Graceful Perseverance: Our Identity. . .IN Christ - 08/30
Welcome to this week's blog. Today let's focus on what the Bible says about our true identity. Throughout the Bible God tells us who we are, with great and undeniable emphasis that yes, we do belong to Him. Why does God go to such great lengths to tell us who we are? Because He is our Creator, and He loves us beyond measure! He knows who we are in Him, for which He created us to be since the beginning of time. He created us for no other reason, but for Himself. That’s why we are His. And for me, that’s all I need in this life!
I recently re-read the Book of Ephesians, Chapters 1 and 2. The overarching message of Ephesians is to know and to discover our true identity. Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Ephesians. Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesus believers, and to all other believers in hopes to strengthen their Christian faith, and help them understand who they are in the body of Christ. In his letter, he explains to the people the nature and purpose of who we are in Christ.
Now let’s fast forward Apostle Paul’s teaching to the people of Ephesus, and understand how we can apply it to our own lives today. Just as believers were taught less than 2,000 years ago, we too should also discover who we are in Christ. The good news is, if you are a child of God, then you have already learned to eradicate all backstabbing, gossip, criticism, jealousy, anger, resentment and bitterness, persecution, and judgment because all of these “worldly behaviors” are all barriers to who we are in Christ, and a “dark wedge” to discovering our true identity. The bad news is if you remain a non-believer, your identity is still defined by your transgressions, sins, your selfish and gratifying cravings of the flesh, following worldly desires, and sinful thoughts and behaviors. And sadly, as long as you continue to do these things, and live out your life this way, you will never discover and embrace who you are in Christ. You will never receive the grace to be saved.
A message in Ephesians:
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. – Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV).
Let me take another approach to the question of identity. If I stopped you on the street corner, and asked you who you are, what would your answer be? I suspect for most it would go something like this: I am a doctor, a plumber, an architect. If I asked you a second time who you are, I imagine your next answer would go something like this: Well, I am a father, a mother, a wife, sister. As you can see, I am asking the same question over, and over again expecting a different answer. I am looking for a different answer that is totally unrelated to worldly stimuluses. I am looking for a different answer far more individual and special than your careers or roles you fulfill in this lifetime.
Most of us were raised, and taught to believe that our existence, our being, and our identity is rolled into who we are, along with the behaviors that we display within the societies in which we live. And for those of us who were abused children growing up, we grew up believing we were not worthy of anyone’s love, we were the “unwanted and forgotten.” We were taught to believe we were a mistake, and we had no purpose. In essence, we were insignificant. Sadly, this is a false teaching that has been passed down for many generations, in many families, and by many parents. It is a teaching that has left a lifetime of scars and healing. It is a metaphor that has prevented most of us, most of our lives from ever fully embracing, and accepting who we are, and gaining the Godly knowledge of why we are truly here, and who truly loves us, our heavenly Father.
On the upside of this topic, if Paul cultivated the people of Ephesus with his in-depth teachings on how to nurture and maintain who we are in Christ, then we can also bring his teachings to life today, the very same Christian principles of who we are in Christ.
I believe our individual true identity. . . is in Christ: You can replace the word “I” with the word “We,” and the following biblical scripture still applies to each of us.
1. I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. – Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
2. I am holy and blameless. – Ephesians 1:4 (NIV)
3. I am adopted as God’s child. – Ephesians 1:5, 6 (NIV)
4. My sins are taken away, and I am forgiven. – Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)
5. I will be brought under Christ’s authority. – Ephesians 1:10, 11 (NIV)
6. I am identified as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit. – Ephesians 1:13 (NIV)
7. I have been raised up to sit with Christ in glory. – Ephesians 2:6 (NIV)
8. I am God’s work of art. – Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
9. I have been brought near to God. – Ephesians 2:13 (NIV)
Another recent discovery was the message of a Christian movie my husband, and I had watched this past week. The name of the movie is important of course, but not as important as any good movie should provide, a powerful message. The movie “Overcomer” was a wonderful, true story movie, with some powerful life lessons for all of us. But my favorite lasting scene, without a doubt, was the scene where Hanna Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson) first prayed with her school principal. During their prayer time, her principal suggested Hanna to go home, and read Ephesians, Chapters 1 and 2. That’s it, just those two small chapters of the Bible. By doing so, Hanna discovered some amazing and powerful gifts. God’s words spoken to Hanna, gave her the strength to believe.
Prior to the “Ask Me Who I am” scene of the movie, Hanna did not know God, believe in God, nor did she believe growing up that anyone would ever want her or love her. For the first time in Hanna’s teenage life, she was given the strength to believe. This scene more than caught my attention; therefore, I knew because of the powerful message, I had to share in a blog with my readers this week. I encourage you to watch the movie, but if not, here’s the dialogue between Hanna, a young teenager, and her track coach.
Hanna said to her coach, “Ask me who I am.” Her coach, surprised to see her, replies, “Are you alright Hanna?” Again, Hanna said, “Ask me who I am.” Finally, her coach asked, “Who is Hanna Scott?”
Hanna’s answer is beautiful and wonderful. And all because God was able to reach Hanna through His Word, Ephesians, Chapter 1 and 2. A true story that is not out of reach for any of us. It’s not only a powerful lesson for every teenager today, but also for anyone struggling to find their identity in this world.
“I am Created by God!
He Designed Me, so I am not a Mistake!
His Son died for me, just so I can be Forgiven!
He Picked me to be His own, so I am Chosen!
He Redeemed Me!
So, I am Wanted!
He showed me Grace, just so I could be Saved!
He has a Future for me because He Loves Me!
So, I don’t Wonder Anymore!
I am a Child of God!”
As Apostle Paul’s teaching 2,000 years ago, as well as the powerful message in the movie Overcomer, and throughout the Bible. . .God shows us who we are, with great and undeniable emphasis that we belong to Him. God always goes to boundless measures to show us who we are? And through it, He gives us strength to believe. Why? Because He is our Creator, and He loves us beyond measure!
He knows who we are in Him, for which He created us to be. He created us for no other reason, but for Himself. That’s why we are His. And not just for Hanna or myself, but for each of us, this is all we need in this life!
Blessings until next week,
Debra M. Pauli
Ask me who I am - Overcomer Movie Scene
Premiered: June 11, 2020 / 6,046 views
Scripture Quotes: Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV) / New King James (NKJ)
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