As a believer, we are a new person, but we still need to deal with the old nature. Of course, our identity will be linked to what we do, our family, our culture and so on but it is also tied into our character and the heart of how we feel about ourselves. Scripture tells us that we are a new creation in Christ and therefore we have a new identity but it may take time to learn this truth.
2 Corinthians 5: 17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
To have strong foundations we need to dig down and clear out the rubble to build new foundations. This might involve unlearning things that are not true. It will involve dealing with some of the issues found in the page on Life’s challenges. Digging down involves repentance, forgiveness and learning to trust in God rather than yourself. In this way, we gain a new identity in Christ.
Blessed are the humble
There is a truth that we come to Jesus as sinners needing to be changed and with nothing to offer to achieve that change. Jesus said that we are blessed when we are “poor in spirit”. Matthew 5:3 This is the starting point for a new identity. He also said “Blessed are the meek” Matthew 5:5. The alternative is pride which God hates. (Proverbs 16:5).
We need to recognize our own “poverty” and how much we need Jesus.
There is being humble and then there is being insecure. This can make us vulnerable to sin in our drive for acceptance. 1 Samuel tells the story of King Saul who though tall and handsome, was insecure. Insecurity drove him to do things to gain acceptance from people and consequently he was rejected by God as King. An insecure person is vulnerable and will not respond to challenges in a Godly way.
1 Samuel 9:2, 15:17
2 Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.
17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel?
Jesus questioned the ability of people to believe who were seeking glory from other people rather than from God:
44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Insecurity will drive you to seek to impress other people more than God. In its own way, insecurity is a form of pride. There is an answer to this.
The exchange at the cross
Understanding the concept of the exchange at the cross helps our understanding of what Jesus accomplished for us in terms of our new Identity.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Examples of this exchange are:
- Jesus took our sins that we might be forgiven
- He was rejected that we might receive the full acceptance of God
- He was shamed that we might receive His glory
- He was wounded that we might be healed
- He became a curse that we might be blessed
- He was naked that we might be clothed with righteousness
You can’t hold on to the “old self” and have Jesus identity at the same time. We find this new identity only by humbling ourselves at the cross where, by faith, we take our “old self” and our self-reliance. Then, through faith in His resurrection, we take on “Jesus identity”. Sometimes it takes hard life experiences to bring our old self to the cross and to trust more fully in the Lord.
Get to know Jesus
To really understand your identity in Jesus, it is important to first know who Jesus is:
- Jesus is creator God from heaven
- Jesus was born a human and understands our humanity
- Jesus came as a humble servant
- Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham and David and has the title “King of Kings”
and then understand what He achieved on the cross:
Establish your self-worth in Jesus
If you allow people to define your sense of self-worth then it will go up and down with their views. Instead, establish your sense of self-worth in Christ. His view of you will never change because He has given you a new identity. He has made you a son or daughter of the living God.
2 Peter 1:
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Confess the Word of God
It is valuable to confess scriptural truths about ourselves in the Lord:
- I am forgiven. 1John 1:9, Colossians 1:14
- I am not condemned. Romans 8:1
- I am loved. 1 John 3:3, I am accepted. Ephesians 1:6
- He always lives within me by His Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19
- God will never leave me. Hebrews. 13:5
- I am a new creation because I am in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
- I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. Colossians 3:12
- I am chosen to be fruitful. John. 15:16
- I am a child of the living God. 1 John 3:1
- I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature. 2 Peter 1:4
Read and ponder scripture and find more promises and truths about what Jesus has done for you. One of His key promises is to give you peace within.
The character of a “New You” will over time express itself in the Character of Jesus. You will express the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-24 It is amazing to have peace within yourself.
- We need to remain humble. We don’t deny we are sinners.
- We trust in what Jesus has done and so we need to learn who He is. It is a gift of His grace that we cannot earn.
- Understanding who we are in Christ is a process of change that happens over time and with a practice of reminding ourselves of the truth.
- Encourage other believers in their new identity because this is something we all struggle with.
Prayerfully acknowledge the past and confess the truth of what God says about you in His word. Pray a prayer to God something like the following by filling in the gaps with words about yourself: “Lord, I did… and felt…, I believed I was … but thank you Lord that I am forgiven, I am loved, I am precious to you……., thank you Lord. Then make an ongoing choice to believe what God says about you in His Word.