Know Your Identity: You Are Not Defined By What You Do But By Who You Are

Image by Walker4412

Image by Walker4412

I have a confession to make. I got a treadmill for Christmas—last Christmas; I have not used it once. I, like some of you and certainly like most Americans, have made a resolution to lose weight this year. I have resolved to eat better and become more healthy.

Why do we make resolutions like this? Why do we make resolutions at all. If you think about it, the act of making a resolution is sort of a confession that you have failed this last year. I have failed to eat healthy this last year and so I will do so this next year. I have failed to exercise so I’ll do better this year.

Making resolutions is the act of planning to become a better version of yourself. Through your hard work, you can lose weight. Through your hard work, you can get that promotion or find that job. Through your hard work, you can finally kick that bad habit.

Becoming a better version of yourself is a great goal. But this is also a dangerous pattern of thinking for the believer in the gospel.

At the core of resolutions is this single idea, “I can make myself better.” I can become a better version of me.

Christians have a tendency of perpetually putting themselves at the foot of the cross. They see Christ crucified and the sins that he covers, but many leave him on that tree and keep themselves there too.

Jesus came off that cross—he died, was buried, and raised again. Where are my sins? They are gone. All my sins have been removed. When I look back on this last year, do I look at myself as a failure? Do I see how I failed to read the Bible as much as I hoped, or how I need to pray more.

Often we couch these ideas in our identity, in who we are.

The scandal of the gospel is, however, that you are not defined by what you do but by who you are.

Who you are defines you, not your failures or success this last year.

And who are you? You are a cherished and loved son and daughter. No matter how you feel you have failed, Christ doesn’t see you as a failure. No matter how unworthy you think of yourself, Christ isn’t keeping track of your wrongs. 

If Christ really did remove your sin and has forgotten it, perhaps we should stop reminding him about it. We live after the cross, not before. We live after the resurrection, not before.

So it’s time to endeavor to stop endeavoring. It’s time to stop trying to build a holiness that he has already given us.

So for 2013,

I am not pressing in anymore, I’ve been pressed into

I am not contending anymore, I’ve been contended for

I’m not seeking God anymore, he found me

I’m not drawing close to God, we are already in union

I’m not overcoming the flesh, the flesh was circumcised away

I’m not killing the old man, the old man was co-crucified with Christ

I’m not asking him to purify my heart, he gave me a new one

It is time to rest in the FINISHED work of Jesus Christ.


CG Video – Resting in Who We Are Pt. II from Community Bible Church on Vimeo.

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  • Brother JA Son

    I disagree. The gospel is of action. Discipline and strength (Gevurah) are traits of God Almighty, that goes for the whole of the Trinity. I actually think your article is the problem with Christianity and why it is not a world changing movement, to much sitting on the rear end, not enough action, the whole ‘God knows my heart,’ thing…i believe someone said, the gate is narrow, and someone else said, i work out my salvation in fear and trembling. Less Calvin’ism, more Gospel, less Romans, more James. You can make believe your Holy all you want.

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