My Identity: Part One

God has given me my identity. In a world where people are constantly inventing their own identities and are telling others what their identities should be, God gave me my identity according to his grace and wisdom.

First is the identity that all Christians have; children of God who have been brought back into His family by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are Citizens of Heaven. We are co-heirs with Christ through partaking in his suffering. We are new creations, and so much more! Neil T. Anderson has listed many other pieces of our identity in Christ in his book Victory Over The Darkness, which is helping me to understand the scriptural truths of my identity in Christ.

But that’s not all. God has also given me pieces of my own personal identity in His Kingdom. Having struggled with homosexuality during a time when one’s sexual orientation is made out to be a crucially defining characteristic of one’s identity, my own sense of identity (and thus my sense of purpose) became one of my weak points. This is exactly how God showed me one of the ways He likes to work. He likes to take our weaknesses and turn them into strengths in ways that we never could have done without Him.

Let me begin by telling you about the first experience I had in receiving a piece of my identity according to God. I was in high school, and one night at Youth Group the Youth Pastor’s wife shared with us that God has a name for her. A special name.

Her name is Laughter.

Before she began speaking and everyone was chatting, she laughed at something someone said, and one of the other kids piped up and said, “Oh I love her laugh!” and said something about how unique or special her laughter is. During her talk the Youth Pastor’s wife made note of that. That little piece of confirmation said in passing was a personal confirmation of her identity, spoken through an unlikely bystander.

Well, after that, I started asking God to reveal what His name for me is. A few months later, I was walking around the church before the service started and looking out the windows. It was a dark and cloudy day; gray and gloomy. I thought to myself, “I feel like those clouds; gray and gloomy.” This was during the time when I was struggling with depression. Then, as I was walking downstairs I bumped into the Pastor, and he said “Good morning, Sunshine!” and that just stopped me dead in my tracks. He smiled and continued on his way after I said good morning back, and through the rest of the day I thought about that statement. It just hit me so hard. I didn’t feel like sunshine that day. I felt quite opposite to sunshine.

After a while I felt God pressing on my heart that there was a reason why my Pastor greeted me like that. Although the Pastor later said he greeted me like that because he thought my yellow shoes looked sunshiny, God pressed on my heart that he noticed that specific detail for a specific reason. He saw the essence of who and what God created me to be even when I wasn’t living it. It was my name. It was God’s name for me; His title for my design.

Sunshine.

That was the first unveiling of God’s special identity for me. The common identity that all Christians have in Christ is the foundation of my identity, which is critically important and cannot be replaced. My name from Him is a sweet little bonus which helps me to understand in a deeper way who I am in Christ and in the Kingdom of God. God is making my weakness into my strength, and will continue to do so until His work in me is complete.

Thank you for reading my blog.

God bless you. 🙂

Our Dwindling Armory: Part 3 – Love for God

Faith and hope in God, love for God and fear of God. These are a child’s most powerful assets and defenses in a world of darkness, and can continue to be their most powerful assets and weapons against an often cold and unforgiving world when they become adults, and we may be slowly destroying them.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

This one was hard to write. I didn’t know how to start it, and I didn’t know where I would go with it if I did figure out how to start. And then I began over thinking everything. I over think loving God all the time. I over complicate it. I make it seem so much harder than it really is, because I am afraid. I am afraid of failing. I am afraid of finding that my love for God is shallow, and my decisions to obey Him will be for my own benefits and safety, and not for His honour and glory. I am afraid that my love will fail Him.

And you know what? It will. My love has failed everyone I know at some point, because my love has often been directed more inward than outward. That’s kind of what the world teaches nowadays, isn’t it? Let the haters hate, just be sure to love yourself. I believe that this is a deceptive concept, because it is SO close to the truth, but just falls short of it. Yeah, let the haters hate. We are told in scripture not to be surprised if the world hates us, because the world hated Jesus first. (John 3:13, John 15:18) There is even a scripture in Proverbs which I like to read that says “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8) So yeah, let the haters hate, or rather, let the mockers mock. However, whenever I read or hear the “motto” let the haters hate, I kind of sense a disconnect. Like it’s an excuse to put up a wall as soon as someone offends you, or to put more effort into loving yourself than anyone else, which is not Christ’s way. Christ put loving God through obedience, and loving the Church through sacrifice, as a far higher priority than loving himself. His actions proved that.

His love never failed me, so who am I to offer such an unworthy excuse for love to Him? Well, it’s all I have to offer. My life is really all I have to offer. (Romans 12:1) I have found in the past when worshipping God that I had nothing worth giving to Him. Nothing in or of my self was worthy to offer in praise to Him. So I asked Him to give me something that was worthy to give back to Him, and He did. I spent time mediating on him, and what may be the most crucial part, I humbled myself and confessed my unworthiness and sinfulness. It was then that God gave me something worthy of Himself; something worthy to give back to Him.

After that, I praised Him like never before. I have nothing that is worth giving in loving service to my Lord, with out Him I can do nothing. (John
15:5) But what does it mean to love God, according to the Bible?

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:20)

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

Loving other people is connected to loving God, perhaps because all mankind was made in God’s image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26) So… what is love? How do we love others as Christ did? Well, 1 Corinthians 13 sums up what love is. It’s a chapter than I’m sure many Christians know, but it’s always good to review it.

I think that’s all I have to say for now. Thank you for reading my blog. I apologize if this post was incoherent.

Blessings in Christ!