Identity in Christ
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“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me”(NIV).
Paul did not care if other people judged him. He knew the Lord judges. When we stop caring about our image but instead care about what the Lord thinks of our character, we eliminate the need to seek external approval. It doesn’t matter what the next-door neighbor believes; God knows the intentions of our hearts. He alone is the judge; we are not.
What relief we feel when we don’t have to “keep up with the Joneses.” Status, fame, and worldly concerns slip away. Instead, we get our approval from one source—God—who loves us enough to send his one and only son to die for us.
Our identity is in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for us. We get off the emotional roller coaster when we do not link our identity to our accomplishments or sins. Christ took our sins upon himself when he died on the cross, so we would be made holy and clean before God. Now we are part of his family:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
What a relief to know that we will not be condemned when we go to heaven, because Jesus was condemned for us, and he received our punishment.
It doesn’t matter what you think of yourself, because you become transformed as you trust Jesus to take away your sins—to be the sacrificial lamb that died for you. Once you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and follow him, he becomes your new identity.
“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ ...” (NIV).
God even thinks we smell like his son! Ask the Lord to exchange the desire you have for the world’s approval, for his approval.
When we are not concerned with what others think of us, or even what we think of ourselves, but instead focus on what God thinks, we arrive at humility. Timothy Keller, the author of The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, wrote,
“The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”
Instead of worrying about how you look or focusing on your weight, you should think less about yourself altogether. Focus on who you are in Christ.
Copyright © Susan U. Neal, used with permission.
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