“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God”—John 1:12(NLT).
If someone asked you to identify yourself in four words, could you do it? Recently, on a social media site, participants answered that question. I did, too. My response was, “A child of God.”
Before I turned to God during a life-changing event over 15 years ago, I couldn’t make that statement. Before I found my identity in Christ, I would have said I was a daughter, a wife, a mother, a high school teacher and a professional photographer. My identity was wrapped up in my earthly relationships and my professions. While those aren’t negative identities, they defined who I thought I was.
“I am a child of God.”
In my late 40s, I began asking, “Who am I?” I was lost. When God revealed my true identity in Him, I discovered how much God loves me and wanted a relationship with me. The shackles fell off. I was free to be the person He created me to be.
When we find our identity in Christ, He begins to work in our hearts. How?
First, you’re no longer a slave to other’s opinions. Before my identity change, I was a people pleaser, which isn’t emotionally, mentally or spiritually healthy.
Second, embracing your new identity in Christ leads to a change of priorities. Afraid God will expect them to change, some people refuse to accept His offer of grace. He does. However, when He performs a heart transplant on you, you want to change. It’s not overnight, but a gradual awakening of His love for us that leads to a makeover in His image.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
A third change involves the comfort we receive when we take on our new identity. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
As you grow into your new identity, you become calmer. As He has revealed Himself to me through scripture, I’ve learned to trust Him. That trust has led to a sense of calm in all situations. While life isn’t necessarily easier, I’m able to face the challenges, knowing God will use it for His glory.
As a child of God, I’ve also discovered a renewed strength, especially in situations I never expected to face. He is “the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).
I recall, a year ago, when I found myself huddled in a bedroom closet with my dog clutched to my chest. The tornado siren was blaring. In the past, I would have been paralyzed with fear. I wasn’t. Even as the tornado hit my house, I continued to pray. When the winds died down and all was calm, I was enveloped in a peace only a child of God can understand.
Although it took me over 40 years to find that peace, I can say, without reservation, “I am a child of God.”