I’ve searched for identity
in my successes
but my failures get in the way.
I’ve looked for identity
in my possessions
but they age, break, and malfunction.
I’ve sought identity
but everyone is flawed somehow.
I’ve searched for identity in ministry
but the Spirit gets in the way.
I’ve reached for identity
but I never know enough.
I’ve gotten my identity
from my strength
but weakness took it away.
I’ve taken identity
from my abilities
but inability stole it from me.
There is no place
no level of knowledge
that can impart
of meaning and purpose
that everyone desires.
I’ve quit looking out
and begun looking up.
I am loved
I am forgiven
I have eternal value
I have meaning and purpose
I have security and rest
I have understanding
I have moral direction
I have self-knowledge
I have peace of heart.
You are in me
I am in you.
This bond is
This bond is
and it cannot be broken.
“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 don’t think that we talk about this enough. I don’t think that we celebrate this reality enough. I don’t think we let our hearts consider the wonder of this identity enough.
It is so amazing that it defies all standard human logic and intuition. It is the spiritual miracle of miracles that becomes the defining identity of all of God’s blood-bought children by grace.
Amazingly, we are forgiven and accepted by God by grace and grace alone. There is nothing natural about this. We instinctively think that we must work our way into God’s favor and earn our way into his presence, but the biblical story is anything but natural.
It’s the story of rebels who not only don’t desire a relationship with God but who could not possibly earn it even if they did. This is a story of divine intervention, of divine substitution, of divine sacrifice, and of divine grace.
It is a story of God sending his Son to live as we were meant to live, to die the death that each of us deserves, to satisfy God’s righteous requirement and placate his anger, and to rise out of the grave, conquering sin and death.
It is a story of incredible patience, tenderness, compassion, love, mercy, and grace—forgiveness granted, acceptance secured, and righteousness given to those who could not have merited them on their own.
It is far better than any “too good to be true” story.
So since this is true, why would you search for identity anywhere else?
Paul David Tripp
1. Where in life have you been most successful? How is this a testament to God’s grace and generosity?
2. Are you tempted to take credit for your achievements even though it’s only the result of God’s gifting and timing? Consider all the ways in which you could have never achieved your successes on your own. Be specific.
3. What is your most treasured possession or favorite hobby? How is this evidence of God’s creative design? How can this be a blessing?
4. What happened when that possession was taken away or damaged, or you can’t enjoy your hobby? How did you respond? What does that reveal about your heart?
5. Do you put too much identity in your relationships? Are you relying too much on the love and approval of family, friends, or people you minister to? How have you already experienced the hurt of broken relationships that cannot provide the meaning and purpose you seek?
6. How can you practically quit looking out and start looking up for identity? What will that require you to sacrifice? What sins will you need to confess? What idols will you need to tear down?