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The Power of New Identity

Human identity is best thought of in two ways.  First, we usually think of identity as the unique and disparate characteristics that distinguish a person from everyone else. For example, Clive is an engineer with specialized training in nuclear physics; Edward is a baker with red hair; Susan enjoys swimming and also has an elegant voice. The second way we think of identity is in the sense of belonging. Consider how when a person belongs to a group, we think of that person as being the same as everyone else in that group in some particular way. David belongs to the kayak club, so he must enjoy being on the water like everyone else in the kayak club. This idea of identity is considerably potent because it defines how you view the world and behave within it.  If you think of yourself as an impoverished, powerless, useless orphan then you will distinguish yourself from everyone else in that way, and you will act like someone who is powerless, useless, impoverished, and lacking a father or family. If you think of yourself as royalty, then you will identify yourself with the noble qualities of strength, power and righteousness.

If you are a follower of Christ who is loving Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and everything that defines you, then your identity is in Christ.  And when your identity is in Christ, then you belong to him, and become like him in very particular ways.  First, you become distinguished from the rest of the world that does not know him (1 Peter 2:9). Your identity is royal, priestly, chosen, holy, and lighted! You also belong to the family of God as a brother or sister of Jesus (Romans 8:29)! In fact, you are a whole new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), and God made you into that creature so that you could do good works (Ephesians 2:10). 

This new identity is so strong, and so belonging, that God actually lives in us and animates us in ways that identify us with him, but that do not destroy the elements that distinguish us from every other person that is following Christ (Romans 8:11). This amazingly powerful and loving God makes us like him, without robbing us of the special traits he gave us through conception, birth, and re-birth. In fact, when we follow Christ, we ultimately become the truest, and most unique selves that we could ever possibly be. 

When we fully identify with Christ, God gives us both power and obligation to walk like Christ, act like Christ, sacrifice like Christ, and to do mighty works that glorify God and to shine righteousness into a dark world that has rejected him.  Our identity prompts us to behave like righteous royalty .  

What elements distinguish you from the rest of the world? 

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