Do You Know Your Identity In Christ?
Good things do come in small packages. Jesus taught using stories called parables, and some of them are quite short– but incredibly potent. An example is the parable of the wise and foolish builders. It’s only four verses, but it’s packed with a powerful truth:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).
The lesson is pretty obvious. The house is your life, and it must be built on the right foundation. Jesus gives two choices: the sand is the ways of the world, and He Himself is the rock. One foundation brings destruction, the other brings salvation. It’s a brilliantly simple analogy.
Jesus even tells us how to build the proper foundation for our life: “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice.” We must hear and believe what He says.
This is especially important when it comes to the issue of our identity. I believe many people today are floundering because they really don’t know who they are. It’s crucial that every Christian knows what God has to say about them, and we can find some wonderful insights on this in Psalm 139, written by David. Let’s take a close look at what God says to us here.
Identity Insight #1: God Knows You And Loves You
The opening verses illustrate an intimate relationship between God and man:
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:1-6).
We see right away how closely God is connected with us. He has “searched” us, and knows everything about us. Everything! He knows everywhere we go, everything we think and speak and do. That’s about as inclusive as you can get! Nothing about you is hidden from God.
For those building on sand, these words may feel uncomfortable. But God is reassuring us of His infinite love and care. His attention is always on us. You’re always on His mind! Some may think, “God’s forgotten me” — but that’s just not possible. He inhabits every moment of your day. He knows, He loves, He cares. Why else would He pay such close attention to you?
There’s something else here, in verse 5: “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” To hem in is to place boundaries around something. Think of a fence around a field. There’s a reason that fence is there. God’s law and commandments are not meant to rob us of pleasure; they are there for our protection. God wouldn’t set those boundaries in place if He didn’t care for us. But there’s more: “you lay your hand upon me.” This speaks of personal guidance or warning, like a hand upon the shoulder. Unlike mere animals, humans have been given a conscience, a godly GPS through which the Holy Spirit guides and warns us– one more indication of the incredible love God has for us.
How can it be that the almighty God of the universe has such care for us? It’s hard to accept, much less comprehend. But God’s Word confirms this over and over. No wonder David said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” God loves you– He really, really does!
Identity Insight #2: God Will Never Leave You
There are times in everyone’s life when circumstances become overwhelming and we are tempted to think that God has abandoned us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at the next verses:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:7-12).
Notice the extremes: heaven and the depths (or hell), light and darkness. These are as far apart as you can get. And yet God is still there. We may wander away from God, but He will never desert us. Even in those desperate times when we don’t feel His presence, He is there. Throughout Scripture, God tells His people over and over, “Fear not, for I am with you.” Jesus told His disciples, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Think of it! You are never forgotten, never abandoned, never alone. He is always there for you, no matter what. This is God’s promise to you, and He will keep it through eternity.
Identity Insight #3: You Are God’s Special Creation
One of the greatest deceptions Satan has ever put upon man is the theory of evolution. Several generations have been taught that science has proven we appeared merely by chance, and that we are no more than animals. Schools have dropped the term “theory” and teach evolution as indisputable fact.
Believing this falsehood has an enormous impact upon our identity and behavior. It denigrates who we really are, insisting there is no separation between man and animals. It denies the existence of both God and morality, and negates any need for a Savior.
God’s truth about our origins is clearly expressed in Psalm 139:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand– when I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 139:13-18).
You are not here by accident. You were purposely planned and created by God. God has given you a spirit (your “inmost being”) designed to live forever. You are made in His image (Genesis 1:27), fearfully and wonderfully made. Before your body was even formed, God looked at you and saw what you could become. He has written down every day of your existence. You are worth so much to Him that He sent His only Son to die on the cross for you, redeeming you from the curse of sin so that you can spend all of eternity with Him.
Evolution says you are nothing. The God who created the universe and everything in it says you are everything to Him. Accept the truth of who you really are: a special creation of God, someone of infinite worth. You’re someone special!
Identity Insight #4: The Choice Is Yours
The next set of verses in Psalm 139 may seem jarring at first. Up to this point the tone has been overwhelmingly positive, but that shifts abruptly with the nineteenth verse:
“If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies” (Psalm 139:19-22)
When you are called to witness in court, you swear to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” That’s what you get with God’s Word, and here the psalmist acknowledges that there is both good and evil in the world. That wasn’t God’s intent, of course; sin and death entered the world at the fall of man, and we’ve lived in a broken world ever since. We are all broken and in need of a Savior.
Notice that there’s no gray in these verses. Everything is presented in stark black and white. You’re either on the side of good or the side of evil. There is no in-between. A definitive choice has to be made: which side are you on?
Some people say, “I can’t believe in a God who would send people to hell.” The truth is that God never created hell for man; it was created as the final destination of Satan and the fallen angels (now demons) who followed him in rebellion against God. God is without sin, and those who spend eternity with Him in heaven must also be free of sin. When someone accepts Christ as their Savior, they receive His righteousness and their eternal destiny will be heaven.
But those who won’t accept Jesus as their Savior cannot enter heaven with their sin. So unfortunately, they have only one other possible destination. It’s not God who sends them there– it’s their own sin.
God gives man a free will, which means He leaves the choice with us. Jesus gives us the opportunity to have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life– but we have to choose whether or not to accept His gift of salvation.
Good or evil– which will you choose?
Identity Insight #5: God Will Guide You
We come now to the end of Psalm 139, which concludes with a prayer that we would do well to pray:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
This is not a prayer of salvation. Jesus wants to be both Savior and Lord. Many people have responded to an altar call and said the sinner’s prayer– but sadly, not much in their life changes, because they’ve never taken the second step. They’ve never asked Him to be their Lord. They are still in charge of their life, so they continue to make the same bad decisions and choices they’ve always made.
Asking Jesus to be your Lord as well as your Savior means submitting yourself to His evaluation and guidance. It means accepting His correction and changing direction as He leads you. Notice that the psalmist asks God to search him, test him, lead him. It’s your choice. Will you live for Him, or for yourself? Will you go His way, or yours?
God knows your anxious thoughts, and your offensive ways. He will bring you forgiveness and freedom and peace– if you’ll let Him. When you know your identity in Christ, when you know who you really are and who God is, when Jesus is both Savior and Lord– only then will you start living the transformed life. And believe me– it’s a wonderful life!
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“5 Things You Need To Know About You” http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-you
“Hello, My Name Is…?” http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/hello-my-name-is