Pepperdine University is full of gifted, talented people; the girls I live with exemplify that. One runs a nonprofit organization and is involved in a million other things; another is known for her surfing skills and her free spirit; one has the biggest heart for the nations and will move to some far-off place to proclaim the Gospel after graduation; another is known for her photography and eye for beauty; the one moving in just came back from serving in Kenya and has an incredible way with words. Each girl has a different gift and utilizes it to share Jesus.
Okay, Jesus, I understand that we all have “different gifts but the same God,” and we are all different parts of the body, but why can’t I have their gift? What do I even identify with? Am I the only one feeling this?
For a long time, I identified as multi-ethnic, as the exuberant one, as where I’m from, as my friend group, my family, academics, the sports I was involved in, etc. I’m not known for one thing nor have I been able to establish a firm identity. Because of that, sometimes I feel like I pale in comparison to the girls I live with. I remain in the background and my flesh desires to be seen; I desire to be known for something.
God has this funny way of speaking to my heart at unexpected moments. But I guess not all that unexpected since it was at church. After waking up for just another Sunday at Reality LA, God spoke truth and reminded me of my identity through the pastor’s message.
My identity does not lie with the things of this world or the gifts I am given (still figuring out exactly what those are). These will pass away, but my identity in Christ is unshakable. No longer do I desire others to see my accomplishments but to see the redeeming work that Christ has done in my heart. I do not desire to know what the world sees me as but choose to see my identity through the eyes of Christ. I charge you to do the same thing. Shed the worldly perspective and take on the identity that God has defined for us as His children. Here’s what I learned:
You are blessed.
Ephesians 1:3 says that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. That’s wild. By being in Christ, by identifying with Him, we are given every spiritual blessing. This is not something I can boast about, but it is something that causes me to boast in Jesus. His sacrifice has blessed us more than we could ever imagine.
You are chosen and you are adopted.
For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One He loves.
We are chosen for a purpose – to give glory to God and be holy and blameless in His sight. This is brought about by being in Christ and growing in who He intended us to be. Also, we have been adopted into God’s family! He saved us, welcoming us into a family, and we now have access to our loving Father. We are children of God; He loves us as much as He loved His own perfect Son. And being a family, we are called to live in community as members of His household.
This is not to say I no longer struggle with identity. I do, but not nearly as often. I now know what my identity is and what I should set my identification foundation on – Christ. I cling to the idea that we are blessed, we are chosen, and we are adopted into God’s family. I am a child of God – that is how I choose to identify.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.
1 Corinthians 15:10
-Bri Emerzian // @bricheese19