If there is one thing people fear, it is identity fraud and theft. Even here in China, identity theft is very real. There have been stories where one student will steal another high school kid’s identity and entrance exam scores. The thief then uses the stolen identity to go to a good college while the other is left behind. However, a person stealing our information is not the only kind of identity theft. It is often something we do every day of our lives – taking and replacing our own identity in Christ.
Identity in Christ is the most foundational doctrine to victoriously living out the Christian life. Understanding who we are and our position in Christ helps us deal with all the issues we face in life as well as helping us understand and defeat sin in our lives. But it is also the doctrine that we continually work to or try to replace in how we live.
Identity thieves aren’t the only ones looking for identity
The truth is, we all look for identity in something – our careers, our status as parents, our homes, our families or millions of other things. All of which usurp the rightful status of being a child of God and all the blessings that come with it. We too often seek identity in everything but Christ. This is not just true of all believers, including those in full-time ministry.
The disciples who were constantly with Jesus even had this problem. We read how they argued multiple times about who was the greatest. Although the Bible authors did not record the conversation, we can imagine they compared their accolades, how long they had been with Jesus, who had spent the most time with Jesus and so on. I have learned more and more that just as these disciples argued about who was the greatest, even now, we ministers of the Gospel do the same.
We all try to be the greatest. It may not be that we argue amongst ourselves about this, but we do in our minds. We compare how much we have done compared to others. We check off how we accomplish more for Jesus than others or how God uses us more than others. And in all of this, we lose our true identity. We think that our service to God makes us more valuable to Him and gives us more worth.
Christ must be our identity
The truth is that according to God, we all have equal status. He has equally made us His children, and equally, have been blessed with all spiritual blessings. Our service to Him, first of all, is not our abilities but Him working through us, and secondly, does not make God love us more than someone who we perceive has not accomplished as much as us.
We must have our identity rooted and grounded in the One who has saved us and used us. God gives us our worth, it is not in ourselves. Let’s not defraud ourselves in seeking our identity in lesser things, things which include ministry.