“Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself” Psalm 4:3
David’s peace and joy in the face of terrible trials and suffering is directly tied to his identity in Christ. Identity is important. So much of the things we do, say, watch, wear, listen to all have an impact on how we see ourselves and how others see us. We shape our identity by things like our race, nationality, gender, sexuality, political party, religion, and so on. We have this ideal identity in our mind of who we would like to be or, at least, appear to be. If we want to be seen as organized, driven, strong, capable, respected, and intelligent, then we’ll do our best to project that identity and hide all the things that don’t fit in that box. If we want to be seen as independent, real, authentic, and original, then our appearance and actions will reflect that. It seems that this has only increased since social media sites launched, giving everyone the stage to present their ideal personality to the world and hide the things that don’t fit.
Here’s the problem: Our identities were never meant to be defined by the color of our skin, where we were born, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the cities we live in, or the clothes we wear. None of these things will ever truly satisfy because we can never really live up to the perfect identity in our heads or the expectations of others.
We fall short.
So we engage in endless tinkering, making changes here and there to try to find something we can be happy with for more than a moment. Our identities are restless because they are grounded in our feelings and emotions, which is like saying they are grounded in thin air. Our identities only find their rest when they are grounded in Christ.
Who does Jesus say you are?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” John 15:19
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:4-6
“who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:14
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
As believers in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, though we are dreadfully unworthy, he has made us a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, his workmanship, adopted as sons and daughters. This blows any other identity completely out of the water! This is who we are in Christ.
But why has God given us this identity in Jesus?…
…Because he chose to.
Out of his own good will and pleasure, for the praise of His glorious grace, he set us apart to be holy and blameless in his sight, eager to do the good works he has prepared for us, showing love to one another, in order that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of out of darkness into his marvelous light.
This is why it is always important to preach the gospel, even to ourselves. The gospel rips all the false and failed identities out of our hands and gives us a new one in Christ. His marvelous light shines, dispelling all darkness, leaving us with beautiful, wondrous truth: That I am not my own. That I belong, heart and soul, to the One who set his affections on me before the foundations of the world were laid. He gave up his life for my sins, and one day, after the work prepared for me here is complete, I will see him, no longer a dim reflection, but face to face. This is my identity. Not because of anything I do, say, or wear, but because my Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself.
“The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything.” A.W. Tozer