Who am I? Really?
As children, we often dreamed about who we would be when we grew up. My vision of myself changed many times over the years, but I always wanted to be beautiful and to belong.
One of my favorite images was Cinderella. I loved the TV movie produced in 1965 starring Leslie Ann Warren. (You’ll get to see her in the video below!) She was so beautiful! I wanted to be like her in all her beauty, floating through ballrooms in a stunning white gown with the luxurious fur.
I especially wanted to be found and desired and loved by the handsome prince.
Cinderella is a wonderful picture of how we can see our identity in Christ, isn’t it? We just seem to naturally gravitate toward seeing ourselves as a poor, bedraggled cinder girl, undeserving of anything better, but desperately clinging to our hope for a better future.
But the wonderful news is that Jesus has done everything needed to make us beautiful, ready to be a bride to the King Himself. We don’t need a fairy godmother when we have God the Father as our Helper.
In part 1 of “Who Am I Really? (found here). we talked about understanding our identity by first seeing who we are not. We looked at 3 identities we might assume for ourselves that really aren’t the truth and need to be removed from our perceptions and mindsets.
In this post, let’s now gladly switch to the positive! I want to look with you at 3 of the many, many ways God defines all of us as believers. These truths are really bedrock foundational to understanding who you really are, your true identity.
WHO YOU ARE
1. You Are Forgiven
In the story of Cinderella, her family did their best to remind her frequently of her miserable condition. They taunted her with cruel words and unreasonable expectations.
We have an accuser as well. He is quite the enemy. Night and day, he brings accusation. (Rev. 12:10)
He loves to remind us of our sin and rub it in our face. And he loves to do business in shame. Why, if he can keep us cloaked in a thick garment of shame, he doesn’t have to worry about us soaking up the warmth of God’s light. We can stay in darkness all on our own.
Listen to this truth:
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22 ESV
This verse tells us that the shedding of blood, someone giving their life for another, purifies us. The word “purify” in Greek means “to make clean and to free from the guilt of sin”. When we believe what Jesus did on the cross for us, we are considered clean – made white as snow like fine linen.
We are no longer held guilty. Jesus took our guilt for us.
“Purify” also means “to free from defilement of sin and from faults.” This is so incredible you might miss it because we are just so familiar with these words. You are not only freed from the guilt of your sins, you are freed from any effects that your sin (or the sin of others) might have on you that has left you feeling defiled.
You may have done things or had things done to you that have made you feel dirty, tarnished. You may know mentally that the Bible tells you forgiveness is available. But you don’t feel it.
I understand. The weight from sin that I carried around was oppressive. I was a good girl in the eyes of the world, yet I knew what my heart was like. Shame was a constant companion.
Coming before God was not something I usually wanted to do. I wanted to hide, as if He didn’t know what was in my heart. My feelings of guilt and shame made me want to run away. I thought He wouldn’t love me if He could see me as I was.
I didn’t understand forgiveness.
Dear one, how I want to encourage you that God looks at you now through Jesus. He sees you as a new creation, the old made new. Your sin has been dealt with, and shame is no longer a threat.
This is now your identity:
You Are Forgiven!
You can hold your head up high with dignity. He is in the restoration business, and He is restoring you to all He created you to be. No shame allowed! You are forgiven.
2. You Are Righteous
For most of my Christian life, I thought righteousness was something I would attain one day, like when I got to Heaven. Because I lived with my eyes on my sin and my shame, I just couldn’t see myself as anything “right”. I was too painfully aware of my huge list of “wrongs”.
Thankfully, God is in the exchange business right now.
For our sake He made Him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor. 5:21 ESV
Here is the exchange: Jesus, who never sinned, not only took our sin upon Himself, but this verse says He was “made our sin”. I can’t even begin to comprehend how Jesus could be sin, but I can choose to accept it.
In exchange, we, who have sinned enormously, can now “become the righteousness of God.” What exactly does THAT mean?
Let’s look at the Greek definition of “righteousness” used in the verse above. It means “the state of him who is as he ought to be, the condition acceptable to God.”
This is how God sees us now. He declares that we are righteous. We are as we ought to be. Now please don’t insert your mother’s voice here and read this as “You ought to be this” or “You ought to do that”.
God is not dealing with what you “should be”.
“As we ought to be” means as He created us to be. Because of Jesus, we can now become as God designed us to be from the very beginning. This is how God sees us. It has absolutely nothing to do with our performance or how good we are. It has everything to do with the fact that we are in Jesus, and God sees us through Him.
So this is now part of your new identity and how you must choose to see yourself:
You Are Righteous.
You are now acceptable to God. You have permission to claim it!
3. You Are Royal
In the story of Cinderella, there’s a scene where the fairy godmother comes to Cinderella to give her the desire of her heart.
Here’s a clip of this scene I’d love for you to watch (and yes, it’s old and the cinematography and setting are so very simple, but it still touches my heart!!):
The clip shows Cinderella and the fairy godmother singing together about impossibilities. One of the lines goes “It’s impossible for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage.” Cinderella could only see herself as plain and simple, in tattered rags.
The fairy godmother transformed everything around her. But then Cinderella becomes painfully aware of her own condition. She is not qualified to go to the ball looking like she does. So the fairy godmother transforms her by giving her a new outfit and a crown for her head.
Oh friend! This reminds me of one of my favorite passages in the Bible:
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See I have removed your inquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by. –Zechariah 3:1-5
You, my dear one, have had your filthy garments taken from you. You are forgiven. You have been clothed with rich robes of righteousness and have a crown of beauty placed on your head. (Isaiah 61) You are made ready to be the bride of the King.
No longer do you have to see yourself as “less than” and “not enough”. You have been chosen by the King and made a part of the royal family. You have permission to see yourself with dignity, honor, and worth because He has given you a kingdom.
All that He has done for us calls for us to respond to His sacrifice by lifting our heads and walking in confidence and grace. We bring Him honor when we choose to see ourselves as He now sees us.
We’re not talking about arrogance here. No, seeing yourself as royalty means having an acceptance of your worth and an assurance that you are really okay. You might still need to learn some of the protocol of being in the royal family, but you are accepted and you belong.
So hold your head up high. You are royalty!
I believe Cinderella is a story for the ages because transformation always brings hope. Cinderella had a gentle and kind heart all along, but it was only when her outer trappings were transformed that others were able to see who she really was.
We have been transformed by Christ. We are forgiven. We are made righteous, right as we were created to be. And we have been adopted into a royal family, with a glorious inheritance in Christ. We now have the freedom to be who we really are and the permission to shine for all the world to see.
Be you! Be real! Be amazing!
So thankful to be a part of the family with you,
Would you please let us know how this resonates with you? These 3 traits are only just a few of the many ways that God chooses to define us and give us our identity. I’d love to hear how you’re learning to see yourself as God sees you. Let’s encourage one another! Thanks!
“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”