Finding Your Identity in Christ

When do you feel good about yourself? In this very moment in your day, where are you seeking to find your satisfaction? Is it getting all your to-do list’s item done? When the children have behaved for you during your visit to the store? When people ask for and value your opinion and input? When you are promoted? When you feel loved and cherished by your spouse?

I personally desire the approval of others. I want others to think well of me. And when they don’t, I get depressed, discouraged, and emotional. I crave peace in our home – no conflict, no fighting among the little ones, no disturbance to my schedule. How do I know this? By evaluating my response when things don’t go the way I plan. Does joy reign or does tears and discouragement? You can judge your idols by the responses of your heart.

What is the focus of all these “feel good” questions? It’s self-centered me.

When our eyes are on ourselves and our inner cravings for approval are found in our own doings, accomplishments, and successes, we have lost sight of the gospel. As wives and mothers, it is easy to get depressed and discouraged because we are setting out hope on our own accomplishments, and not on the truth of the gospel. Did my child yell at me? Then I have failed as a mother. Did I only get one thing done on my to-do list? Then I have failed as a homemaker.

Where should your eyes be? Upon that beautiful Savior who suffered and died for you. We must cling to the truth that his love is ours right now – in this very moment – fully, completely, and unalterably ours. His approval of you is not based upon your performance, your goodness, your success…it is all based upon His undying love for us.

We must remember that “God loves us so much that he willingly crushed His only Son so that we might be his and that this love isn’t based on our worthiness or performance. His loves does not fluctuate from day to day. It was settled the moment he set it upon you before the foundation of the world…If you neglect to focus on God’s love for you in Christ, your Christianity will soon be reduced to a program of self-improvement – just one of many methods to help you “get your act together”. Although that may be worthy, it is not true Christianity.” (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

Jesus has granted us the ultimate Valentine, extending a “Be Mine” to each one of us, no matter our productivity for the day, or whether others approve of us or not.

Who are you? You’re his, he is yours, and you’ve been cleansed from sin. And that’s all the identity any of us need. (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

True transformation and freedom of our self-focused perspective can only come as we meditate and claim God’s love for us. When we cling to Him, lift our eyes off ourselves and simply have faith in that love, our thoughts, mindset, and feelings will be transformed. Let’s not loose sight of the gospel!

When you feel like a failure, remember that He paid the ultimate price so that you could be His daughter, His prize, His joy, and His forever. Rather than focusing on the “why this? why me?” questions, let’s ask the real question: why would God send His Son to die for me, his wretched enemy? (Rom. 5:8, 10); Why would he make him who knew no sin to be sin so that I might reap all the benefits of his righteousness? (2 Cor. 5:21); Why am I not hanging on a cross? The only answer to these questions is that God, who is rich in mercy, has loved us with his great love and showered us with his grace! (Eph. 2:2-6). This is our identity! (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

Take it home:
1. Meditate upon these gospel truths this week. Pray that God might transform your thinking to see your true value in Him. (John 3:16; Romans 4:7-8; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Hebrews 10:19-22; 2 Cor. 4:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Ephesians 1:3-8; Titus 3:4-5; 1 John 4:10)
2. Pick up a copy of Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Because He Loves Me and study together with your spouse or a friend who can help keep you accountable. I wholeheartedly recommend and challenge you to read it.

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About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

25 Responses to Finding Your Identity in Christ

  1. Kara March 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    This is such a good reminder…thank you.
    Made me think of…

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus…
    Look full in His wonderful face
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
    In the light of His glory and grace.

    To be His child…is fully enough.
    I want to remember that.

  2. Kim March 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Something God has been teaching me this week. I had one of those “everything is going wrong” weeks where I feel like I can’t get ahead on my to do list, my son is literally climbing the walls (he’s 18 months old) and defying me left and right, my sink broke, etc. I think the message the Lord wanted me to hear this week was, “You need me, every minute! Sometimes what you set out to accomplish is not the most important thing in the day. If I bring suffering into your life, it is because I am teaching you and marking you as mine, and you are identifying with my Son who suffered to the point of death for you!” Identity in Christ is so much more important than my identity as a wife, homemaker, or mother, important as those might be.

  3. rebecca March 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow, Lindsey. This has been the thing God has been teaching me about too. The biggest challenge I have is finding my identity in Christ at all times, especially in my speech. I keep asking myself, “After I have left this conversation will this person be blessed? Will I have spoken from a heart that is following hard after my Shepherd? Am I seeking something from this conversation other than my identity being rooted in Christ?”
    We are a work in progress! Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. The Wannabe Mummy March 10, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Ok, so God is now speaking through a megaphone to me! This is post is now added to a long list of lessons that He put across my way this past week and a half to get me to be, think and live how He wants me to.

    Thank you.

    God bless you richly.

  5. Kristy March 10, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Lindsay. I just sat here reading, letting it all soak in. (How did you know what I needed to hear this morning?)

    I tend to be a perfectionist; very hard on myself (and others). I must confess, I too often judge my “worth” (and, unfortunately, my family’s “worth”) by performance.

    Your phrase, “You can judge your idols by the responses of your heart” really made me do some heart searching.

    Bless you for sharing these truths!

    Kristy

  6. Marisa I. March 10, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    Thanks. This was helpful. <3

  7. bobcat March 10, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    This is all very true, and a good reminder.

    As Christians, why do we value the lives of the unborn? Why do we value the lives of those with severe handicaps or those who are severely disabled? It is not because of what they can DO, and it’s not because of how productive they currently are or are not. It is because God loves them just the way they are!

    When we start measuring ourselves against others’ standards….or worse yet, think it has anything to do with God’s love for us…..are we discounting the value of those people, who can’t do much? I am not sure. But it makes you think.

    I think this post is a great reminder, that we are all beautiful and worthy in God’s eyes. We should all strive for our personal best, but we shouldn’t use productivity as some kind of measure of how much worth we have.

  8. Dad March 9, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Hi Lindsay, Good news! I have found it very helpful to identify and memorize the common idols I – and the rest of us – look to. Here is my list, we look for significance, security, comfort and control in other things than the Gospel. So when I have the “nightmares” of anger, anxiety, depression and self-pity, I quickly go to my list and ask myself, “What of these am I looking for?” Then I choose to rejoice in the gospel, that gives me all of them without condition. Seek the only one One who’s approval is substantial enough to sustain you… Love Dad

    • Lindsay March 10, 2011 at 6:50 am #

      Thanks for sharing, Papa! I love hearing from you. Such good advice and input that I need to hear.

  9. Becca Golladay March 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Wow. This hit the nail on the head today for where I have been at. I ordered the book. Please pray I read it and can take it to heart!

  10. Jennifer March 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Thank you. What a timely blessing! Sounds like a great book. I love your recommendations and reviews. Your blog is a regular part of my daily routine as well. I appreciate your encouragement in the faith and your heart.

  11. Marissa March 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    So I’ve followed your blog for a little over a year (maybe longer??) and always appreciate your posts. My husband and I are missionaries and I appreciate your heart….trying to make your home a safe and healthy haven, while recognizing that sometimes we (I) can go overboard and get consumed. Thank you for being a source of laughter and wisdom, honesty and truth. I usually plan meals around your recipes..adding a few here and there of my own. You are a part of my day, whether you know it or not! Let me know if you ever want to visit a kindred spirit on the mission field! You’re welcome any time….

  12. Katie @ Imperfect People March 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    So well written and so true. It is not what WE have done but what HE has done for us.

  13. Lexie March 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    JUST what I needed to read today!

  14. Susanna March 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Brandi, I can so relate to your post…may God grant you all that you need to successfully home school your precious children and make your home peaceful, a heaven on this earth. I believe that home schooling is by far the most ideal way to educate our children. The fact that you have come to a realisation of your utter dependence on Christ is the most important thing you will need to enable you to accomplish your/Christ’s desires for your family. How I wish I had understood this when my child was little. Only now do I realise how my self-worth was entirely hinged on my accomplishments, my child’s behaviour, husbands behaviour, and more than anything on what others thought of me. How I wish I had understood that dealing lovingly and patiently with my child was what should have been my focus instead of being so determined to accomplish everything on my to-do-list each day… Now my child is a teenager and I am middle aged, yes, the years have passed all too quickly, and it is such a struggle to be free of this deceptive thinking, which is so much a part of me, so habitual. Please pray that these bonds will be broken.

  15. erin March 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    This is huge – “You can judge your idols by the responses of your heart.”
    What I great post. Thanks for the encouraging & convicting words.

  16. Jill @ The Prairie Homestead March 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    So timely- I definitely needed to hear this, especially this week. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  17. ~ Shannon March 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    I’ve just started reading through “Because He Loves Me” for a book club I’m a part of, so your timing on this post was most opportune! This is an area I really struggle with, both because I tend to define myself based on others’ “approval ratings,” and also because I tend to be the “I’ll get my act together now” type of person. Thank you for the reminder that such attitudes are self-focused and un-Biblical!

    Blessings,
    Shannon

  18. Grace March 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    I’ve found this to be true in my own life as well. My source of identity has to come from Christ and Him alone!

  19. Deborah March 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Hi I just came across your site today. Such a lovely, thought provoking post. I understand and have felt so much of what you are saying. Much of my blog is based on the questions I have about my purpose, who I am in God’s eyes. I am on a journey to live more intentionally for God. I like your thoughts and I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. :)

  20. heidi @ wonder woman wannabe March 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    *AMEN* :)

  21. Lacey Wilcox March 9, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    I read this with tears in my eyes–it so deeply cuts to the heart of who I am and where I want to be. Even more grateful for the Gospel today.

  22. Emily March 9, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you

  23. Brandi March 9, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Wow…I am pretty much in shock that when you posted this just now…I am in a downward spiral of just anger and sadness of ‘failing’ at being a homemaker and parent..I know I need to refocus my life and make set aside time for Him in the morning if I am to have any peace throughout the day..I definantly want to do this study, this morning I have been sitting here and thinking about who I am according to my past and my abilities-or lack thereof- right now..My family growing up was extremely disfunctional and now I’m trying to find a balance in my day to day schedule with my children that works but am feeling pretty defeated..also we are planning on homeschooling, but my husband has told me he is worried I will be a wreck. It is the longing of my heart to teach my children and make my home a peaceful place to come away from the world and rest in God’s peace, but I think He is showing me that I cannot do even the simplest thing without Him.. and that when I fail while testing out these new waters it doesn’t make me a failure because I am in Christ and what He did, and my identity is not in my failures..Thank you for posting this-very encouraging and TRUE.. I was a little reserved in posting this because of what people might think..but again- I should know that my identity is in Christ ALONE!

    • Dawn March 10, 2011 at 8:09 am #

      Brandi, You have taken the first step in realizing you can not do it in your own power, none of us can. I have been where you are, and still struggle at times. I’m a homeschooling mother of 9, ages 20 down to 4, and have been married 21 years. We’ve graduated our two oldest. It has not been an easy road, but it certainly has been very blessed. The key is abiding in Christ daily. My most favorite verses are John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Jesus made this statement. He is the one who equips and sustains us. The whole chapter 15 is very encouraging. Also, 1Thes. 5:16-18, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” What stands out to me in this verse is it’s GOD’s WILL for us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything! This addresses our attitudes and sometimes these are hard things to do, but it’s what His will is for us. I’m 45 yrs old now and so wish I had this understanding when I was younger. I would have been more focused on what Christ wanted of me rather than the expectations of others or myself. Our lives as Christians are all about glorifying our Lord and Saviour because we were made in His image. We are daily to be dying to ourselves, having a servants heart, and ultimately be bearing His image. That’s a high calling, but once the process has begun, even in the very hard times, it turns into great blessings! I’ll be praying for you sister in Christ!