How Do You Define Yourself

This letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach the good news. 
–Romans 1:1 (NLT)

A young woman sat in my office pouring out her heart in utter confusion. “But I don’t know why I keep doing the things that I do,” she said. “I don’t want to do what I do; I don’t want to be this way…I know that I’m a sinner; is that why I keep sinning against God? Is this the best possible life for me?”

Many people are confused about who they are because they base their identity on externals in their lives. They see themselves by how other people identify them: mother, father, fat, skinny, co-worker, banker, accountant, coach, salesperson, smart, dumb, pastor, teacher, and so on.

Many Christians define their identities with the word, “sinner.” Now, there is truth in that label. The weight of our personal brokenness in sin is a reality for every human being. But the powerful thing about being a Christ-follower is that sin does NOT have to define us. Why? Because in reality, our relationship with Jesus redefines our identity. We are NOW saints through the power of salvation.

This truth is important because we actually live and behave according to our core identity. For example, if we have children, we parent. If we are teachers, we teach. You see, if you label yourself and see your identity as defined by sin, what can you expect from yourself? Sinful behavior! Yet, if you see your identity formed by the truth of Jesus — that you are a saint — how might that change your behavior? You might actually start to live in a new way! You might actually start living according to your identity in Jesus.

1. On what do you base your identity? The Apostle Paul saw himself as a servant of Jesus. How do you see yourself?

2. Do you see how your view of yourself sets the tone for your behavior? How have you seen that occur in your life?

Matthew 5:13-16; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Philippians 1:6

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Robin Dugall

A long-time contributor to HomeWord's daily devotionals, Robin is Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church of McCall, Idaho and Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church of Cascade, Idaho. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.

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