Three Identity Struggles

Discipleship is essentially following Christ for the purpose of maturing in Christ-likeness. Disciples rediscover and then faithfully live in light of their identity in Christ. Or to say it differently, discipleship is the process whereby we’re remade and we regain who we were created to be as image-bearers of God by being transformed into the image of Christ.

If believers have a new identity in Christ why don’t we live it out? Obviously layers of answers could be offered here related to doctrines of sin, sanctification, and glorification so let me narrow the question. What are a few identity issues that keep Christians from understanding and living out the reality of who we are as a new creation in Christ?

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Three Identity Markers in Colossians 1:1-2

Below is an example of the daily devotional from my book Finding Satisfaction in Christ: A Devotional Study of Colossians. The book walks through Colossians a few verses at a time, explaining and applying the passage in a Christ-centered way. You can purchase the book on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Here’s day one to give you a feel for the book.

 

 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:1–2)

Imagine you meet someone tomorrow and they ask you to describe yourself. What would you say? Who are you? Try summarizing who you are in ten words or fewer (really, try it).

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Favorite Quotes from Made for More

Whether it’s one of her excellent books, thoughtful twitter threads, or an insightful online essay, Hannah Anderson is always a great read.

In my last post on what it means to be an image-bearer, I referenced her book Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image. It answers the theological questions about being made in God’s image while helping us to practically live them out. If you’re wanting to learn more on the topic, or if you hear people talk about the imago Dei and have no idea what they mean, I’d recommend starting with her book. Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

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What Does it Mean to be an Image-Bearer?

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive; and to be alive consists in beholding God.” Irenaeus

“Thus humans may be said to have a reflexive identity. In some sense they find meaning outside themselves by virtue of what they reflect.” Richard Lints

There are few questions more significant than what it means to be an image-bearer of God. It’s at the heart of what it means to be human. It governs our ethics, calling us to see every person (not just those like us or those we like) as valuable and treat every individual with dignity, respect, and honor. It helps us answer questions like these:

  • Why do we exist? What is our purpose?
  • What makes human life valuable?
  • Where does our worth, dignity, and value as human beings come from?
  • How should I talk to, treat, interact with, and relate to this person or group?

Identity has (rightfully) received more attention in recent years. We all want to know who we are. Every human person’s identity question (Who am I?) is fundamentally answered by what it means to be created in God’s image. We must factor in how sin scars, mars, and wrecks the image of God in us without eliminating it, and then how in Christ we’re remade into God’s great design for us as his image-bearers, but we can start with some simple thoughts on what it means to be an image-bearer.

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How to Read the Bible with Identity in Mind

After rising earlier in the morning than we want, identity questions invade our mind as we look in the mirror, think about the upcoming day, and decide what to wear. Do I want my clothes to be the casual me, the dressed-up me, the outdoorsy me, the stylish me, or the “life beat me down so I didn’t care” me? We don’t realize we’re thinking in terms of identity, but the questions of “Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do others view me?” shape us all day long.

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Renew Your Mind with Gospel-Centered Reflection

“If the gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life but the A to Z, we can expect that the gospel is for all of life, not just the moment of conversion. The gospel’s saving work is deep work. It is deep tissue massage, spiritual reparative therapy, and radical reconstructive surgery.” Jared Wilson in Gospel Deeps

My recent posts have highlighted the importance of renewing our mind. Our thinking is prone to get off track, believe lies, filter things through our faulty grid, and be swayed by competing voices. Unless we are active in the fight by taking every thought captive and renewing our mind with biblical truth, we’re doomed. Of all the things we then talk to ourself about or set our minds on, none top the gospel in importance. The gospel sets us straight about who God is, who we are now in Christ, and how we can and should live in light of these realities.

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What Identity Means and Why It Matters

What is identity?

Our identity is who we are and what is most important about us. Our identity is how we define ourselves at our core and what makes an individual who they are. It’s not merely a reputation or our image—what we or others think about us—but it’s what we understand as basic and defining about us. Image comes out of identity, but identity is more fundamental.

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Identity in Christ Statements in Colossians

Below is an excerpt from an Appendix from my book Finding Satisfaction in Christ: A Devotional Study of Colossians. The book walks through Colossians a few verses at a time, explaining and applying the passage in a Christ-centered way. You can purchase the book on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Here’s day one to give you a feel for the book.

As I’ve been studied Colossians, I’ve been amazed by the glorious, sweeping statements about the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Colossians is all about clarifying who Jesus is and why nothing and no one is needed beyond him. No additives in necessary here.

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