Today, many Christians (and ministers) are experiencing identity issues for one reason or another. They don’t know who they are, they don’t know what to do, nor do they know where they belong. The past haunts them, the present is scary, and the future appears bleak and dismal.

In 2002 Universal Pictures released a movie called The Bourne Identity, an American action thriller spy film starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, an amnesiac attempting to discover his true identity amidst a clandestine conspiracy within the Central Intelligence Agency.1 While I am not endorsing the movie as a whole, the scenario I found interesting to watch was the difficulty a person experiences when they do not know their true identity.

In today’s world you have many things challenging your born identity—who God created you to be.

You are required to carry various forms of identity, such as a passport, driver’s license, or a picture ID of some kind to verify who you are. In some cases, an identity crisis occurs when you or someone else does not consciously walk in the knowledge of their true identity. At other times, when your identity is not known by others or in some cases cannot be proven by you, it creates a crisis . . . hence we experience an identity crisis.

Today, the world (and the church, including ministers) is full of people who look to various things in this world for their identity. Here are four main areas:

1. Some people find their identity in their things.

Toys make them feel better, and the older they get, the bigger and more expensive their toys need to be to undergird the feelings of their identity. Their identity only lasts as long as their toys do, so what happens to their identity if all their things are suddenly gone?

2. Some people look for their identity in their vocation.

They say they are a firemen, or a lawyer, or a laborer, or a housewife. For these people, their vocation is everything. The idea of retiring from their vocation is a life-threatening. The question is, when they retire, who will they be then? All too often these people have nothing to live for any more.

3. Some people find their identity in their performance.

When they fail in something, they identify themselves as a failure. When they win or succeed, they view themselves as a winner or champion. They feel good about themselves when they win, and become depressed about themselves when they lose.

4. Some people find their identity in their past experiences

Their upbringing, the culture and economic conditions of their hometown, and where they went to school all factor into who many people think they are. Some people talk about who their Momma and Daddy were and where they came from to define their identity.

However, we need to think about the chorus of a song that Lacrae, the American Christian hip hop artist, sings, “I’m not the shoes I wear, I’m not the clothes I buy / I’m not the house I live in, I’m not the car I drive / I’m not the job I work, You can’t define my worth / By nothing on God’s green earth, my identity is found in Christ.”2

Identity Issues Are Everywhere

King David asked a question to God, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him” (Psalms 8:4) He marvels at the identity of mankind as he sees who God created him to be. So it is with everyone who endeavors to find out who God really created them to be. It almost trips the circuit breakers in your mind when you get a glimpse of who God really created you to be.

Spiritually, people who do not know who God really created them to be also experience an identity crisis.

In this world you can have an identity crisis as you travel if you don’t have a photo ID, because you cannot satisfactorily prove to others who you are. Physiologically, a person who experiences amnesia will suffer an identity crisis because they cannot remember who they were.

Satan works to create identity crises in a Christian’s life so they cannot function in the capacity in which God created them, and they will not tap into the resources that God has approved for them to have. Thus, Christians will not walk in the authority and privileges that God has given to them. They will not actively possess the promises of God, even though God has already approved them to receive all of His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Gideon’s Identity Issues Limited Him

Look at the story of Gideon in Judges 6:11-16, “Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.  And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

In verse 12, the angel addresses Gideon as a “mighty man of valor.” This happens while Gideon is hiding in a winepress because of the threat of Israel’s enemies. He did not immediately embrace his real identity. First, he made excuses—saying his family was the least in the community and he was the least in his family! Second, he repeatedly asked God to verify his real identity with fleeces.

Gideon thought he knew who he was—but God revealed his true identity to him.

God will also reveal your true identity according to how He created you. Knowing your God-given identity will then help you to step into God’s plan for your life! God had planned for Gideon to be the deliverer of Israel, but he first had to change Gideon’s knowledge of who he really is. Understanding your real identity enables you to rise up and accomplish mighty things! Know who you are helps you to realize what you can do!

Paul Had to Speak Up To Walk in His Identity

Now look at what happened to Paul…  “Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.” Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.” The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. (Acts 22:23-29 NKJV)

Paul was unjustly treated until he spoke up revealing his real identity as a Roman citizen. At once they treated him differently. Once people hear you speak up to reveal you real identity, they will treat you differently too. When you are challenged, you have to speak up and declare who you really are.

Declare Your Born Identity

You can avoid an identity crisis by consciously understanding your born identity in who the Bible says you really are. It is our responsibility to find out who the Bible says we are, and then make that a part of our vocabulary. As you give voice to your identity, you can begin to live in the light of your identity—a whole new way of living will open up to you!

You need to begin saying who you are in Christ. Each one of the following statements reveal a part of your born identity based on scripture—an aspect of who you are the moment you become born again. Begin to say the these “I am” statements as often as necessary to establish who the Bible says you are in your conscious thought life and in your heart.

26 Statements of Who The Bible Says You Are

A = I am able to do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)

B = I am blessed by the Lord in all things. (Ephesians 1:3)

C = I am personally chosen by God. (Ephesians 1:4)

D = I am delivered from Satan’s kingdom! (Colossians 1:13)

E = I am enriched in everything. (1 Corinthians 1:5)

F = I am favored of God. (Job 10:12)

G = I am guided by the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13)

H = I am healed by the stripes of Jesus. (1 Peter 2:24)

I = I am made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26)

J = I am joyful in the Lord! (Philippians 4:4)

K = I am kept by the power of God. (1 Peter 1:5)

L = I am loved unconditionally by the Lord. (John 3:16)

M = I am a mountain-mover by faith. (Mark 11:23)

N = I am made new in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

O = I am an overcomer by faith! (1 John 5:4)

P = I am protected by the Lord. (Psalms 91:1)

Q = I am qualified to be an heir of God. (Colossians 1:12)

R = I am redeemed from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13)

S = I am saved to the uttermost. (Hebrews 7:25)

T = I am triumphant in Christ! (2 Corinthians 2:14)

U = I am united together with Christ. (Romans 6:5)

V = I am victorious in Christ. (2 Corinthians 15:57)

W = I am washed by the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 1:5)

X = I am exactly who God created me to be. (Hebrews 13:12)

Y = I am yoked with Jesus. (Matthew 11:29)

Z = I am zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)

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