Identity in Christ: Finding Your Ultimate Worth and Purpose

worth

In the vibrant culture of the 80s and 90s, where self-worth and self-esteem took center stage, I found this narrative seeping into my Christian life. Curiously, the church seemed silent on this matter, perhaps unintentionally. While the concept of self-worth may appear positive, let's delve into why it might be the antithesis of grounding our identity in Christ and how it can potentially hinder our Christian walk.

Self-Worth vs Self-Esteem

If you're of a certain age—let's say, the gray-haired variety, lol—you likely recall the prevalence of self-esteem and self-worth discussions. Magazines and talk shows bombarded us, especially women, with the notion that embracing these concepts was essential for our well-being.

For simplicity, let's use "self-worth" as the umbrella term encompassing both self-worth and self-esteem. Self-worth represents core beliefs about our value and values, while self-esteem instills confidence in our worth and abilities.

The issue becomes apparent. While there's nothing inherently wrong with the word "self," relying on our ideals and emotions shifts our focus from identifying with the One who made us new. It transforms our lives from being Christ-centered to self-identifying.

Image of God

Our worth is a shared aspect with all humanity. This commonality allows us to recognize God's creation in others, not based on personal preferences, looks, or social status. As Genesis 1:26-27 beautifully expresses, we are made in the image of God—a reflection of His righteousness.

Matthew Henry stated “God's image upon man consists in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10. He was upright, Eccl. 7:29.

This sense of worth is something I find fascinating because it's beyond our control, and we certainly didn't play a role in creating this status. What's even more intriguing is that many of the gifts and talents we showcase share this characteristic.

God is the Source of Our Gifts

I vividly recall a day when I was captivated by someone singing a beautiful song with an incredible voice. While I'm sure this person dedicated time to perfecting the song, I couldn't help but wonder how much of this extraordinary gift stemmed from the singer's effort and how much was a result of God shaping their vocal cords to produce such a breathtaking sound. Reflecting on it now, I believe I know the answer.

I can personally attest that, no matter how much I practice, receive coaching on singing techniques, or engage in exercises, my voice will never reach that level of greatness. It's a reminder that God is the source of our gifts, beauty, wisdom, and more. How can I derive self-worth from something I had no control over? It's a humbling realization that shifts my perspective.

Identity In Christ

So, does this imply that we should be unaware of our gifts and intelligence? Not at all! The Apostle Paul serves as a prime example, being acutely aware of his gifts and position in life. While he acknowledged his ability to boast and listed his credentials, he made it clear that his genuine worth derived from his identity in Christ, not his accomplishments or societal standing.

The crux lies in finding our true fulfillment through a connection with Christ rather than relying on worldly achievements or personal gifts. Our worth and purpose should be rooted in Jesus Christ rather than in ourselves. It's a shift from seeking validation in external accomplishments to finding our true identity in a relationship with Christ.

 

Let's take a look at some differences between self-worth vs being Christ identified.

Self Worth:

  1. Human Achievement:
    • Focus on personal accomplishments, abilities, and successes.
  2. Worldly Standards:
    • Often measured by societal norms, achievements, and external validations.
  3. Potential for Boasting:
    • May lead to boasting in one's abilities or accomplishments (though Paul cautioned against excessive boasting).
  4. Variable and Conditional:
    • Can be influenced by external factors such as opinions, comparisons, and circumstances.
  5. Individualistic Perspective:
    • Emphasizes the value and worth of the individual apart from external factors.

Christ Identified:

  1. Identity in Christ:
    • Grounded in the understanding of being a new creation in Christ, finding ultimate worth in a relationship with Jesus.
  2. Spiritual Standards:
    • Measured by spiritual growth, adherence to Christian values, and living in accordance with God's will.
  3. Boasting in Weakness:
    • Encourages boasting in weakness, recognizing dependence on God's strength rather than personal achievements.
  4. Steady and Unconditional:
    • Unaffected by external circumstances, rooted in the unchanging love and acceptance of God.
  5. Community Perspective:
    • Highlights the interconnectedness of believers in the body of Christ, with a focus on serving others and building up the community.

Bible Verse of the Day

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

Scriptures on Identifying in Christ

    1. Identity in Christ:
      • Galatians 2:20 (KJV):
        • "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
    2. Spiritual Standards:
      • Philippians 3:8-9 (KJV):
        • "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
    3. Boasting in Weakness:
      • 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (KJV):
        • "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence."
    4. Steady and Unconditional:
      • Romans 8:1 (KJV):
        • "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
    5. Community Perspective:
      • 1 Corinthians 12:12 (KJV):
        • "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ."
    6. Serving Others:
      • Galatians 5:13-14 (KJV):
        • "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
    7. Living in God's Will:
      • Ephesians 5:15-17 (KJV):
        • "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Esteeming Others

I understand that this perspective may not always be popular, and I acknowledge my own lapses in practicing it. However, it is paramount to grasp that a fundamental aspect of Identifying with Christ is reflected in how we treat others, particularly those within the household of faith. This requires us to set aside selfishness and self-centered attitudes to promote unity within the body of Christ. As Philippians 2:3-5 aptly illustrates, identifying with Christ involves considering others as more significant than ourselves, prioritizing their interests over our own. In the midst of our personal concerns, it serves as an important reminder not to lose sight of supporting and uplifting fellow believers.

Dying To Self

Beyond just esteeming others above ourselves, embodying a life identified with Christ requires a transformative and deliberate approach to every facet of our daily existence. This encompasses discarding our former way of living and embracing the renewal of our new man (Ephesians 4:22-24). It's a conscious acknowledgment that we have relinquished our old way of life. We now exist not for ourselves but for Christ, who resides within us. The notion of "dying to self," prevalent in scriptures and echoed in sayings like "having our Identity in Christ," is deeply rooted in the Gospels (Luke 14:27). This concept extends to every aspect of our lives, challenging us to surrender not just certain parts but our entire existence to the transformative path of living in Christ.

 

Finding Purpose and Worth

Summing it up, let's find inspiration by shifting our focus from self-worth to the amazing glory of Christ. Choosing to embrace our new identity in Christ, where His name shines, is a powerful and uplifting decision. Despite daily challenges, find joy in letting go of the old you.  While confidently stepping into the newness of the Spirit. Every step in His light brings us closer to a purposeful life, showing the grace that comes with our identity in Christ. It is in Christ Jesus that we find our true purpose and worth, a heavenly one that endures forever. So, encourage each other, live not just for ourselves but for the One within us, and enjoy the happiness that comes from fully identifying with Christ in every part of our lives.

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