Back to the basics: Identity

In order for us to truly know who we are, we have to go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:26-27 says:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Wow. We were created in the image of God. The Creator of all things. The One from Whom all of life springs forth. We aren’t just worms born from the dust. We were carefully fashioned in the very same likeness as our Father. God could have made the animals in His image, but He didn’t. He chose us.

So, right away, we see how much value we have from the very beginning. Unfortunately, something happened, and man was separated from God. He ate from the forbidden tree, and sin entered the perfect world.

Genesis 2:16-17 says:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Now we know that when Adam ate from the tree, he didn’t fall over dead. So what exactly did God mean when He said Adam would die? He meant that his identity would die. His created value would be lost. Instead of walking around expressing the image of God, man would become just like the enemy. Self-serving. Self-pleasing. Self-aware.

In that instant, the enemy knew he had won a major victory. With man so focused on self, any relationship with the Creator would be severed. It was a glorious day for satan and his hordes of demons. It was not possible for him to defeat God, but he had successfully managed to dethrone God from the heart of man.

The Old Testament is all bout the law of sin and death. The consequences from that day in the Garden are documented throughout all 39 books. We see the wages of sin and the destruction of mankind.

The New Testament tells a different story. A man named Jesus enters the world and there is once again hope of reconciliation. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world, that He gave His only son. After the events in the Garden, God could have given up on us, but He didn’t. He never lost sight of what we would look like with Him living inside of us.

Jesus did what no other man before could ever do. He walked a perfect life on this earth and fulfilled the law. Then, He died. But here is the key. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross because we were sinners. He had to take on sin so He could obliterate its power forever, but He didn’t die to show us how bad we are.

Luke 19:10 says (emphasis mine):

10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

That which was lost. Not those whom were lost. What was lost? When Adam ate from the tree, he lost his identity and created value. Jesus died so we could once again claim our identity and birthright. He gave us the opportunity to be reconciled with God. C’mon. That is awesome! Jesus was separated from God so we could forever be joined with God. Jesus died so we could live. When sin got finished with Adam in the Garden, he was unrecognizable. Jesus was marred more than any other man so we could once again have our true identity back.

Jesus didn’t die on the Cross to expose our sin. He died to reveal our identity and created value.

The value of something is determined by the price paid. Heaven went bankrupt to reconcile us back to the Father. Jesus didn’t die for a bunch of low life, dirt groveling sinners. He died because we are sons and daughters of the King. That right there determines our value and worth.

For too long, we’ve allowed life and other people to be the barometer we use to gauge how much God loves us. We allow our circumstance to shape and mold us. We allow life to speak louder than truth. When we live by feelings instead of faith, we will go from bummer to bummer instead of glory to glory.

When we truly understand who we are in Christ, everything changes. We see everything through the lens of love. The past no longer has the power to potter our lives. People no longer have the power to potter our lives. Circumstances no longer have the power to potter our lives.

It’s not about us. It’s all about Him. All God is asking us to give up is something we were never created for in the first place.

Jesus didn’t say to deny satan and incorporate God into our lives to have a better day. He said to deny self and follow Him.

We have to quit striving towards the Cross and start living from its finished work.

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