A powerful verse that expresses the fuel of our identity in Jesus comes from 1 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control.” God has given us a spirit of power, love and self-control. We are ambassadors for Christ, and God is making His appeal through us for the sake of salvation of souls (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). Our authentic identity is guarded in the mantel of God’s love for us.
As leaders in this world, whether that be in our own households, mission field, personally or professionally, we are called by God to graft our sense of identity into the vine, the bread, the gate, the way, the truth, the life, the good Shepherd. We protect ourselves from identity theft by intentionally remaining in union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus said that He has come to give us life and life to the full. He also said the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10).
The devil is a thief who is after our identity. He is constantly prowling around looking to devour our sense of meaning and worth. His biggest weapon in spiritual combat is to steal our peace, because he knows that God’s work within our lives is limited when we are not at peace. He wants to kill our sense of purpose, steal our identity and destroy our peace. Identity theft is the devil’s goal. Our victory over the devil’s attempt to steal our identity is not by our own might or power but by God’s spirit within us reminding us of who we are in Him: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).
Let’s take a look at who Jesus said He was when He walked the earth and when He was rose from the grave. As we toss ourselves into the following Scriptures, and allow them to come alive within our sense of worth, value and capability, we create a hedge of protection around our identity. Lean in. Jesus never shrank back from His identity. His mission was clear and His determination unwavering: I AM:
- I AM the bread of life He who comes to me will never go hungry (John 6:35).
- I AM the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness (John 8:12).
- I AM the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved (John 10:9).
- I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).
- I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die…do you believe this? (John 11:25).
- I AM the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
- I AM the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
- I AM the Alpha and the Omega, who was and is and is to come. The Almighty (Revelation 1:18)
- Don’t be afraid. I AM the first and the last, the Living One. I was dead, and behold, now I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of Death and of Hades (Revelation 1:17-18).
- Here I AM! I stand at the door of your heart and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20).
I was asked to introduce a colleague of mine during a training the other day. I texted her and asked her for her title. She gave me her professional title and then followed up with this text: “I am a child of God.” I responded: “That’s the only one that counts.” How would you respond to this question: Who are you? Your choice of response will indicate if you are vulnerable to identity theft. The drug of approval is a slippery little serpent that hijacks our identity into our title, position, to-do lists and reputation. It renders us vulnerable to rising and falling depending upon how the world judges us at that moment in time, as well as how we judge ourselves: I have worth and value if and when. With and in Jesus, our identity remains intact all the time because of God’s love for us.
“Sweet Jesus, protect my identity from the shiny objects of the world. Expand my ability to control my thoughts of self-defeat, judgment of self and others that render me incapable of accessing the strength and power of the Holy Spirit within me, reminding me that I belong to you as your ambassador. Help me to live my life backwards…doing, saying, creating those things that bring glory to you so that at my last breath, I will hear the sweet words of ultimate success in life: “well done, my good and faithful servant, you remembered who you are, what you are capable of & why, with the gift of each new dawn your heart continued to beat.”
Reread the declarations of who Jesus proclaimed He was and is around His identity, listed in this article. Memorize one or two of these Scriptures a week. Hook your identity to the Word of God as you invite the Holy Spirit in to help you respond to Jesus’ invitation to: come, believe, follow, enter, receive and remain.
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