Have you ever asked yourself this somewhat cheesy and cliche question: Who am I?
I know it sounds a bit silly. But, humor me for a minute. How would you answer? Maybe with your name, where you were born, what city you live in now, your family, or what you do. Those are all amazing pieces of who you are.
But, dig a little deeper: who are you in addition to that, in your personhood? You might begin thinking about characteristics, personality traits, preferences, or your faith. Things like: I love Jesus, love coffee, funny, loud, quiet, kind, energetic, like to help, like to lead, insightful, organized, unorganized, decisive, or indecisive.
The list is exhaustive. It’s a no-brainer that we are all unique, and our lists would reflect that. But one thing I pray we have in common is that we are growing healthy in spiritual, emotional, personal, relational, and missional ways.
Today, we will finish our focus on personal health (which is defined as living in gospel identity unique to me). How can you grow healthy in your personal life and gospel identity? Here are 3 ways:
1. Turn to God and his truth when you face challenges and discouragements.
We all know the right thing to SAY when asked “where we should draw our strength” (because no one can say the right “Jesus thing” faster than a ministry wife). I gently want to challenge you to go beyond the few minutes it will take you to read this post to consider your motivations more deeply. Is your identity settled in your ability to manage a controlled life, display good behaviors or accomplishments of your kids and husband, or to create a carefully crafted image? When hard things come who or what is your first go-to response? I can quickly worry and obsess trying to figure it out on my own. But when I pour out my heart to Jesus and look to his word for direction and understanding, my identity grows solid in him. So when life gets challenging, who I am remains steady because he is strong.
2. Live depending on God who saved you through Jesus.
As Christians, we talk about the gospel a lot. But, what is it? The gospel is the good news that sinful people can be right with a perfect God. So then, gospel identity is living dependently on who God created and saved me to be through Jesus. God’s gracious love and empowerment are the standard for who we are. Paul gives us a beautiful explanation of gospel identity:
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law…We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin…and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26
That’s good news! We don’t have to work hard to be good or behave. We don’t have to control situations or demand from others. We don’t have to seek ways to promote an image that makes us appear to have it all together. We don’t have to compare ourselves to others to validate or invalidate our efforts. When we do these things, we may be leaning more into religion than our gospel identity. And, God’s not impressed. I love how The Message puts the next section:
So where does that leave our proud insider claims and counterclaims? Canceled? Yes, canceled. What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade. Romans 3:27-28 MSG
3. Personalize the power of the gospel in your life.
The basic tenets of the gospel are shared with anyone who calls on the name of Jesus for salvation. And from that point forward when you internalize and obey the truths of God within the realities of your life, growth happens. Particularly in ministry, it’s vital to keep in step with and follow Jesus so that it is his power that flows through us in all that he has created us to be.
Where do your thoughts go when the bottom falls out of your life or when you’re weary? There has to be more to life than just our efforts to make it work right. Praise Jesus there is! I hope you’ll turn our definition into a question and spend some time prayerfully considering: Do I live in a gospel identity unique to me?
By Jamy Fisher and Amy Petersen