Quote on identity with purple background

As we grow in Christ, we begin to discover who we truly are, and our actions necessarily follow. Living deeply rooted in our Christ-centered identity does much more than simply build our confidence. It also greatly impacts how we respond to others and provides a powerful insulator against sin. In each moment, we are living as a deeply loved child of God, held secure by Christ, or as an orphan forced to fight through life on our own. We can act as if we have to prove ourselves, or we can rest in who we are, all God’s done, and all He’s promised yet to do.

When I first sensed God calling me into ministry, I was plagued by insecurity. While I knew, intellectually, God alone was my Savior and Lord, I routinely lived as if I held those titles. My mental role reversal caused me to strive rather than surrender and to see every challenge as a threat instead of opportunities to experience God’s care. I responded to financial and health threats in a similar manner—acting as if abandoned and forced to navigate a harsh world on my own.

This inevitably led to unloving, harsh, and self-centered behavior that hurt others and hindered my intimacy with Christ. Increased freedom came when I progressively found myself in Him.

I belonged to Christ, purchased with His very life. To free me from hell, yes, but also to bridge the gap my sin had wedged between us. In other words, the God of all creation, of infinite wisdom and power, suffered and died to forge an intimate, inseparable, soul-deep bond with me. To turn one of His enemies into His adopted child.

I’m never alone. My Daddy, who’s bigger and greater than anything that could ever come against me, stands ready to come to my aid.

No matter the circumstance or threat, I can relax, knowing God remains with me, has God's plans won't fail on purpose backgrounda plan for me, and will perfect all that concerns me. Those truths provide powerful armor I can sink deeply into when temptations hit.

Without that armor, I invite attack.

Notice the tactics Satan used when tempting Jesus.

And the tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for it is written …” (Matthew 4:3-6, ESV, emphasis mine).

It’s as if he’s mocking Jesus, saying, “If You really are who You say You are …”

When I’ve experienced something similar, I often felt compelled to prove myself. Not Jesus. Instead, He calmly but firmly spoke truth, repeating, “It is written …”

Jesus knew who He was and Who had called Him. Everything else was irrelevant. Everything else is irrelevant to us as well. Regardless of what we face or how others treat us, you and I belong to the God who formed us, loves and redeemed us, and calls us to greatness. We have nothing to prove and no reason to fight for control. We simply need to sink more deeply in who we are and all the blessings and provisions available to us as daughters of Christ.

Let’s talk about this! How has identity-confusion led to sin in your life? What is one way you can anchor yourself more securely in your true identity? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

graphic for Faith Over Fear episode 41If you’re a parent of a kiddo aged 11-18, I encourage you to listen to the latest Faith Over Fear episode titled Courage to Fight for Our Kids.

And, mamas of girls, make sure to sign up for Wholly Loved’s virtual mother-daughter conference. Find out more HERE. And make sure to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

For those following the chronological, New Testament Bible reading plan …

ballerina with words from post

We can’t live like a queen while prancing through the pig sty, and make no mistake, you and I are royalty of incredible value. Realizing this, living in this truth, changes everything—our behavior, perceptions and interactions. This reality necessarily leads to freedom, just as surely as failure to grasp this truth results in slavery.

Years ago, our family opened our home to a young woman who hadn’t a clue who she was.

She believed she held no worth outside of her looks and whatever attention she gained from boys. She received what she sought, at least, on a surface level. Her phone constantly lit up with messages from young men who spoke charming words in the moment, only to use her. And though her friends bathed her in compliments, her emptiness remained.

What might you have done, had you been me? Corrected or rebuked her? Assigned harsh consequences designed to scare her into acting appropriately?

That’s often how we respond, to others and ourselves, when we fail to live as God desires. And while I understand, as parents or teachers, sometimes we must apply the stern hand of discipline. But I also know, from experience and Scripture, true change goes much deeper.

I’m convinced Christianity is less about becoming and more about unveiling who we truly are; who we were created to be. It’s like, prior to Jesus, we’ve all suffered from a case of mistaken identity. We’ve allowed all the voices of the world to confuse and define us, leaving us insecure and bruised. But as we draw closer to Christ, He whispers to our hearts, “That, my child, is not who you are, who I created you to be. You’re mine. You’re loved, fully and eternally. A creature of inexpressible value, hand-crafted in My image, to shine as a beautiful reflection of me.”

In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness …” In the original Hebrew, “Let us make mankind as Our shadow …”

When my daughter was young, she loved making her shadow dance and jump. When she skipped, her shadow did as well. It twirled as fast or as slow as she did, remaining, forever connected to her, the form it represented. The greater the light, the stronger and more defined her shadow. Similarly, as the light dimmed, her shadow faded.

In other words, we discover our truest selves not by chasing after success, accolades, or approval. To the contrary. That will only blur our edges and distort our true beauty. We find ourselves in the One who loves us, image of woman gazing toward the hills with a quote pulled from the postknows us, and called us to forever shadow Him.

The apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, understood this. When speaking to the ancient Ephesians he recognized heir behaviors and weaknesses, absolutely. But he saw their Christ-centered identity first. God their Father had called them out of the pig sty and to Himself. And lest they feel tempted to prance back to the muck they’d once danced in, Paul reminded them, emphatically, “That is not who you are!”

He told them they were God’s holy people (v. 1). They were far from lacking, for they were abundantly blessed. They weren’t rejected or cast aside. To the contrary, they were chosen by the supreme Creator Himself. They were to shake off the memories of every slimy pit they’d once fallen into, for God had declared them holy and blameless, redeemed and forgiven.

That was their true identity. Their challenge, then, was to learn to live in that reality. They needed to learn to live in grace as children of grace.

We do as well, because identity changes everything, and Christ paid much too high a price for you and I to ever go tiptoeing through the pig sties again.

So how do we do this? By allowing God to change the way we think until our thoughts mirror His, because His thoughts always lead us toward His love and truth. He always leads us toward the absolutely best versions of ourselves. May we never accept the cheap substitutes our world tries to force upon us ever again.

If you’re struggling to live anchored in your true identity, you might find my conversation with Grace Fox in my sixth podcast episode, Moving Past the Fear of Insignificance helpful. You can find it HERE.

Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

Additional resources:

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

Reclaiming Our Identity, video presentation, session one in the Becoming His Princess Bible study.

Anchored and Secure: Sixty Days of Resting in Grace

Thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t have to stress, strive, or perform. We simply need to rest in what Christ has already done. That is when we begin to come alive and find the power and courage to live as He intended. That’s when we experience true and lasting freedom. This sixty-day devotional helps women reflect on God’s grace and the freedom of living deeply anchored in Him.