What does it mean to Live Out Our Identity? We function in a culture that is so performance-based that often we determine who we are by what we do. This can be quite significant in our lives when we recognize that the need to be accepted is one of our most fundamental innate needs in life. As a follower of Christ, I am convinced that God desires us to do what we do because of who we are.
Why Do You Do What You Do?
I want to ask this question in a different manner than it might appear at first glance. I am not asking you to simply consider your motives. I want you to think a moment about where your actions originate. Are you doing what you do in order to be seen in a certain way, specifically to gain approval? Or are you doing what you do out of who you actually are in Christ?
When Jesus came up out of the water when He was baptized, you might recall, a voice from heaven spoke and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Father did not say, I will be pleased with Jesus if He does what I want Him to do. I am well pleased with Him because of who He is.
We sometimes speak of having Christ “in us”. In reality, God resides in a believer in the person of the Holy Spirit. It is important, however, to realize that when we become a believer, we are placed “in Christ.” Who we are takes on a new identity. We are “in Christ.” We do not have to do something in order to be approved. We are given approval as a grace gift from Christ. Our successes do not improve our approval, and our failures do not decrease our approval. (I know there are some likely to read this who will struggle here, because we have such a performance based culture.).
When we truly understand our identity in Christ we are in a much better position to “abide in Christ.” (John 15). Our performance is a result of our relationship, not the cause of it. Yes, our performance impacts our “Fellowship”, which is the enjoyment of our relationship. That is not the focus of this blog, but I know some of you are reading and itching to point out how important behavior is. But there is a difference in behavior that is the fruit of our approval in Christ and that behavior designed in order to try and gain approval.
One Example is Seen Missionally.
How much difference would Acts 1:8 reflect if Jesus had said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes and you will begin to witness for me,” instead of saying, “You will receive power . . . and be My witnesses.” The first is an act that is performance based, and the one Jesus actually spoke is “identity based”. Do you witness in order to be someone approved by God, or do you witness because you are someone approved by God?