June 06, 2019
With my shiny new shoes and a swarm of anxious butterflies in my stomach, I walked into the freshly waxed floors of the uni to my first class.
A bit overwhelmed, jittery, and excited all at the same time, I imagined what it would be like. Will they ask me to introduce myself? Who do I say I am? Should I tell them about my Myers-Briggs personality test result? Wait, are my clothes up to “standard”? Will they like me?
Introducing yourself in class can feel daunting, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned first-day-of-schooler. We often think that the first day sets the mood for the entire school year. And so, if we intend to make it through the school year without being the laughingstock of the class, then at all cost we must say the right words, get good grades, and keep up with whatever’s on-trend. But, to introduce ourselves properly, we must know who we are.
More than ever, people are living with this tension: Society expects us to be different, yet it also expects us to remain mainstream. Unsuspectingly, we become slaves of social expectations and conformity. We become slaves of the identity we get from some online personality test. We become slaves of the image we carefully curate. Still, we are longing to know the truth and are desperately trying to find out who we really are.
The world presents conflicting messages that twist our sense of identity. And, as human beings, we tend to look to things to define who we are. We look at our achievements (or failures), possessions (or the lack thereof), ability (or inability) to achieve our goals and dreams, and the approval (or rejection) of others.
The world says, “Seek yourself, and yourself you shall find.” But God says, “Seek Me and find Me, and you shall discover who I’ve created you to be in Christ Jesus” (Proverbs 8:17; Matthew 7:7).
Everything we learn about God helps us know who we truly are. And in His Word, the Bible, God tells us so many times and in so many ways what our real identity is. Here’s a summary according to Paul in Ephesians 2:10:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Whether we are fully convinced of it or not, the reality is that God made you and I with His own hands, and He considers us His masterpiece.
More than that, we are not some accidental and abstract masterpiece, but we are intentionally made in His image (Genesis 1:27). Each of us is a unique expression of God’s creative, intelligent, and loving design.
We are more marvelous than the most epic and cleverly plotted film of the century. We are more enthralling than the moon, the stars, and the skies. We have been granted the amazing gift of perceiving the greatness of our God!
You are a work of art created with a purpose, intricately formed by God without mistakes (Proverbs 16:4; Psalm 139:13; Exodus 4:11).
When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior by grace through faith, we’ve become a new creation in Him. Our newness did not happen just because we chose to improve ourselves. It was by His unfathomable grace that our new life in Christ is completely new, brought about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God from nothing. Our new identity is the result of our relationship with Jesus—being one with Him. Moreover, our newness comes with the great privilege to be identified with Christ—and a great obligation to live up to His name!
If you are in Christ, you are no longer who you were. You are not your test scores. You are not what you feel. You are not your struggles or your illness. You are not who people say you are. Mercy has come for you and made you alive and new (Ephesians 2:4,5).
Your new and true identity is deeper, more enduring, and more fascinating than any fleeting fad. If you are in Christ, you’ve been liberated from the lies that never satisfies. You are forgiven, redeemed, adopted into His family, and you have been given His Spirit. You are greatly valued by the most valuable One.
We are not—and never will be—saved by our good works. But the works that we do determine what is inside us. More importantly, good works is a result of the new identity we have in Christ. We do not and cannot earn God’s approval by doing good. In Christ, we are already affirmed and approved.
You’ve been set apart for Christ not just to look forward to heaven, but to dream big dreams, aspire excellence that inspires others, and pursue the calling that God has for you that could make a difference in the world.
You have been set apart to lead your campus, community, and the nation through what God has called you to do to ultimately point others to God. You are saved to proclaim—by words and works—the excellencies of Christ to the world! (1 Peter 2:9)
God has prepared a work for us to do beforehand, so that we may walk in them. He has called us and given us the privilege to be His fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3:9). And He has created us uniquely to be a blessing to others. There is a specific work that God has called us to do, and a specific mission field that God has prepared for and assigned to us (1 Corinthians 7:17). Don’t try to be someone else. You were never made to reflect just any creature, but the Creator Himself.
This is who you are in Christ. This is who you are when you don’t scramble to meet your expectations. This is who you are whether you’re alone or you’re with your friends. This is who you are whether you’re having a good day or a bad day. This is your identity.
Know this, and in humility walk in the light of who you are in Christ—God’s handiwork, created for good works to display His glory!