Finding Identity

What is your identity and significance? 

Tim Keller

I recently spent time with a group of students discussing the idea of identity and significance. We watched a video on this topic by Pastor Tim Keller (it’s linked below). 

I asked the students this question: “Who are you?” 

This is one of the most basic yet challenging questions we face in life. 

The vast majority of students answered by focusing on one of two areas of their life: descriptions of their family and friends or listing their achievements. They viewed themselves in light of their social situation or what they do in life. 

Although in some ways both of these answers are accurate, they are woefully inadequate in addressing the question I asked them to answer.

For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.  In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.

The Apostle Paul, Ephesians 1:4-5

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul gives us profound realities about how God views His children. He makes it clear that believers were chosen in Him “before the creation of the world.” 

The overwhelming implication of Paul’s statement is that His love for us is based on His character, not ours.  This is vital because it explains that His choosing has nothing to do with our efforts.  It’s not based on our performance, it’s based on God’s unconditional love.

Paul also uses the word “adopted” to describe God’s children.  We are given a new identity in Christ that is based on what He has done for us, not on what we do for ourselves. 

In the same way, the adopted child is brought into a family based on the family’s love, compassion and desire to have that child as part of their family, we are brought into God’s family based on His love, compassion and desire for each of us to be part of His family. 

For many years I had the privilege of coaching golf.  During my time as a golf coach, I was blessed to have over a dozen golfers go on to play at a Division I level. As I spent countless hours with this group of highly successful golfers, the focus of our conversations often reverted back to this same discussion on identity. 

The very real struggle that many of these student athletes had to work through each day was realizing that their identity was not based on a number on a scorecard.  Their worth and value were not seen in how well they performed at any given tournament.

Tim Keller says it well:

When you make the quality of your work the measure of your worth, it’s absolutely crushing.

Tim Keller

True freedom to enjoy the game of golf came for many of these young golfers when they finally entered a place where they realized they were not defined by the game of golf. 

Golf was something they did; it was not who they were.

This is key to understanding our identity in Christ.

In order to receive our identity as adopted children of God, we must believe what God says about us: we are loved children of God, and we cannot lose that love because it was never based on us. 

As an earthly father loves and cherishes his child, and will always be there for his child, so God loves, cherishes and will always be there for each of His spiritual children.

Anyone who has grown up in Christianity has heard this truth many times.  The challenge is not hearing, it is believing. 

Jesus constantly spoke to the importance of having faith “like a child.”  The beauty of childlike faith is that a three year old never questions love and provision, the child simply turns to his father or mother and knows they will take care of him. 

This is the exact type of faith we must have in our Heavenly Father. 

We constantly have to be reminded of our identity in Christ. How we feel or what the world says has no impact on the reality of God’s love for us.  It is true because He says it is true. It is unchanging because He is unchanging. 

Our job is to simply take time each day to remind ourselves of what it means to be a child of God. 

I encourage you to take ten minutes to watch and think about Tim Keller’s video below.

Consider it for yourself, but also consider it from the perspective of your children.  Take time to remind yourself, and your children, of how God sees us and how He values us.

This generation desperately needs to be reminded that their significance comes from God alone.

Doug Langhals, HHCA Head of School

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Doug Langhals
Doug Langhals, HHCA Head of School

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