Jan 6, 2010, 7:41 PM
Has it ever dawned on you that your identity card is not your real identity? It is a way of distinguishing you from other people by giving you a name, giving details about your age and probably where you were born. Your identity card is just an administrative tool, it is not you. Apart from your particulars, there is nothing else it can reveal about you.
Your passport, in essence, is just a safe conduit to let you cross the border between two countries. It tells others where you live or originate from – it talks of your nationality. The attire you put on may suggest where you reside or distinguish you by nationality, otherwise it is just a traditional or national attire. Your driver’s license is a permit that authorises you to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle to enable the local authorities lay blame on the one who committed a traffic offence.
Our identity is much more than that. Some people identify themselves by their trade or profession. “I am a fitter” or “I am a carpenter.” Well that’s what you do – that’s an activity; that is how you earn your living. What then is your identity? Your identity is what you do not say and yet people can define the kind of person you are. Your identity is the way you carry yourself privately or in public that leaves a lasting impact on your interlocutor or audience. How you approach, deal or relate to people tells them more about you than would any identity card.
In sum, your identity is an array of the inward characteristics which constitute your inner man. It is profound, it is thorough; it cannot be messed with easily. Your identity can speak volumes all on its own; it splits you open before your beholder who flips over the pages to admire the intricate and real qualities that make a man or a woman what s/he is. While you may listen attentively to what someone is saying, always listen to his/her body language. It is like an open book.
A NEW CREATURE
As Christians (followers of Christ), our identity is built entirely on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. When we give our lives to him we become equally transformed – we experience a new birth. “To all who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God---children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12) You become born again.
The first time we were born, we had no say in it. This time around we have a say. We choose to be children of God. It is a new birth. With a new birth comes a new identity. The words of a popular song describe our new status. ‘The things I used to do, I will do them no more. The places I used to go to, I will go there no more. The things I used to say I will say them no more. There’s a great change since I met Jesus Christ.’ You become a new creature. The old is past, the new has come. You have become the righteousness of God in Christ.
Furthermore, you are no longer guilty for your past deeds. Our Lord Jesus Christ paid for all of that when he died on the cross. The prophet Isaiah prophesied; “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Paul declared in the book of Romans chapter 8, verse 1 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1)
The identity of ‘the children of God’ - our new title, has liberated us from the shackles of sin and death. We have been made free not to sin but to submit in obedience. As we obey God in every area of our lives, he gives us the strength to go to the very end; that is, to persevere. Our faith level grows as we feed our inner man with the word of God daily.
Mark you, we cannot do these things by our power and our strength but by the Spirit that now dwells in us. “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6) We may look powerless from the outside but from within we are like dynamite. Not only does the Spirit of God live in us because we have become the temples of God, but we are also ‘hidden in’ Christ. (Colossians 3:3) It means we have taken cover in Christ and ‘nothing can by any means harm us.’ “No weapon forged against you will prevail.” (Isaiah 54:17)
If we are not living our true identity, it is because we are ignorant of who we are. A child will play with a lion’s tail thinking it is a dog, because of ignorance. When we know who we truly are and what God has done for humanity, we will begin to assume our true identity. He loved us first before we loved him back. (1 John 4:19) More than that, he has loved us with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 33:3)