Pastor Jeff Kapusta once said that if “Satan can’t steal your destiny he will lie about your identity”. Satan will tell you that you are worthless, hopeless, crazy, dirty, stupid, ugly, and that you will never be enough or perhaps that you are too much. His array of insults are limitless and he knows exactly which ones to apply to keep you feeling fearful, defeated and trapped. A key part of God’s design for your life is tied to who you are…so who are you? Are you a composite of Satan’s labels and lies? Are you simply a parent, a partner, a child, a sibling, an employee? The truth is your true identity is only found in Jesus. Since God is the one who created you he gets to decide your true identity, the creator decides what he is creating. So what does he say about you?
You are loved. “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'” Jeremiah 31:3
You are forgiven. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25
You have value and significance. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
You are accepted and belong. “But you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
You are a child of the King. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12
You will never be alone. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
You are designed in His image. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
You are a victorious warrior. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
You have a plan and a purpose. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11
You are worth fighting and dying for. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Let’s read through that list again slowly and this time replace the “You are…” statements with “I am…”. Add your name in the scriptures. Let the statements sink deep in your soul.
I am loved. “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved (your name) with an everlasting love; I have drawn (your name) with unfailing kindness.'”
I am forgiven. “I, even I, am he who blots out (your name) transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers (your name) sins no more.”
I have value and significance. “Before I formed (your name) in the womb I knew (him/her), before (he/she) was born I set (him/her) apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
I am accepted and belong. “But (your name) is a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (he/she) is God’s special possession, that (your name) may declare the praises of him who called (him/her) out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
I am a child of the King. “Yet to (your name) who did receive him, to (your name) who believed in his name, he gave (him/her) the right to become children of God”
I will never be alone. “(your name) will be strong and courageous. (your name) will not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord my God goes with me; he will never leave me nor forsake me.”
I am designed in His image. “So God created (your name) in his own image, in the image of God he created (him/her)…”
I am a victorious warrior. “In all these things (your name) is more than a conqueror through him who loved (him/her).”
I have a plan and a purpose. “For I know the plans I have for (your name), declares the Lord, plans to prosper (him/her) and not to harm (him/her), plans to give (your name) a hope and future.”
I am worth fighting and dying for. “For God so loved (your name) that he gave his only son so that when (your name) believes in him (he/she) shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Remember our analogy of the tree from our last lesson? The roots bring nourishment to the young tree and with the proper care the roots will grow strong and deep so they can anchor the tree in wind and storms. It is the same with us. God longs for you to grow strong and deep in Him. By believing what God says about who you are and who He is you will grow strong and deep in Him. In this life you will face trials and temptations, at times you will fail, you will be rejected or abandoned by others, you will be mistreated and misunderstood; having a deep understanding of who you are and who God is will help you stay anchored in life’s storms.
Not long ago I went through a very challenging season in my life. I had done somethings that I was ashamed of, these sins caused me to doubt my identity and God’s purpose for my life. I felt ashamed. Satan knew that I was struggling to survive under the weight of my sin. He hurled insults that went straight to the core of my being. My heart hurt so deeply, waking up each day was a struggle. I would weep throughout the day and long into the night. I longed for the pain to end. Each day as I cried out to God in my pain He would softly remind me of my identity in him. Having been a Christian for a long time, I knew that God’s word is true. I clung to that truth as if my life depended on it, because in fact my life truly did depend on it. I was in a battle, and from all I could see, I was loosing. God reminded me through His word that my identity was securely in Jesus and nothing could change it. No matter how bad my sin was, no matter how I felt about myself or what others said about me…NOTHING could change the fact that I was still a beloved child of God, completely forgiven, never alone, sealed for His purposes.
If you are now or ever were, in the same place as I was, please listen closely…You are loved and forgiven. There is nothing you could ever do that will separate you from God’s love for you. There is no way that you can ever be too far gone, or too bad for God to redeem you. You do not have to try to clean up your act before coming to Jesus. He wants to be the one to help clean you up. You do not have to be perfect. Come to him in your dirty, messy, sinful state. He will not turn you away. He will not leave you stranded or alone. He sees you in your pain and in your mess. He will not leave you there! He will not condemn or shame you. He will lovingly put his arms around you and will work with you to get through this. You are his beloved and He has a good purpose and plan for you.
SCRIPTURE MEDITATION: “For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 You are God’s handiwork! He sees all your weaknesses, all your imperfections, all your sins, all your struggles, all your idiosyncrasies, all the things that make you uniquely you. He designed you and you are his beloved. He has not forgotten you. He is preparing you and using you even in this moment for his purposes.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are my designer and creator. You knew beforehand where I would stumble and fall. You know everything there is to know about me, even more than I know about myself, and yet you still love me. Not with a pitying love, but with a passionate, radical, relentless love. You say yourself that you delight in me, you smile on me, you rejoice in me, and that you sing over me. I confess that I often don’t feel very lovable. I often don’t measure up to all that I think I need to be. At times I am ashamed of the things I do or think. Help me to come to you and not to hide from you. Lift my shame and clean my messes. Help me to remember who I am and that I belong to you. Cleanse me from my sins. Empower me to live out the identity you have given me. In Jesus Name-Amen
REFLECTIONS: Which of the above characteristics are you most comfortable acknowledging? When and how did you learn of that characteristic? Which of the things that God says about who you are is the hardest for you to believe about yourself? How would letting the truth of what God says about you change how you relate to others? How would it change how you tackle the difficult situations in your life?
ACTIVITY OPTIONS: The main ways we can grow and nourish our root system is to stay deeply connected to God. Some of to the main ways to do this include: prayer, bible study, scripture memorization, and meditation. Each activity option will focus on one of those key elements. 1.) Choose one of the things God says about you each day and meditate and reflect on it through out the day. Ponder specifically and personally what that characteristic means for you. Then journal what the characteristic means and how it impacted you that day. 2.) Think about a difficult situation you are currently facing. Choose one or more of the identity characteristics that we identified. Personalize and pray about the situation using the verses that go with that characteristics. Journal the process you go through and the outcome. 3.) Search scripture to uncover more aspects and verses related to who God says you are. Journal your findings. 4.) Choose one or more of the verses to memorize. Share what you have learned about your identity in Jesus with at least one other person as a testimony, prayer, or encouragement to them. Journal the experience.
UPCOMING LESSONS: For the next few lessons we will be discussing the “trunk of the tree”, this will be a major portion of where we will spend our time. In these lessons we will be discussing our physical bodies and actions, our thoughts, our feelings and our inner being (values, experiences, expectations, memories, inner compass). We will be studying each area individually, beginning with our physical bodies.