How do you identify yourself? For some, identity is proven with a driver’s license or passport.
But who are you really, and what do you do? Some would answer that more probing “identity” question by describing a career or hobby. Others would express their identity according to a sexual preference or lifestyle. Still others would define their identity along the lines of a political, ideological, or even religious affiliation.
However, your true identity—who you are, where you came from, where you are headed—is more than a career, sexual lifestyle or political conviction. The real you is defined according to factors such as the conscience you follow, how you treat others, what you think about in your spare time, and what you do or who you trust when life has you on the ropes.
Now, who are you, really?
For those who identity themselves as true followers of Jesus and citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, Paul and his companions revealed nine concepts in 2 Corinthians.
For one, following Jesus means complete reliance on the Lord (2 Co. 1.9): “Indeed, we felt we were under the sentence of death, in order that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead.”
It also involves great amounts of prayer (2 Co. 1.11): “You also help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
In addition, Kingdom identity maintains a clear conscience (2 Co. 1.12): “We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom.”
Following Jesus involves the Spirit, not legalism (2 Co. 3.5b-6): “…our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
It occasions an eternal perspective (2 Co. 4.18): “…we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Followers of Jesus strive to be courageous (2 Co. 5.7): “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Citizens of his Kingdom live to please the Lord (2 Co. 5.9): “So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.”
Also, Kingdom identity is otherworldly (2 Co. 5.17): “Therefore if anyone is in the Messiah, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Following Jesus means choosing to live the Gospel (2 Co. 5.18): “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
True identity in Jesus, therefore, places his Kingdom above career, sexuality, politics and self. Difficult? Absolutely. Worth it? Unquestionably!