“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1)
When getting to know someone, it’s common to be asked, So what do you do? That question is an implicit inquiry about your career or lifestyle. In response, you’re expected to say something like: “I’m a stay-at-home mom.” Or: “I’m a marketing consultant.”
More than simple curiosity, though, this familiar question reveals something profound—that what we do tends to define us. Our career, lifestyle, ambitions, relationships—these things often provide for us a sense of identity. They can be a way of saying to the world, “I matter! I’m significant! I’m consequential!”
While that’s not entirely bad, it does set us up for discouragement. For instance, the stay-at-home mom becomes discouraged when one of her kids enters a difficult stage. As her parenting attempts fall short, she begins to wonder, “Am I a total failure?” Her identity hangs in the balance of that question. Or what about when the marketing consultant gets let go because the firm is “taking things in a different direction”? What then becomes of his identity?
Such questions can lead us to discover the glorious truth about who we are in Christ. In Him, we find that being a marketing consultant or a stay-at-home mom are callings, not identities. You see, a calling is something you fulfill through words and actions for a greater purpose. An identity, on the other hand, is strictly based on God’s words and actions—what He says about you and what He has done for you in Christ.
Your identity is therefore true of you all the way down to the deepest level of your being. If all else were stripped away—your career, your earthly relationships, your plans—your identity as a beloved child of God would still remain. Unlike our callings, which are temporary, our identity in Christ is eternally fixed and irrevocable.
And yet, our identity is nonetheless profoundly connected to our callings. Through our identity in Christ, God sources our callings with His love for the purpose of showing that love to others. This is why Paul told the Ephesians that in the various areas of their lives they were to imitate God “as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1). Because they had received a new identity in Christ, they were free to live out their callings as spouses, parents, bosses, and workers in a manner that emulates the tender, self-giving heart of God in Christ.
As we look toward Sunday, God is offering us that same freedom—to stop confusing our callings with our identity, and to start basing our lives solely on His love for us in Jesus. In fact, this is the heart behind our current sermon series, Love. We’ve been working our way through the gospel of John on Sundays to help you see that you are loved by God. Again and again, we’re being reminded that Jesus “will not leave [us] as orphans” (John 14:18); He instead receives us each week as beloved children of God, inviting us to experience His love in a deeper way.
Therefore, God wants us to come away from this week’s worship gathering with a renewed sense of who we are in Christ, so that we can fulfill our callings for His sake. Will you pray for that? Between now and the moment you walk out of church on Sunday, ask God to put you in touch with your true identity. You are His beloved child, and nothing will ever change that.
Set List for Sunday, March 25, 2018:
This Is Amazing Grace (J. Farro, J. Riddle, P. Wickham)
Glorious Day (S. Curran, J. Ingram, J. Smith, K. Stanfill)
This I Believe (The Creed) (M. Crocker, B. Fielding)
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (S. Townend)
Heart Abandoned (S. Curran, K. Stanfill)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.