Identity is at the core of our essence. Who am I? Where did I come from and where am I going? What is my purpose and do I have a destiny? Can I influence the fulfilment of my destiny?
The answers are in the Bible. Truth about who we are and why we are here, promises that are weapons we can fight with in the days of trial, and illustrations from the lives of those who have gone before us on the journey are all found in the pages of Scripture. But while these are laid out for us to pick up and find encouragement from, we have an adversary who is trying to divert us. He is a created being and never has been equal to or opposite to God. His only power is in the lies he leads us to believe, through negative character traits which we assume are inherited from our ancestors, rules and slogans that we live by, and pre-emptive strikes against our calling and destiny. His purpose is to get us to lay down our weapons and say that we cannot change nor alter the path we find ourselves on.
Do I have a calling, purpose and destiny? The Bible’s answer is a resounding YES. Each of us is made for fellowship with God and with one another. We are made to bring God glory: individually and together. We are made by God and for God. Each of us has a special role in God’s kingdom that no one else can fulfil. If we believe the lies of the enemy and choose not to fight, our calling will pass to the next generation and our unique purpose and destiny will be lost. We will make it to heaven like those escaping from the fire without treasures stored up in advance (1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and Matthew 6:19-21).
My personal struggle with identity came to the surface when I moved to the Middle East and started living cross-culturally: loving both the Israelis (Jews and Arabs) and also the Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Egyptians and multiple other peoples of this region. I discovered that identity is crucial. Until I discovered who I was in Christ Jesus the Messiah, I could not comprehend my own purpose and destiny. Everything centres on him. My unique identity and calling is unlocked through learning to live in obedience to the Holy Spirit. If I seek to find them elsewhere, I will only succeed in elevating my SELF; my intellect, will power and emotions.
Identity is crucial. In laying down my own identity and exchanging it for that of the Messiah, I find that questions of politics and religion fade away and instead the question is one of love. Jesus came to his own people at a time of occupation. They were looking for a military Messiah to liberate them and most failed to recognize their Creator. His own identity was a mystery to them; they found his path through suffering and death incomprehensible.
Two thousand years ago, the Jewish people had a picture of the Messiah they were waiting for. He would be a military king who would lead his people to lasting victory. He would banish the Gentiles and settle every family in their own inheritance. To accomplish this, they expected the Messiah to come from an established family with connections to both the royalty and the priesthood. He would be trained in warfare and administration, drawing the elite of the land to his inner counsel.
Instead, Jesus came from an unimportant town, walked through the land with a group of laborers, trained them to be like him, and then laid down his life so that they would have the restored fellowship with God and authority they needed to replicate his ministry. His identity was hidden from his people because they were focused on the systems of this world and not on the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus is coming again soon. His identity remains a mystery to the majority of people on the earth. Jesus is awakening his people to their identity, calling, purpose and destiny. He is calling us to come out from the systems and expectations of this world and realign ourselves with the kingdom of heaven. Together we will make his name known among the nations and in Israel.
Although I was born into a Christian family and brought up in the church, I believed some of the lies of the enemy and laid down my calling for almost thirty years. But when God returns a gift to you, he does not return it as it was when you left it but at the level it would have become had you not laid it down. These are the days of acceleration and whether you are nine or ninety-nine, as long as you have breath in your body there is still a calling on your life. You have a purpose to discover and a destiny to fulfil.
I challenge you to press in deeper to God and search out the answers in prayer and Bible study. The building blocks for forming your identity in Messiah are found in coming to know the king, the principles of his kingdom, and then exploring the many paths within the kingdom. This journey is best travelled in fellowship; I encourage you to find a friend or mentor. Meet together regularly and hold one another accountable.
From Passover until Pentecost, I am sharing short daily devotions on Facebook, Pinterest and email. These devotions are based on the journey of the Israelites in the book of Exodus after the parting of the Red Sea. I would love to have you join us on this journey into Freedom in Messiah.
This article is adapted from the book Identity in Messiah: finding strength to stand in the last days by Wendy Halloun.