What Defines You Hero Image
What Defines You Hero Image
Mar 25, 2024 / 5 min

What Defines You

Kylen Perry & Makayla Greene

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

What do you believe to be true about your identity?

For some, it feels conditional based on those around you — when people say you’re funny you are, and the same is true when they tell you you’re difficult. For others, you may self-identify with what’s been done to you. The pain you’ve experienced is not only a disappointing circumstance but a defining characteristic.

Or maybe you exist on the other side of the spectrum, and you refuse to let anyone define you but you — anyone who tries to tell you otherwise will be met with the conversational equivalent of a brick wall.

Whether you fall into one of these categories or believe something else entirely, when we leave it up to ourselves, situations, or others to assign us an identity we end up exhausted, insecure, and misled.

When you hear “identity crisis” you may think about a man in his 40s buying a Harley and hitting the tanning bed to reclaim his youth. But in a world where we’re encouraged to “find ourselves” the stereotypical mid-life crisis is beginning to play out as a mid-twenties meltdown. However, there is some good news — the Good News, actually.

Who Am I?

For followers of Christ who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior, we are known as children of the Most High, new creations who were instantly justified and are continuously sanctified by the One who knew our names and designed our purpose long before He said, “Let there be Light.” (Ephesians 1:4)

The Bible doesn’t spare our feelings when describing who we were before Christ, describing us as lost in sin (Romans 3:10-12), enemies of God (Romans 8:7-8), under God’s wrath (Romans 2:5), unable to save ourselves (Ephesians 2:1) sick at heart (Jeremiah 17:9), and darkened in mind (Ephesians 4:18.) You probably find this less than encouraging.

However – praise God for howevers – our identity in Christ is rooted in the fact that not only were we created in the image of God, but we’re also His children because of the redemptive work done on the cross. Now, we’re called reconciled (Romans 5:8), freed from sin (Romans 6:6), heirs of eternal life (Galatians 3:29), and told we have complete access to our Creator (Hebrews 4:16) — which has a much better ring to it.

Living in Your Identity

Maybe you’re in the camp of those who recognize their identity in Christ but feel a little lost on what comes next (which is fair). When you meet Jesus, you’re given keys to a whole new way of life, to new freedom and fearlessness that changes the way you move through the world. Not only will you be able to sense this shift in identity, but it will also be on display for the world to see. (Matthew 5:14-16) We should be recognized for our unbelievable conviction, unmistakable resemblance to Jesus, and undeniable loyalty.

Just look at what happens in Acts 4, which follows some of Jesus’ closest friends, Peter and John, who were once stubborn, foolish, and fearful people who now look, walk, talk, and act differently because they encountered Christ.

In fact, Jesus took one look at Peter and gave him a whole new name.(John 1:42) Now, they face down Jewish leadership after performing a miracle in the name of the One these same leaders had wrongly put to death.

While you may never find yourself being interrogated by those who wish to exterminate your belief system, you may find yourself seeking and failing to secure the approval of people who are, by societal standards, successful. Because following Jesus is unpopular and even costly at times.

And yet new creations don’t compromise their beliefs. They don’t back down or give in. They don’t disguise themselves as Jesus’ followers to make themselves more acceptable. No, when you’re a new creation, your actions match your beliefs even if it’s unpopular. No matter how well you want to do at work, you don’t cut corners. No matter how much you want that person’s approval, you don’t bend your beliefs. No matter how much fun that trip or that party is going to be, it’s not worth the compromise.

What Now?

After being charged not to speak the name of Jesus by Jewish leadership that had a track record of making good on their threats, Peter and John said,

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

We can’t help ourselves. We rejoice in the God who saves. We give glory where it’s due.

For new creations, our loyalty is to Jesus and Jesus alone. Sure, your reputation may take a hit here and there, but would you rather live a life of eternal significance or momentary acceptance? If you’re a new creation you’ve been set free from following the crowd, because you’ve been invited to follow Jesus Christ.

So, walk with an unbelievable conviction, live with an unmistakable resemblance, and keep an undeniable loyalty to Jesus. You can identify with Christ because He has identified with you. Remember:

  • Jesus was bound by conviction to seek and save you.
  • Jesus resembled you by becoming like you so that he might reach you.
  • Jesus is completely loyal to us even though it was that loyalty that ultimately cost him his life. Yet he rose again because He is who He always said He is — the Son of God.

No matter what you’ve believed about yourself in the past, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. It’s time we live like it.

Discussion Questions

What do you find your identity in?

What does it look like to live in your gospel identity?

This is the latest article in our series on the 11 Marks of a Disciple, focusing on Mark 2: A thorough understanding of one’s identity in Christ (Ephesians 5) If you missed the first article on “Understanding the (Real) Gospel,” make sure you go back and check it out!