Who am I? This question has plagued men and women for centuries, even dating back to the Original Sin. When Eve first bit the fruit, she compromised her identity. She was tempted to doubt what God had told her and Adam, and was led to believe that they could somehow be more. She and Adam had always walked with God and were firm in who they were: they were God’s beloved creation, hand-made to enjoy life with Him. But when Eve ate the fruit, she took a step back from this confidence and reached for another identity that was a lie.
When we fast-forward to today’s world, isn’t the same thing happening? We may not be in Eden anymore, but we are tempted to forsake our identity in Jesus Christ for shallow, unfulfilling alternatives. Being human, we fall sometimes. We bite the fruit that the world gives us. And we experience the pain that sin brings in guilt, shame, and regret. I believe a large part of this experience is rooted in shifting our eyes from God to earthly pleasures. When we look away from God, we begin to question our true identity in Him: are we really loved unconditionally? Are we missing out on what the world has to offer? To battle these doubts and lies, we must be sure of our identity in Christ and walk in it.
You have an amazing identity that is “hidden in Christ” (Colossians 3:3). Your identity is not a label. Your identity is not whatever other people see you as. If you are in Christ, your identity should not change based on others’ approval, on perfectionism, or even on how you think you should be. Your identity needs to be in Jesus Christ alone.
But knowing who we are is just the first step. As young women, we need to develop character that aligns with our identity in Christ. The third chapter of Colossians gives us a basic outline of the characteristics we should strive for and the qualities we should avoid. The Apostle Paul tells us in verses 5-9 to “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another…” (ESV). It is so easy to get wrapped up in these “earthly” traits, especially in a world that is saturated with them. However, as daughters of God, we are called to a higher standard. As Paul tells us in verses 12-17:
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
We can develop these qualities only by the power of the Holy Spirit inside us. We seek to develop these virtues in our hearts because we love God. As we continue to grow closer to Him, He will change our hearts to be more like His. The wonderful thing is that this doesn’t change our identity in Him; it just brings us closer to being who we were created to be. It brings the reality of Heaven closer to Earth as we walk closer with God and He speaks to us, transforming our hearts. And in this process, we truly find who we are: not by focusing on ourselves, but by looking to God.