Has it ever sunk into your heart that Jesus and you belong to the same family? You are even named after Him. And "Christian" is not just your new family name; it's your whole identity.
God wants you to know what this means, because it will anchor your Christian walk and give you inner strength, freedom, confidence, clear direction—and the vision to soar like an eagle, as you were destined to do.
It's essential that we find our identity in what God declares about us in His Word. Let's put our name in each of His proclamations to make it personal. I encourage you to continue the list I've started here:
I am: a child of God (Romans 8:16); a conqueror through Him (Romans 8:37); an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20); His witness (Acts 1:8).
All these things will become a strong foundation for our life and service to God, as we believe them and walk in them as Jesus showed us by His example.
Gaining a Clear Vision About Our Identity
Since God wants all of us to be His witnesses and ambassadors while we live on earth, each of us has a special role in His kingdom. Perhaps we are called to be a Barnabas—an encourager; a Timothy who faithfully serves and learns under an older servant of God; or a Stephen, who is a fearless witness. However big or small our task may be, it's important for us to know where we fit in God's plan.
When we study the lives of those in the Bible whom God called for a specific purpose, we often find that many gained clarity regarding their identity and mission while going through trials and wilderness experiences.
Jacob, after 20 years of scheming and failures, finally came to the end of himself. In the midst of all hopelessness he heard the words from the Man who wrestled with him all night: "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel" (Genesis 32:28). Jacob understood his identity was no longer that of a deceiver but that of a prince. From that moment on, his life changed until it matched what God said about him.
After 40 long years living as a refugee and shepherd in the wilderness, Moses had even lost his ability to articulate well. That's when God told him, "... I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10). Moses' identity in God's plan was that of a deliverer who knew God face to face. This became clear to him, after all the glamour of Egypt had been stripped away and he stood alone in the wilderness before the burning bush. As he began to walk in his identity, he fulfilled God's plan.
Gideon, hiding and scared to death of Israel's enemies, heard the Angel of the Lord declaring his identity to him: "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!" He first thought it was a bad joke. However, each time he stepped out on this declaration with a tiny bit of faith, he found it to be true, and he increasingly gained courage. In the end we see him boldly marching with 300 people against an enemy "as numerous as locusts"—and God giving him the victory (Judges 6:12, 7:12).
Even Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, fasting, praying and facing severe temptations before He started His public ministry. Though He already knew who His real Father was, He only revealed His identity as Messiah after His wilderness experience.
None of us looks forward to facing difficulties, loneliness, misunderstandings, problems and accusations. All these can present real wilderness experiences. I want to encourage you not to let them be an end in themselves, but find in them who you are in God's plan—and that will set you free to soar.
Essential for Survival
Jesus encountered people daily who publicly declared that He couldn't be the Messiah. Even His closest followers were oftentimes confused about His identity.
How was it possible for Him to ignore all those voices around Him and continue His journey toward the cross without being shaken? He listened to and believed only one voice—that of His Father. Each time people asked Him who He was, He confessed the identity His Father declared about Him.
Our confession about who we are is essential for our survival through this journey. We must follow the footsteps of our Lord. We too must refuse to give in to the voices of our mind and emotions and whatever negative things other people tell us. Instead, we must confess, believe and act upon the identity Jesus gave us in His Word. If we do this, we will be able to say with Paul at the end of our journey: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).
Dr. K.P. Yohannan
Founder & Director of Gospel for Asia
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About 5 Minutes with K.P.
5 minutes with K.P. is a short devotional that first appeared in our ministry magazine, GFA World and is written by Gospel for Asia's Founder and Director, Dr. K.P. Yohannan.