As I write this to you, I am sitting in Denver, Colorado. I came here to participate in a series of workshops designed to help churches who work in high poverty communities. When I went to sign in, I noticed that my name tag read: Daniel Tulsa. In other words, they had substituted where I was from for my last name. I asked the lady handing out the name tags if it was possible to get it changed, but she said no. So, for the next few days, I am “Daniel Tulsa”.
It’s been interesting watching folks react to my name, as not many of us have last names that are also cities. One of the men who is a presenter has just taken to calling me “Tulsa”. While this particular situation is more comical than anything else, it has gotten me thinking about the issue of “identity”. It’s a topic that’s getting a lot of attention in our world right now, as folks are trying to sort out who they are.
The good news for Christians is that we already know what our identity is - we are Children of God. What this means is that we can discard any image of ourselves that isn’t from God. So, we can stop accepting the negative things that others might say about us. We can also stop listening to the enemy’s lies about who we are. And we can remember that we are not defined by our past, or our mistakes, or our feelings. Instead, we hold on to the truth that God tells us: He made us, He loves us, and He we are His.
2 Corinthians 1:22 puts it like this: “He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts”. When we become Christians, God places His Holy Spirit in us - identifying us as His children. Our challenge is to believe it, and live it out. So today, let’s not look to the world to define us, or even our own self image. Let’s not look to what we own, or what we do to define us. And let’s not look to our past mistakes and failures. Instead, let’s allow the identity God has given us as His children to encourage us, and motivate us to live fully for the Father to whom we belong.