Dallas Willard said,
“The most important thing in life is not what you achieve…the most important things in life is who you become.”
If this is true, then the question of our identity becomes all the more important.
Who we believe we are influences who we are actually becoming.
Who we are becoming is the sum total of all our experiences, our emotional reactions, our choices, our habits, our faith journey, and our relationships.
All these things hinge on what we actually believe about our identity.
For instance, if we believe our identity is bound up in our productivity, our output, and our achievements, we will be a driven, performance-oriented individual.
If we believe our worth is weighed and measured by right and wrong, and how well we pigeon-hole each of them, we will be either insecure and indecisive, or insufferably arrogant.
The understanding of self that we choose to embrace influences every other choice we make. These choices make us into who we are becoming.
For followers of Jesus, our true self is already heir and possessor of righteousness. We are already joined with Christ himself. The Apostle Paul termed it well when he called it ‘a mystery.’
We are safe. We are cherished, chosen children. We are free.
But what we actually believe will always show up in how we live.
For the Christian, we are secure, sheltered, and safe in the hands of God, never to be lost. But if we don’t recognize this, it completely changes the way we live our lives.
Some Christians file along in fear for all of their lives, wondering if a wrong choice, a religious failure, or a fall to temptation will cast them out of the Kingdom.
If this were true, our salvation would be based on us— our performance, our ability, and ultimately, our own strength.
If we could safeguard our own souls, what need would we have for a Savior?
Eternal life — which we were gifted when we chose to believe that Jesus is hope and answers and healing — does not end. By it’s very definition (eternal…never ending, and everlasting), it’s forever. Nothing we can do can cut it off. And, hallelujah.
Some Christians slink through life, attempting to dodge and outsmart their shame. They don’t even realize it’s there…they just know they want to get away from it. They build high walls of separation, self-protection, and structured living in order to keep out the monsters.
It never works.
Until a believer realizes that they’re free from shame; that guilt gets only as much room as it is given; that Christ absolved the debt of the past, the future, and the present; until then, they may be free in name, but not in experience.
Do you, as a believer, know who you are? The real you? The free and uncondemned you of Romans 8, the chosen-heir-you of Ephesians 1 and 2, the safe and secure you of John 10?
The real you is really loved.
Delighted in. Sung over. Dwelt with.
Regardless of what you’ve done, or haven’t done, how well you’ve kept the rules or haven’t, how bad you’ve been, or haven’t.
That’s what grace is.
It’s lavish love in the face of loser choices.
It’s kind compassion despite you doing everything wrong.
It’s equal treatment when you’ve done nothing to earn it.