Our identity is everything. To get a job, to open a bank account, to drive a car, to travel, to marry, to go to school..literally everything in this world requires identification. What’s your name? What do you look like? Who are you?
You know what you look like. You know your name. If someone asked you to describe yourself you could easily spew out the details without hesitation.
I’m Lacey. I am just shy of five feet tall, twenty four years old, with blonde hair and green eyes. No one could convince me that I’m six feet tall because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not.
This equally applies in the spiritual realm. Do you want to move forward in your walk with Jesus? Do you want to take the big risks, step out on a limb to follow your dreams for Christ, and run the race set before you with endurance? You must know without a shadow of a doubt who you are in the kingdom of God. If you don’t know who you are then the moment that your identity is challenged by the enemy, you will own the lie that is spoken to you. Just like that your identity becomes twisted and warped by the velvet tongue of the devil. Losing your identity gives way for your assets to be stolen and your credibility stained. Believing lies about who we really are not only holds us back from walking out the holding God has over our life, but it keeps us from cultivating those deep and intimate relationships with God and with people- all of which Jesus died for us to have.
Let me give you an example of what a lost identity looks like.
I was five years old. My parent’s and I were having dinner over at our neighbor’s house. Nearly every time we were at their house my mom continuously scolded me for harassing their dog, but in my child’s mind I didn’t give her advice a second thought. This specific time was no different, and yet wasn’t it so? The adults were talking in the living room while I repeatedly sought out the dog. My intentions were purely honorable, of course, as I simply wanted to love on her- obnoxiously- the way most kids do.
My very first physically traumatic experience enters center stage.
I walked down the dim hallway towards the large Dalmatian, “Lady”. Lady was sitting with her back towards me. Without warning I ran to her and flung my five year old self onto her with a big bear hug. There was an instantaneous bite. The large dog defensively snapped her teeth at me in bewilderment. Just a simple, “back off” move in the dog world, and yet somehow I found that my entire tiny face was trapped within her jaws. It happened so fast. And then the screaming ensued. Oddly enough I do not remember the pain as much as I remember the look on everyone’s face as the beheld the wounds all over my face. I felt ruined. There was so much blood everywhere, I remember that too. And the sheer panic in my parent’s voices as we sprinted out of the house, ignoring the shocked faces, and piled into my dad’s single cab grey pickup. Once we speedily arrived at the nearest hospital, my mom lifted me up out of the front seat and gasped at what she found. Not only was my face near shredded, but I had a gaping hole between my neck and my chin. The pain eased as shock took over and we waited to be seen by a plastic surgeon. I remember my mom made a point to keep me from looking at any mirrors or windows that we bypassed. Yet still as we moved into a new room, I managed to catch my reflection in one. Terrified of my own face would be an understatement. For the first time in my short life, I can recall feeling truly hideous. My identity was captured as shame and insecurity entered into my heart. Thirty-two stitches and a traumatic surgery without anesthesia later, and it was over. But the soul wound remained and shaped who I began believed I was.
Fast forward to a several months and one birthday later, six year old Lacey’s wounds healed and life went on. I loved school but soon found that I really struggled with reading. It took me longer than it took the other kids. So my mom would work with me after school every night. I’d come home from school, sit in my dad’s recliner with the small booklet of short words, try with all my might to read, and just cry. I didn’t have any progress at all. I felt in adequate, like there was something wrong with me. It was tough on a little five year old’s heart who just couldn’t get it.
And then out of no where on one seemingly normal day, a miracle happened. My parents were playing in my room with me, and amidst the playing I picked up a Bible that was sitting within the jumble of toys on the floor with us. I looked at the first sentence and I simply began to read:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Even now I can still hear the way my sweet kid voice sounded as I spoke the Word of God with such clarity. I can still remember the way my heart beat out of my chest as I read my first sentence. And I can still see the look on my parents face as they saw me witness my first miracle. In that brief moment following, the hum of silence in the air was electric with awe. It was in that pocket of silence, before my parents flipped their lids with excitement, that I remember hearing God’s voice for the first time. He whispered to me,
Lacey, you are special.
Merely writing out the one word, special, doesn’t quite capture all that God said to me in those four words. Yet my brain can’t quite describe the heavenly encounter so well in human words. When God whispered that to me, I felt more than a thousand affectionate words from Him. Special meant beautiful, it meant I had a purpose, and it meant warm. I didn’t know much about God then, but I knew He was real, that He loved me, and that He’d chosen me. At the very beginning of my life the enemy attempted to steal my identity, kill my confidence, and send me down a path of destruction, and yet in the wake of such attempted tragedy God spoke my true identity in Christ over me. How sweet is that? He does this for all of us- this light in the darkness, also known as the Man named Jesus in whom all truth resides; we only need to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
“and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:17 ESV
Brothers and sisters in Yeshua Jesus the Messiah, receive that identity affirmation from your Heavenly Father today.