But God: Finding Your Identity in the Goodness of the Gospel

“I can’t believe you would say that about yourself! I know that you know the truth, so why are you speaking lies into your life instead of believing that Christ’s death on the cross solidifies your worth in Him?”

Just this past week, I sat across from a dear friend who called me out in love about my negative self-talk and the way that I turn to others to validate my worth. It became evident throughout our conversation that I have been stuck in a rut of believing some deep-seated lies about myself and that my behavior, as a result, was only hurting me and discouraging the people around me.

As someone who has grown up in the church, I know what is true about myself and my identity. I know every Sunday school answer in the book and for most of my life I have used this to “sleepwalk” my way through life. And yet, that is not sufficient.

One of the things I am learning to do is to preach the Gospel to myself daily. It is a reminder to myself of who I am without Jesus and what I can be because of Him. Yes, I am a wretched, sinner who will come up short in every area, BUT GOD, in his great love and mercy sent his one and only son to die on the cross so that I might be able to spend eternal life with him if I simply believe.

Ephesians 2:1-10 walks us through the story of the Gospel. I love this passage in particular because Paul does not hold back in letting the church in Ephesus know how rotten they are and how desperately they need Jesus. Here is a breakdown of the passage:

  • Verse 1: We are DEAD because of sin.
  • Verse 2: In our sin, we follow the ways of the world and live in disobedience.
  • Verse 3: We live out of our fleshly desires, becoming people of wrath.
  • Verse 4: BUT GOD — because of his great love.
  • Verse 5: By grace God has made us alive with Christ, even though we were dead!
  • Verse 6: We are raised up and seated with Christ on high!
  • Verse 7: God does this to show us his greatness.
  • Verse 8: We are saved by grace through faith!
  • Verse 9: None of our works will get us salvation.
  • Verse 10: We are Christ’s workmanship, created to walk in the path the Lord has laid out for us!

I know from reading this passage in Ephesians 2, that my sin disqualifies me, that it is heartbreaking to the Lord, and that because of it, I am dead. I see so clearly in my life where the desires of my flesh take charge of my thoughts and behaviors. Allowing roots of bitterness to grow, using words that kill, and basing my worth of off what others think of me are just a few of the many ways in which I follow the ways of the world.

But God.

By His grace, because of his great love, I do not have to remain dead. I can live in the resurrection of Christ (Romans 6)! However, this is not because of anything that I can or will do. My nature is still one of sin, but it is because of grace that we can be saved through faith!

Because of this gift, we can live out what God has created us for – for the good works he has prepare for us to do beforehand, that we might walk in them!

The reality is I am not worth it or enough on my own, but it is Christ’s ultimate sacrifice that says that I am. In the eyes of the world, I will never measure up — no one will — and so my priority should not be pleasing the people in my life but living in such a way that everything I do brings glory to my Savior.

I need to live taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ because I know that the war I wage is not against flesh but against divine powers (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When I exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship the created rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25), I need to remind myself of the one who belongs on the throne — the High King of Heaven. When lies, insecurities, bitterness, and every kind of disobedience take up residence in my brain, I need to remind myself of the Gospel: that I cannot live this life for the Lord on my own, but only through his power, his grace, and his incredible work on the cross.

“My worth is not in what I own, Not in the strength of flesh and bone, But in the costly wounds of love, at the cross, My worth is not in skill or name, In win or lose, In pride or shame But in the blood of Christ that flowed, At the cross”

My Worth is Not in What I Own – Shane & Shane

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