What we call ourselves is who we become. Little children labeled stupid start to think they are dumb, making it difficult for them to excel. While not everyone has every talent, when we speak the truth of who we are in Christ, we grow into that identity over time and space. Second Corinthians 3:18 puts it this way, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (NKJV). The more we gaze upon the Lord, the more we reflect His image and look like Him to those around us.
When we see ourselves a certain way, we strive to become that. Athletes conduct visualization exercises as part of their training to excel in sports. When they see the skill performed in their mind’s eye, it improves performance on the field. If we speak truth to ourselves about who we are, we grow into that. Likewise, if we perceive ourselves as lacking, those thoughts can choke out our abilities. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. We must remind ourselves of who we are in Christ and fulfill our divine destinies.
I recently read a children’s book where the author gave grand titles to the children after they completed certain escapades. Instead of being named by their infirmities, like Linda the Lame, she became Linda the Brave who rushed into the thick of trouble. Instead of Hank the Hungry, he was Hank the Quick who could outrun the enemy. John the Jealous became John the Strong. The naming convention seemed a little odd to me until I thought about the Russian tsars. They had people like Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. Which one would you rather be called?
Names matter. The names other people attach to us, and what we call ourselves. For a couple of years, I called my younger sister “Stinky” because her name starts with the letter “S.” Once I learned more about how the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), I quit calling her Stinky. It wasn’t true. My sister always smells good. I didn’t want to make her feel yucky by the monikers I placed on her. Now, I just stick with her actual name, which means “princess.” A much more delightful designation, I think we’d all agree.
Who do you think you are? I’ve been studying Ephesians, which contains rich jewels of who we are in Christ. In the first fourteen verses alone, we find that in Him we are:
Wow! The wonders of who God has made us in Christ blows my mind. What if instead of feeling like Joanna the Unwanted, I remind myself that I am Joanna – the Accepted in the Beloved. To go beyond thinking about this just once, what every morning I recited the list above about my identity in Christ. I imagine that by the end of a few months I would stand a little taller and walk out my life in Christ more richly.
We are who we think we are. If we aren’t intentional to meditate on our identity in Christ, we can lapse into who the world says we are. Christ has anchored our eternities in who He says we are. I choose to be Joanna the Saint, Joanna the Holy, Joanna the Redeemed, Joanna the Blameless. Who will you choose to be? I pray you become who you are in Christ by owning the reality of your identity in Him. May we all grow to be more like Jesus every day to the praise of His glory.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.