I love learning more about my identity in Christ. The more I learn about who God says I am and the more I believe His truth about me, the more I walk in freedom. I don’t think this will surprise you to hear that many women struggle with identity issues. Many. And I’m not just talking about self-image issues, although those are rampant among us as well. Many of us have allowed the wrong things to shape, fashion, and form our identities, and I want to breathe some truth over this today in hopes of shedding light on something that has kept far too many of us in the dark for far too long.
I believe that there are primarily three ways that our identities are fashioned and formed:
- What others have done to us or said about us
- What we do and what we say about ourselves
- What Jesus has done for us
Now, let me unpack these a bit. The first is probably the most prevalent. If you’ve been abused, betrayed, abandoned, or anything like this, it is easy to believe that you are unloved, unwanted, and unworthy. What other people have done to you can easily shape how you see yourself. The second one is a little less obvious perhaps, but it’s just as prevalent. We often determine who we are based on what we do. If you’re a wife or a mom or a career woman, it’s easy for your identity to get completely wrapped up in those roles that you fulfill, but neither of the first two are WHO YOU ARE. Your activity does not determine your identity.
The third one is what we’re after. Despite the lies we have believed about ourselves, our identities are tied to what Jesus did for us on the cross. He came to this earth and lived the perfect life that we could never live. He suffered and died a death that we can hardly fathom to pay the debt for our sins that we could never pay. He rose from the dead and conquered sin and death to offer us a life we could never gain without Him. Say “Hello” to favor—unfair partiality.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8
This is who we are if we are in Christ. We didn’t have to clean up our act first before He would die for us. No. While we were still all wrapped up and caught up in our sin, while we were still all tangled up in the lies we believed about ourselves, Jesus rushed to us with His love through His death and offered us mercy and grace. He didn’t have to leave His throne in Heaven. He chose to. He didn’t have to take on the limitations of humanity. He chose to. He didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of the cross. He chose to.
This, my friends, is favor. This is what unfair partiality looks like. We didn’t deserve that divine rescue, but He rescued us nonetheless. We could never have earned a gift like this, but He gave it freely. The fact that you and I are favored by God is the expression of His mercy and grace to us. He is unfair in His partiality towards us. Justice says that we deserve punishment for our sins. Instead, we receive pardon. Why? Because God punished His Son instead.
Does that amaze you? Does that astound you? It should! Knowing that you are favored by a Holy God changes everything. It no longer matters what others have said about me or done to me, because God chooses to place His favor upon me in spite of the brokenness in my past. He calls me favored. He calls you favored.
I spent too many years of my life trying to chase down the love of God for me, assuming that if I did enough or prayed enough or read enough that somehow I would be able to earn His favor. That’s not how this thing works, though. His favor is free, and hear me when I say this: His favor is so good.
Jesus, I am in awe of your love. I am in awe of your grace. You gave Yourself to meet my needs, even though I didn’t deserve it, and You don’t expect anything in return. That is unfair partiality. That is favor. Help me to know and believe that this is who I am.