The major strategy of Satan is to distort the character of God and the truth of who we are. He can’t change God and he can’t do anything to change our identity and position in Christ. If, however, he can get us to believe a lie, we will live as though our identity in Christ isn’t true. –Neil T. Anderson, scholar and author
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 1 Samuel 18:1-4 (ESV)
Jonathan’s robe and armor were unique identifiers of the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. Giving them to David redefined, at least to a degree, David’s identity. When other Israelites saw David wearing Jonathan’s robe, they knew immediately that any disrespect would bring the wrath of the prince of Israel upon their heads. A sharing of identities exemplifies the very heart of a God-ordained covenant.
God Redefines a Person’s Identity
God seems to have no problem redefining the identities of His covenant children. He did it with Abraham (previously Abram), the father of our faith. And He did it with Peter (previously Simon), one of the more eminent apostles. The truth, however, is that regardless of whether or not there is a formal name change, God reconstructs the identity of every one of His children. Upon entry into the Christian faith, every person’s life is redefined as a son or daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords. The full ramifications of this new identity push the limits of human comprehension.
Indeed, one of most significant problems in the church today is that the average Christian doesn’t know his or her identity as a covenant child of God. This leads to the huge and destructive mistake of seeking significance through appearance, performance, and possessions rather than through a relationship with the King of Glory.
Such insecurity leads to a host of problems. How we view ourselves changes with the ebb and flow of personal accomplishment or the whim of public opinion. All too often, we then see ourselves as miserable worms and beggars in the eyes of the holy God, muddling along with hearts full of fear and anxiety, hoping that for some vague reason He will look upon us with momentary favor.
Confidence or Arrogance?
The line between confidence in God and arrogance may at times appear to be very fine, but it is a line nonetheless. In reality, a true understanding of our covenant identity in God will free us from pride and arrogance. When we know who we are, we have no need to climb the ladder of significance or broadcast our strengths to others. When we know who we are, we are free to just be. To walk with God. And to serve Him (and others) without constantly focusing on our own self-worth, or lack thereof.
True confidence grows from the inside out, not the outside in. We are validated not by our performance and the subsequent approval of others, but by the reality of our covenant relationship with the eternal King of Glory.
It is no trite matter to be called a child of God and to be clothed in Christ’s robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Our Identity in Christ
We too often get bogged down in the wilderness because of a vain effort to find significance within ourselves apart from God. This inherent, yet painfully destructive, tendency must be thoroughly addressed if we are to live with a healthy sense of purpose.
Our wise and loving Father will deconstruct our old, flesh-based identities in order to establish the new. If you feel like God is tearing you down, it is only for the purpose of building you up.
Never allow doubt to take root in your heart during such times. Instead, lay hold of your covenant identity in Christ, and in due season you will find yourself overflowing with life.
This post is drawn from Chapter Forty of Bob’s devotional: Champions in the Wilderness—Fifty-Two Devotions to Guide and Strengthen Emerging Overcomers