father did not even mention him as his son when the prophet Samuel asked to see all of his sons.
 
𝐇𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭.
 
Oh, how I remember feeling that way as a child, wanting to avoid being seen, and yet being seen is what my heart so desperately craved.
 
𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡.
 
But instead, I was seen and ridiculed . . . when I was given the “ugly award” and a comb as my prize at a Girl Scouts sleepover . . . when I was a chubby batgirl running to get bats . . . when people threatened to beat me up . . . when I was the last one picked on a team.
 
All of these hurts I carried forward without realizing it. Yet in this moment of feeling so conspicuous as I spoke to the precious women God had called me to speak to, I realized that nothing defined me—not my past, my failures or my successes. And my weaknesses? They qualified me.
 
𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐞, 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐥𝐥. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐤𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞.
 
As Nathan the prophet spoke of David’s present and future, David was overwhelmed by God’s favor and his humble position:
 
“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great, O Lord God! What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like.’” 1 Chronicles 17:16-18 NLT
𝐁𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠.
 
We know our weaknesses and sometimes choose to be limited and defined by them. We know that God is the One Who deserves all the praise. And yet He shares praise, removes our shame and replaces it with honor:
1 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒊𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔 17:8 (𝑵𝑳𝑻)
“𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒈𝒐𝒏𝒆, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒚𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒎𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒆𝒚𝒆𝒔, 𝑵𝒐𝒘 𝑰 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒂𝒔 𝒇𝒂𝒎𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝒂𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉.”
David. The forgotten son. A shepherd boy. One of the least esteemed positions in that culture, made famous by God. But God knows what He is doing. This gift of favor and fame was not wasted. He knew that David’s heart was after His and what David would do with that praise – offer it back to God for His glory:
1 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒊𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔 17: 20, 24(𝒂) (𝑵𝑳𝑻)
“𝑶 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅, 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖. 𝑾𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒂𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝑮𝒐𝒅 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒀𝒐𝒖! 𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒂𝒚 𝒀𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒃𝒆 𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒔𝒂𝒚, ‘𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝑯𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒏’𝒔 𝑨𝒓𝒎𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑮𝒐𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝑰𝒔𝒓𝒂𝒆𝒍, 𝒊𝒔 𝑰𝒔𝒓𝒂𝒆𝒍’𝒔 𝑮𝒐𝒅!’
David sought to use any fame, any platform that God gave him for others to know God as the one true God. The Apostle Paul also knew his own shortcomings but was used mightily by God. A murderer of God’s people, he was not exactly a candidate to be God’s spokesperson:
2 𝑪𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒂𝒏𝒔 12:9 (𝑪𝑬𝑽)
“𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒅, ‘𝑴𝒚 𝒈𝒊𝒇𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅. 𝑴𝒚 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒔 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒆𝒂𝒌.’ 𝑺𝒐 𝒊𝒇 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕 𝒌𝒆𝒆𝒑𝒔 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒆 𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓, 𝑰 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒈𝒍𝒂𝒅𝒍𝒚 𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒈 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒘𝒆𝒂𝒌 𝑰 𝒂𝒎.”
We don’t have to hide the “ugly parts” of who we think we are or look to other fallen people to give us worth. Pride tells us to cover our weaknesses in shame. But it is in professing our weaknesses that we find the incredible freedom to just be ourselves. No more performing to try and measure up to what God has already attained. And self-consciousness disappears when we become conscious of who we are in Christ.
 
Our God knows what we are really like and accepts us. There is no need to worry about someone finding out the “real deal”; that behind all the favor is just a weak vessel and a good God who deserves all of the praise. And when God honors me, I will gladly move aside to let Him receive all of the glory so others will know what He is really like.

Innoculation Against Identity Theft

Photo Credits: www.bhvcpa.com

Photo Credits:
http://www.bhvcpa.com

Isaiah 23:13

“Look at the land of the Chaldeans, these people who have lost their identity!” 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Colossians 1:27

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

I am sure in an earlier time that having one’s identity stolen would have seemed rather odd and difficult to pull off.  Today, it is becoming one of the most common crimes of our day.  Unbeknownst to us, we all might have fallen prey to identity theft ourselves.

It seems ridiculous to consider that we would willingly give up our identity, or forget who we are – nonetheless, it is true.  For if we really believed what Scripture says about who we are in Christ, we would turn this world upside down.  The enemy knows this, which is why he works so hard to distract, discourage and defeat us.  If he succeeds, he is one step closer to destroying us and the world remains lost.  We must not forget our mission.

And what is our identity?  We are one with Christ – the LORD of all the earth.  We are children of God, beloved and cherished by our Father in heaven.  Called on a mission to make Christ known.  We are redeemed, forgiven, and NOTHING could ever separate us from the love of God.

What about the accusations?  Surely some of what the enemy says are true.  But greater than any failure is the love of God still.  We are more than conquerors through Jesus.  Fact.  Look in the mirror and see yourself as a child of God given much mercy.  That is what you are – and God wants to use you to share that same love and grace with others.

It is not just missionaries who are tasked with this calling – but all who are called by God and receive His salvation.  Don’t forget that you belong to Him and He has plans for you.  Rise up, shake the dust off and get to the calling of God on your life – He will complete the work He has begun in you, all for His glory.