Visiting our local library is among my family’s regular rhythms. My love for reading began with Mother Goose, Little Golden Books, and Nancy Drew. I used to skip recess in elementary school to volunteer in the library. I love being surrounded by books!
My boys frequently joke that when they’re all out of the house, I’ll end up working as a librarian. Maybe so.
A few years ago, I took my boys to the library and watched them scatter to find new reads. My youngest, Ryan, remained near me looking uncertain. I asked him why he wasn’t raiding the children’s section. He said he didn’t really know how to read.
BELIEVING A LIE
As his mother, who spent years teaching him to read, I knew this wasn’t true. But my son believed it and wouldn’t look for books as a result. My heart broke for him in that moment because he believed a lie. Ryan took his sweet time learning how to read, and when he finally did, he was hesitant to believe he could do it. He still identified as someone who couldn’t read.
I bent down on my knee so I would be eye-level with him and said, “Ryan, you’re a reader now. You’ve got to start acting like one.” With an incredulous expression and a slight grin, he said, “I’m a reader?” I nodded and watched him proudly run off to pick out his own books.
Reminding Ryan who he was launched him into action. I didn’t have to beg him to go find some books to read—he eagerly, joyfully set off to do so. He took home several that day and read them all.
WHO WE REALLY ARE
I’ve often reflected on that day and wondered about my spiritual impotence. What lies do I believe that aid my disobedience? How has a failure to daily understand my identity hindered my obedience? Knowing who we are influences what we do, so misunderstanding our identity comes with grave consequences.
For help knowing who we are, we turn to Scripture. God is the author of our identity. For those who have trusted him for salvation, our identity is known and settled. Who we are is rooted in who we belong to.
For instance, I am my Father’s daughter. I belong to him (Is. 43:1). God rescued me from the domain of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13). I’m created in his image (Gen. 1:27). I am known by him (Jer. 1:5). I am part of a chosen people that declares his praises (1 Pet. 2:9). Sin has no dominion over me (Rom. 6:14). I have been saved to obey God so that he might be glorified among the nations (Rom. 1:5). Heaven is my true home (Phil. 3:20). And Jesus is coming back for me so I can spend eternity with him (John 14:3).
As our creator, God alone has the authority to define who we are. The world dismisses God’s rightful authority and encourages us to do the same. The message from our culture is one of self-definition: you decide who you are, and behave accordingly.
If we’re not careful, we’ll pick up these cues. We’ll esteem autonomy instead of glad submission. The world doesn’t get to define me, and neither do I. God defines me. And he says I’m his.
WE ARE GOD’S PEOPLE
My identity transforms my activities. I’m my Father’s daughter, so I think and act like him. At least, I should. But some days I feel like my son walking into a library; unsure and out of place. I forget what I’m called and equipped to do. I’m stagnant.
On those days, I need to hear the truth of who I am and what I’m capable of because Christ lives in me. Maybe you do, too. It’s a good day for us to declare this rally cry: “We are God’s people!”
This is our identity, and it’s a glorious one! It’s gifted to us by our heavenly Father. He’s changed us. We’re no longer who we once were. We no longer think and act like we used to.
Belonging to the almighty God is a big deal! This identity shift isn’t a small one. It’s not a part of who we are, it is who we are. It changes everything. Every day. So we need to live like the new creations we are.
LET’S LIVE LIKE GOD’S PEOPLE
Are you ensnared by pornography? Think and act like a child of God. Repent. Go boldly to your Father’s throne to receive mercy and find grace (Heb. 4:16).
Do you suffer? Your identity gives you courage to persevere, because your earthly affliction prepares you for an incomparable weight of eternal glory (2 Cor. 4:17).
Has your work been overlooked? Don’t be bitter, but bold in your identity. Work heartily for God and not for man, knowing that he is the one who rewards you (Col. 3:23-24).
Are you constantly reminded of your past sins? Because you belong to Christ, you are robed in his righteousness (Is. 61:10). God’s given you this identity—live it!
Our God is on the move, and we move right along with him. We’re not a stationary people. We go. We do. We worship. We give. We speak up. We repent. We love. We believe. We bear witness. We forgive. We visit. We welcome. We serve. We make disciples.
Our God is the great I AM. Because he is, we can. We must.
Hear this rally cry today—“We are God’s people!—and then live like it to the glory of our great God!
Christy Britton is a wife and mom to four boys. She writes Bible study curriculum for Docent Research Group and serves as the Discipleship Classes Coordinator for Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C. She is an orphan advocate with 127 Worldwide and contributes administratively to bring pastor training opportunities to Africa for Acts 29. You can follow her on Twitter.