A man typically describes himself by what he does –and a woman, by her relationships– using their backgrounds, aspirations, heritage, possessions and physical attributes. Over time, these become an identity.
For example, a man might identify himself as a second-generation plumber who now owns the Los Angeles business that first employed him and he has plans on retiring to Colorado in five more years. Similarly, a woman might identify herself as a mother of three (a toddler and two teens), who also cares for her elderly mother and she’s looking forward to the day when her responsibilities are less demanding.
Those identities –the ways we describe ourselves– also shape our core beliefs which in turn drive what we think, say and do.
The plumber sees life through the eyes of someone who fixes problems—often for desperate people who certain their situations need his immediate presence –as though each one is a life-and-death matter. Yet he knows what needs to be done, approximately how long it will take and that their material things are just that, material things.
And the woman will share her experiences of what does and doesn’t work with caring for children and parents –they’ve been the center of her life for years.
Everyone has a worldly identity –and a spiritual identity. We Christians know that we are children of God, but more than that He has made us into new creations –hence the term born again. That new creation –with its new identity– describes who we have become. Once and for all, we have been forgiven, declared innocent (justified) of all wrong doing, made holy (sanctified), adopted as Jesus’ brothers and sisters, become joint heirs of God’s kingdom, given the righteousness of God, translated out of darkness into His light, changed from being God’s enemy to being His friend, joined with Christ eternally as His bride, and so much more.
The old identity –what men do, and whom women relate with– is part of our flesh and it stays with us as long as our physical bodies are on this earth. However, our new God-given identity is spiritual. It began when we put our trust in Jesus and will continue on eternally. Our flesh and our spirit –with their respective identities– are in conflict with each other. The battle in our minds is due to the flesh trying to justify its existence and rationalizing its behavior. But the ways of the spirit cannot gratify the flesh and the ways of the flesh cannot please the spirit.
Our single most valuable –yet least understood– treasure here on earth is our identity in Christ. Until it becomes prominent in our thinking, we remain stuck in the impossible struggle to make our flesh behave. And since it won’t behave, others see us as hypocrites trying to act out the role of the Christians –failing to do what we say.
I cannot urge you enough to learn the verses about your identity in Christ. Understanding who you have become will make a monumental change in every part of your life. It will eliminate trying to perform the Christian balancing act of budgeting time and effort for God, church, family, work, prayer, and the like. It will enable your words and your actions to become one. More importantly, you can be at peace with God as well as with your circumstances and the people in your life.