Our identity is the foundation on which we stand and the base from which we operate in our dealings with the world around us. It is who we are at our core. It determines how we interact with others and how we value ourselves.
Family, friends, teachers, neighborhoods, workplaces, life events, circumstances, and the world around us all provide input. How much of what those external sources say about us, in a very large way has set what we believe, think and say about ourselves.
God has a lot to say about our identity – who we are in relationship to Him and to the world around us. Any place where our way of thinking about ourselves doesn’t line up to what He has already declared and made provision for needs to change. From the foundation of the creation in Genesis 1:26 – the creation of mankind – He has identified us.
First and foremost – we are created in God’s image. Humans are the image of God on earth. God’s design didn’t change when Adam & Eve made their choice to disobey God, but their relationship with God did. When they chose to believe what someone else (satan) said about what God had said and acted on it, things changed. Thoughts lead to actions. There are consequences to actions – in this case the change in the relationship of mankind with God and the world around them.
Christ came and paid the ultimate penalty for those actions to restore our relationship with God. As the Son of God He knew who He was, His identity, His authority, His abilities, His rights, and His responsibilities. As the Son of Man He knew that He had to lay down all of that and take on what men had developed as who they were since the fall – few recognized that they were made in the image of God. They were rebellious, selfish, filled with sin. Even “good” people. When Christ went to the cross He had taken on ALL of the sin, rebellion, depravity, hatred, unbelief – the list goes on – to pay the price required to reinstate mankind to the original design for relationship and personhood that God had created.
Over the thousands of years from Adam & Eve’s rebellion to Christ’s atoning actions, mankind developed a lot of bad coping habits. Chief among them was how we thought about ourselves and others, the identities we created to cope with life and the world around.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow created a 5-tier model of human needs, each need resting atop a more basic one below. At the base level is our Physical needs (air, water, food, shelter, clothing etc.). Upon that level is our need for Safety/Security (personal safety, job, resources, health, property). Upon that is Love & Belonging (family, friendship, human connections). Next is Esteem (respect, status, recognition, freedom, etc). Then if everything else is in place Self-Actualization (desire to become the most you can be).
What this boils down to at the heart of every individual, beyond our physical needs (air, water, food, shelter, sleep, etc.) we need security, acceptance, and significance. In the garden of Eden Adam & Eve were provided with everything they needed, but when they left the garden all of the needs had to be their work to accomplish. (I do find it interesting that God had them leave together – not separating them & making them find their ways apart from each other, but that’s a thought for another time)
The world tries to tell us that we are not accepted, that we do not have any security, and that we absolutely have no significance unless we achieve the standards the world sets. But as we look at the lives of those who have achieved the “success” we see a lot of devastation, broken relationships, and early deaths because the things of the world never satisfied the hole at the core of who those individuals were.
Through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection we who choose to believe, have been set free from the law of sin and death. We are set free not by any actions we take, but by what we believe. Declaring God’s truth, especially when our mind is trying to tell us something else helps to establish His truth about us in our hearts and minds.
So what are God’s truths about who we are in Christ?
The following comes from the works of Neil T. Anderson. I had the privilege of being in training sessions he conducted a number of years ago early on my journey as a child of God. The training and information in his books have been foundational in what the Lord has been able to do in my life. His ministry and materials can be found at the Freedom in Christ website.
I am Accepted:
John 1:12 I am God’s Child
John 15:15 I am Christ’s Friend
Rom 5:3 I have been justified
1 Cor 6:17 I am united with the Lord (One Spirit)
1 Cor 6:19-20 I am bought with a price: I belong to God
1 Cor 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body
Eph 1:1 I am a saint
Eph 1:5 I have been adopted as God’s child
Eph 2:18 I have access to God thru the Holy Spirit
Col 1:14 I have been redeemed and forgiven
Col 2:10 I am complete in Christ
I am Secure:
Rom 8:1-2 I am free forever from condemnation
Rom 8:28 I am assure all works together for good
Rom 8:31-34 I am free from any charge against me
Rom 8:35-39 I cannot be separated from the love of God
2Cor 1:21-22 I am established, anointed, sealed by God
Col 3:3 I am hidden with Christ in God
Phil 1:6 I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (matured/completed)
Phil 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven
2 Tim 1: 7 I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love & a sound mind
Heb 4:16 I can find grace & mercy in time of need
1John 5:18 I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me
I am Significant:
Matt 5:13-14 I am the salt & light of the earth
John 15:1, 5 I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life
John 15:16 I have been chosen & appointed to bear fruit
Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ’s.
1 Cor 3:16 I am God’s temple
2 Cor 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God
2 Cor 6:1 I am God’s co-worker (1 Cor 3:9)
Eph 2: 6 I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm
Eph 2:10 I am God’s workmanship
Eph 3:12 I may approach God with freedom & confidence
Phil 4:14 I can do all things thru Christ who strengths me
Rev 2:17 I will give him a white stone with a new name written on it
These white stones were also known as victory stones. In ancient times judges gave white stones to as a symbol of pardon. Conquerors in public games were also given white stones that entitled them to be supported for the rest of their lives at the public’s expense (Dake’s note on verse)
God has given His overcomers a white stone with a new name. Names have meaning. They have power. For example, my name – Mary Ellen – means bitter beauty. Growing up my father would say how big my nose was – bigger than Barbara Streisand & Jimmy Durante combined – not a pretty picture at least not in my mind. So when I would see in Scripture that God called me beautiful – it was something I had a very hard time accepting. Then after I’d made the choice to become a Christian & been filled with the Holy Spirit I found out that my mom called me Arabella Anastacia the whole time of her pregnancy with me. This name means – beautiful altar of the resurrection. God had called me beautiful before I was even born. Sometimes for those of us who have been broken certain aspects of our identity will take time for us to accept.
In Christ we have new names, new identities because of what He has done and who He says we are. Here are a few:
The Lord’s delight Safe Beautiful Gifted
Chosen Provided for Loved Known
Clean Holy Treasured Forgiven
Pure Your Friend Protected Adopted
Precious Planned Complete Beloved
Your Delight Beautiful Unashamed Presentable
Established Welcomed An Heir Your Child
A Precious Bride Your Work of Art Free From Condemnation
From Paupers to Princes
A number of years ago Kris Vallotton, a leader at Bethel Redding, shared a message called “From Paupers to Princes”. It was a powerful word and one I highly recommend. Kris shared from Prov. 30: 21-22
“Under three things the earth can not hold up under, under four quakes: a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.” particularly the phrase “the earth cannot hold up when a pauper (servant/slave) becomes a king.”
God showed Kris that a pauper is raised to believe that he is insignificant, that he has no real purpose, and that no one listens to him. When he becomes a king he is not careful about what he says or how he carries himself, because he still believes that he is not significant. Even though he’s significant outside, he’s not significant inside. The reason the world can’t hold up under that is because he destroys the very thing he’s supposed to be building.
Growing up there are those of us that are raised a paupers (poor in spirit) due to the dysfunctions in our lives. We learn coping mechanisms to deal with our situations that carry over into adulthood and into our walk with the Lord. Then when the things are developed in our childhood occur you don’t necessarily realize that those types of behavior can actually damage other people. You’re not doing it out of an evil or malicious heart, it’s just how you learned to interact.
When people around us see us walking in the places of authority God has placed us in (and make no mistake! Every one of us regardless of our age or our jobs have a place of authority we walk in. We have people around us who look and see, who watch & listen) behaving and speaking in ways that hurt other it damages both our reputation and how those people view Christianity. God has made each of us to be kings & priests. It’s not arrogance nor is it due to any role we have in the natural. That is why it is important for us to know who we are and how to behave in that role.
Moses was raised in the house of pharaoh. God had this happen because a man who is in slavery on the inside cannot free people who are in slavery on the outside. Being raised in the house of pharaoh enabled Moses to see beyond the basic needs and to administrate on the level to bring the nation of Israel not only out of Egypt, but to be able to establish it in the land God had for them. Moses was also able to train up Joshua to go beyond the limitations of slavery and look to God for the identity of the nation after Moses’ death.
We’ve been given authority because of our identity. You are a prince, a king/ a princess, a queen. You are taking back the king’s territory sent by the King of Glory. The old man is dead, but some of us keep the old man alive and try to follow Jesus as the old man.
Condemnation keeps sin alive saying “You’re a sinner so you always lie, cheat, etc.” It connects your identity with your sinful actions and it says “You are a sinner. That’s why you sin. It is your nature to sin.” Condemnation piles up evidence that never gets forgotten.
Conviction says “Son/daughter you’re way too good to be acting like that.” Conviction asks “Son/daughter, why did you act like a pauper when you are a king/queen? Why are you acting like that? You need to stop that because that is not who you are.” Conviction connects my kingship with my condition.
Because Moses was raised with a sense of his own value, he made sure that other people knew that they were valuable too. Raised as a king, his lesson was to make sure that people in his presence felt valued. Paupers cannot make others feel valued until they value themselves.
The way your carry yourself tells if you are a pauper or a king. What you wear does not necessarily show what you are. It’s not about money, but it is about the sense of nobility, even if someone is not a believer. Their demeanor, presence, how they carry themselves – they understand who they are and expect people to like them and to treat them with respect.
We were already in the image and likeness of God. As long as we don’t know who we are we cannot possess the land we own. As a blood bought follower of Jesus Christ there are things that have already been put into our hands – provision, healing, and relationship, and so much more. People who know who they are – their rights, responsibilities, and authority – can walk into any situation without fear.
In your identity is your purpose. Manifest yourself – that is your ministry. When you manifest yourself you manifest Jesus because He lives in you. Your destiny lies in who you are.
Neil T. Anderson (Victory Over Darkness & Bondage Breaker)
Dutch Sheets (Becoming Who You Are)
Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton (Supernatural Ways of Royalty / Destined to Win)