Challenge, Encouragement, Healing, Identity, Insecurity

Created to be an Image Bearer II

A Thirty Day Devotional adapted from the NEW book: Identity: The Distinctiveness of You – Day 13

I am holy and without blame before Him. Ephesians 1:4

I am an heir of God, a joint heir of Christ. Romans 8:17

It’s about time we actually provide a definition to what we are discussing, what we are in pursuit of.  The dictionary states that identity is “the condition of being oneself, and not another.  The condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities of belief…that distinguish or identify a person.”  (Dictionary.com)

For our purposes, the definition we’ll use is a bit different.  Our definition must reflect Someone far superior to us as human beings.  It must reflect Someone whose image is eternal and of worth to bear.  This identity must reflect the image of the one and only God and the character of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ.  Further and finally, the Holy Spirit of God must dwell within the spirit of the person who claims this identity as his/hers.

Here is our definition of identity:  To know who we are and whose we are in bearing the image, the heart and character of our Creator.

There is nothing religious about this definition; it is fully relational.  It is an identity that relates to the Triune God, the creator of identity through His very own work in creation.  To bear the image of the One who created us can never be accomplished by mere human thought, balance, personal effort, blood, sweat or tears.  It is not accomplished by human effort at all.  It is received.  An unworthy human vessel is baptized in the love of God, the truth of God, the Spirit of God, the character of God, in order to reveal the image of God.

I once heard someone say that if our identity is connected to what we do, then when we do more are we more?  Or said a different way: if our identity is connected to our intelligence, then are those who possess a higher IQ also possessing a greater, more actualized identity?  And, if our identity is connected to our resources, do those who make millions of dollars possess a superior sense of identity?

Obviously the answer to the above scenarios is “no,” and those who are building their identity on these capacities or beliefs will one day suffer loss and the consequence will also be the loss of their identity.  This is why far too many Hollywood actors end their own lives prematurely through suicide even with fame, fortune and notoriety.  It is why billionaires are not necessarily fulfilled or happy in life with their billions.  

Famous author Henri Nouwen once said concerning success, popularity and power, “Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection.  Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection.  When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions.  The real trap, however, is self-rejection.  As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, ‘Well, that proves once again that I am nobody.’ Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’  Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”   (From: You Are the Beloved, by Henri J. M. Nouwen, Penguin, Random House, Canada)

As an heir of God, you are embraced as holy and without blame because you are His “Beloved.” You are seen by God through the cross of His Son. You are without blame because the Son of God was blameless.

Question for reflection:

Have you ever heard voices call you worthless or unlovable? Do you understand that you are “beloved”?

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