You may have heard your calling is your assignment from God and your identity is Christ. This statement is biblical on the surface but is also potentially misleading.
“Your Identity Is Christ” Is Ambiguous
What if someone misinterprets this as the new age idea that you’re an anonymous drop in a bucket? You’re “one with god?” You have no identity, but must live out Christ’s identity? When you become a Christian, do you lose the sense of who you are? No!
God designed you so you can’t lose your identity. You’re a one-of-a-kind unique creation. Your identity describes who you are. When you become a Christian, you identify with Christ, but you don’t become Christ. Your identity has a new meaning, but you remain a distinct person.
So What Is Identity?
Consider these four dictionary definitions (compiled from yourdictionary.com/identity and dictionary.com/browse/identity) that capture the essence of identity. Identity is:
- “Who you are.” This definition encapsulates what I mean by identity.
- “The set of characteristics by which you are definitively recognizable.” This definition clarifies that we can use identity to distinguish you from others.
- “Your unique characteristics held by no other person.” This definition clarifies that having an identity means you have something that no one else will ever have.
- “What remains the same, constant, persisting over time, under varying circumstances.” This definition provides the insight that identity must be permanently yours, or else it really isn’t part of you.
Your Identity Has Shared and Exclusive Attributes
Look at this Venn diagram to see that you have shared attributes, but you also have attributes exclusive to you.
Spiritually speaking, a lot is going on inside of you. As Christian, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. You also have the work of Christ applied to your life.
If you’re a Christian, you have an agreement with God. You are a new creation because the Holy Spirit takes up residence with you. Although you’re dependent upon God for your spiritual health, you remain a distinct person capable of making your own decisions and manifesting your own personality.
Christ’s Substitutionary Death Didn’t Kill Your Personality
Spiritually, you died to sin because of your acceptance of Christ. Whatever Christ did, God considers you to have done it too. Christ sustains your life by faith.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV
“I no longer live” doesn’t mean that you no longer have an identity. This means you yield to Christ because He sustains your spirit. You allow Jesus to do for you want you can’t do for yourself. You’re a distinct being, having your own identity. Your identity is powered by God and the Holy Spirit is working to make your spiritual character pure like Christ.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Romans 8:10 ESV
Becoming a Christian Enhances Your Distinctiveness
The goal in life isn’t to become a Jesus clone. Instead, God wants you to be a distinct personality that demonstrates the same character as Jesus.
Others will appreciate Jesus more when they see a distinct person exhibiting His character than if they see a generic person trying to show love. God is all about co-operation. He wants diversity and unity. God gets all the glory, but He delights in seeing Himself reflected in the many different identities of His people. You experience and exhibit God in ways like no other.