The word ‘Identity’ seems like a towering word to me. Even though I know what it means and have heard many sermons about it, I still cannot comprehend the importance of identifying it.
I mean, I know who I am. When I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I was given the right to become a child of God (John 1:12). I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
But why do I need to know this – that’s what leaves me hanging. I know that the answer to this is so obvious to others, and that’s what makes me struggle all the more. How come it is so clear to others but not clear to me?
In one of Sadie Robertson’s speaking engagements, she said that there are two important things in life that we all have to personally figure out: identity and purpose – who you are and what you are here for. I understand how identifying your purpose is like a compass – directing you to where you should go and what you should do. Personally, I know that my purpose here on earth is to know Jesus more, be like Him and make Him known. This purpose keeps me going every day. It helps me with my day-to-day decision-making and directs me to how I should spend my time, energy and treasures.
But I could not grasp how identifying your identity is as important as identifying your purpose. I prayed about this already and told God how not being able to understand it bothers me. I have also asked my mentor about this. Like Paul, she would constantly teach and remind me of the answer, according to God’s word (e.g., 1 Peter 1:6 and Colossians 1:22), every single time.
But I remained hanging.
God used two simultaneous events recently to help me figure this concern out — a church gathering and the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The first activity during the church gathering was to spend time with God’s word in small groups of three. We read and reflected on the first chapter of Colossians. My personal reflection that time was to not give up and be stressed out on loving other people. I should be “strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that [I] may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11), instead of relying on my own strength. One of my group mates also encouraged me to not give up on others because Christ never gave up on us.
As my second group mate was sharing her thoughts on the passage, she said something like this: “I realized that the reason why we should always be reminded of who we are is for us to always come back to God. Whenever we feel like we cannot move on from a mistake, knowing who we are can get us reminded that God sees us on the basis of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. He no longer sees our imperfections; He sees the perfection of Christ in us.”
I did not tell her anything about my questions on identity. She does not know I was looking for answers. But God used her to reveal to me what I have been looking for.
The reason why I should embrace my identity as a child of God is because it serves as the core of my convictions, perspectives, standards, actions and even purpose. I won’t know where I am going if I do not firmly know who I am and to Whom I identify with.
I am a child of God.
Finally, FINALLY, it makes sense!
And just when I thought I already know the answer, God still led me to a closer understanding of it.
Around lunchtime, an officemate sent me a text message. “Serena just arrived at the wedding”, she said. I was clueless, so I asked, “What wedding?”. She replied, “Where have you been? Today is the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.”
I knew they were getting married but I did not know it will be on May 19th. Intrigued, later that day, I browsed the details of their wedding online. I read articles after articles including how they met, who Harry is, who Meghan is, their family backgrounds, and even the most trending topics behind their relationship.
Then, because of browser algorithm, I came across a video, “This is Why Prince William and Duchess Catherine Don’t Hold Hands in Public”.
I thought, “Wait, why not? They are married.”
The reason why Prince William and Duchess Catherine minimally display their affection publicly is because they are royals who happen to serve professionally as working representatives of the British Monarchy as well.
This was a light bulb moment.
In a world where intimate affection (amongst couples and even non-couples) is blatantly displayed in the media, they are set apart. Why? Because they are not just anyone in this world, they are royals.
It is not a royal protocol but a personal conviction/decision made out of who they are and who they identify with — royals.
In a world where earthly things are becoming more important than eternal things, I am set apart not because of any protocol but because of who I am and who I identify with. I am not just anyone of this world, I am a child of a living God not because of anything I did but of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
Just as the identity of Prince William and Duchess Catherine is attached to their family’s royal genealogy as dictated by tradition; my identity is attached to the King of all kings and Lord of all lords (Revelations 19:16) as dictated by God’s word.
Embracing such fact keeps me sane and firm no matter the circumstance. The reason why I need to value who I am is because it will dictate my worth as a person. If I identify myself based on what I do or cannot do, or what the world thinks I am or should be, I would always feel the need to find my worth in external circumstances and temporary things. But because my identity is in Jesus, I can always be thankful, joyful and content.
Because of my identity in Christ, my citizenship has also changed. I am now a citizen of Heaven eagerly waiting for Jesus’ return (Philippians 3:20).
The question now is, Am I representing my Father well? Like how Prince William or Prince Harry represents Prince Charles and Princess Diana, even Queen Elizabeth II, how am I representing my Father in Heaven in my thoughts, words, action and character?
Am I a face-palm or a fist-pump?
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:20
I then realised that is one thing to know your identity and understand why you have to know it, and it is another thing to live by it. I believe that God answered my questions for the purpose of giving me chance to re-evaluate my moment-by-moment choices as His ambassador.
His answer led me to reflection, repentance and rejoice.