Who do we think we are? Do I primarily define myself by my job, my family, a favorite hobby or as an avid sports fan? Many of us struggle at times with working out who we really are. Some of us may be in the midst of an identity crisis. Our identity is what forms our decisions, drives our actions and determines the trajedectory of our lives. The question of who do we think we are is significant bound up in whose we are. As we are exploring on the weekend, the first 3 chapters of the book of Ephesians teach us a lot about our identity. Once we know whose we are, we will know what to do. In addition to each daily devotional, we would ask that read through Ephesians chapters 1-3 each week and journal the insights that you observed related to one’s identity in Christ!
This devotional guide is intended to help you paint an accurate picture of who you are in Jesus Christ. Having an accurate understanding of who God says I am directs my decisions, drives our actions and determines our legacy. This devotional guide has been prepared as a companion to our Ephesians series. May this guide lead you into a deeper understanding of who you are in Jesus Christ!
I am loved by God. (1 John 4:10)
Love is the basis for everything with God. If there was no love given by Him, we would not even have a hope of being in a relationship with Him. It is because of His love for us that we can have hope. John 3:16 says this, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God loved us so much that he sacrificed his Son, Jesus, to take our place so that we could live.
Read 1 John 4:10 and Ephesians 2:4-5
Q. The first step in our relationship with God is to recognize that he first loved us and made a way for us to have a relationship with Him. Why is it so important to know and understand that God loves you?
Q. What would be a proper way to determine whether you truly believe that you are loved by God?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are loved by God?
Read John 13:34
Q. Christ has commanded us to love one another as He has loved us. How does knowing that God loves others as he does you impact the way in which you view others?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that others are loved by God?
I am forgiven of all my sins. (Ephesians 1:7)
The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. God, in his love and mercy towards us has chosen to forgive us. It was not something that we deserved or something that we earned through doing “good things,” but rather it was given freely as a gift of grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” This verse clearly talks about the gift of forgiveness, “not by works.” It is because of this gift, through Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection, that we can experience forgiveness for our wrongdoings and shortcomings.
Read Romans 3:23, 6:23
Though God deeply loves us, sin separates us from God. God is love, but He is also equally a God of justice. His blood on the cross was the only way that a just God could properly reconcile the payment for sin.
Read Ephesians 1:3-14
Q. Has there been a time in your life where you have granted or received forgiveness for a significant offense? What emotions were involved in this experience?
Q. Why might it be hard for us/others to accept forgiveness as a gift? How does understanding the depth of our sin influence our gratitude towards our forgiveness?
Q. What does it mean to be fully forgiven? What level of freedom should be experienced if we believe we are fully forgiven? How can you better rest in the fact that you are fully forgiven in Christ?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are truly forgiven for all things past, present, and future?
I have been buried, raised, and I am made alive with Christ. (Colossians 2:12-13)
Read Colossians 1:1-4, 2:12-14
When Christ became the sacrifice for our sins upon the cross, He took our sins with him to the grave. Our sins have been buried with Him. When Christ rose victorious from the grave, we too are raised from death into life with him. He has given us follower of Himself victory over sin and death! He has brought us into new life, where we are not slaves to sin, but rather we can live free because of his death and resurrection!
Read Ephesians 2:1-9
Q. Why is it important that we recognize that when Christ died, he took the penalty of our sins away with him?
Q. What does it mean to be made alive from this passage?
Q. How does this passage refer to the gift of salvation?
Q. How does it affect your life to know that you are made alive in Christ and no longer need to fear death?
I have been redeemed. (Galatians 3:13 and Titus 2:14)
You have been walking through a few primary identities of who you are in Christ, and one of the most important things that helps identify who you are is the concept of who you are because of his sacrifice on the cross. You have covered the fact that you are loved, you are forgiven, and you have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ. Another important identity that is similar to forgiveness is the idea that you are redeemed. What it means to be redeemed is that there was a price paid you.
Historically, redemption was used in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. A slave was “redeemed” when the price was paid for his or her freedom. So what is it that Christ has redeemed you from? Well as we learned previously, he has saved us from death, but there is much more than that. He has redeemed us from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty.
Read Galatians 3:10-14
Q. The payment that Christ made on the cross was one that cost Him his life, but granted life to us in return. Why is it so important to understand there had to be a price paid for our lives?
Q. What does it mean that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law?
Not only has Christ redeemed us from curse of sin (death), he has paid a price for us to no longer deal with sickness and sin after this life! God never desired for there to be death and pain, and because of the price he paid, we can look forward to a blessed hope: a life without sin and the effects it has!
Read Titus 2:11-14
Q. Imagine what it will be like to have a world without pain or sickness? How does the thought of eternal life spent in paradise with a God who paid the price for you to be there sound?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you have been redeemed at a very high price, the death of Jesus?
I have been saved and set apart according to God’s doing. (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5)
When God chose to set you apart, it was because of his love, mercy, and His plan. God loved you so much, that He would give his son, Jesus, to die on the cross in your place. In 1 Peter 1:20, the New Living Translation says it in a particularly interesting way, “God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.” God had a plan for you from before he created the world! He loved the entire world, past, present, and future so much that He chose to make a way for everyone to have the opportunity to engage in a relationship with Him.
Read Titus 3:3-8
Q. How does it make you feel to know that God chose you before the creation of the world? How does this communicate his level of love for you?
Q. Why is it important to leave behind our once disobedient lives? How does knowing that you are chosen by God change the motivation behind leaving our former way of life?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are chosen by God?
I am made complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10, Philippians 1:6)
One of the most comforting things you can ever realize is that in Christ you are made complete by His grace. When we honestly look into our own life, we can quickly identify things that we wish we were better at or could change about ourselves. While God’s grace might not change us in those exact areas of weakness, His grace gives to us what we never deserved or could earn on our own: being completed. When we look into 2 Corinthians 12:9, God is talking to Paul about a struggle he is having and God says to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This idea of his power being made perfect in weakness is exactly what it sounds like. In our weaknesses, God’s power comes and fills the void that only He can fill. It is only with Christ’s involvement in our life, and our recognition of a need for him, in which he can shine through and make of impact in our lives in a way that will complete us.
Read Colossians 2:9-10 and Philippians 1:6
Q. What is something that you associate with completeness? How does the thought of completing a project make you feel?
Q. If “Christ is the head over every power and authority,” then do you think he can complete you in your weakness? How might he do this?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are made complete in Christ?
I have direct access to God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)
After Christ’s resurrection, as He was about to ascend to Heaven in Acts 1:8 He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” God knew that without his physical presence, as humans, we would still need His help. He knew that we would need a way to be able to be in communication with Him. Ephesians 2:18 states that, “For through him (Christ) we have access to the Father by one Spirit.” Christ made it possible, through his death and resurrection (the removal of our sins), for us to be able to have a relationship with God.
Read Romans 8:26-27
Q. In this verse we see that the Holy Spirit allows for us to have direct access to God. He helps to interpret the feelings we cannot even put into words. How might this impact the way you think about prayer and talking with God?
Read Hebrews 4:14-16
Q. How does knowing that Jesus, our Savior from before the world’s creation, is the one who hears our prayers impact the ability to pray with confidence and boldness?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you have direct access to God?
I am a citizen of heaven, God’s prized possession. (Philippians 3:20)
Often times when we talk about heaven, it seems like such a distant far off place. But do you realize that when we choose to follow after Jesus and we have placed our faith in him, that we become citizens of heaven! A citizen is a person who legally belongs to a country and has the rights and protection of that country. Citizens adopt the culture and practices of the nation or kingdom to which they belong.
Read Philippians 3:18-21
We are citizens of the United States. What is true about being a citizen of a country?
Q. How might we develop a greater appreciate of our permanent citizenship in heaven? Do you long to be with God in your permanent home?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are a citizen of heaven?
I am an alien and stranger to this world in which I temporarily live. (1 Peter 2:11)
The previous identity talked about the fact that when we choose to say yes to Jesus and follow after him, that we become citizens of heaven. When we grasp this as our identity, it means that we are no longer citizens of this earth but become strangers in this temporary world.
Read 1 Peter 2:9-12
Q. Think about a circumstance or situation where you were a stranger or a foreigner? What do you remember feeling about this experience?
Q. Should we feel this way about our earthly home if our citizenship is in heaven? Are there specific times on earth where you have felt like a foreigner and long for heaven?
Q. What does the passage say will be the result of living as a foreigner to earth?
Q. How might it change the way you identify yourself by acknowledging that you are a stranger in this world?
I am a child of God and I will resemble Christ when He returns.
One thing that is incredible to be able to identify with is the idea that when you have accepted Christ as your Savior, He welcomes us into the family and we are His child. In the story of the prodigal Son the father comes running out to meet the son and puts a robe on him and gives him the signet ring, the sign of the family. This is essentially what God does when we join his family. He is the one to open his arms to us and to give us access to all that is His. Romans 8:17 says that “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Read Luke 15:11-32 and 1 John 3:1-2
Q. What feelings are associated with your childhood? How does your perception of your earthly father flavor your perception of your heavenly father?
Q. In what ways have you grown up to positively resemble your earthly parents? What contributed to the developmental process of those characteristics in you?
Q. How does seeing God as Father revolutionize the way you talk to Him?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are a child of God and will resemble Christ when he returns?
I am a member of Christ’s Body.
Another example that the apostle Paul uses in the Bible to describe Christians is that we are the body of Christ. We have previously looked at how we are citizens of heaven and are children of God, however, this time as Paul is talking it is in reference to the gifting that we all different roles to play. Everyone who is a follower of Christ is a part of the body of Christ. When you look at the human body, there are no spare parts. Everyone plays a certain part, no part being any more or less important.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:20-27
Q. How should the fact that God distributes and determines our part in the body shape my understanding of spiritual gifts?
Q. How could an improper understanding of spiritual gifts lead to dissension and disunity in the body?
Q. What happens to the body if one part decides not the function? Will the body still be healthy? Why or why not?
Q. What is one step that you could take to utilize the gift(s) God has given you in order to do your part in the body of Christ?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are part of the body of Christ?
I am victorious through Jesus Christ, cleared of all past sin and shame. (Col. 2:12-15)
When we become a follower of Christ, we are empowered through Jesus. In Romans 6:18, it says that “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” We no longer have to face sin as our master, but rather can follow Christ into righteousness and life! 1 Corinthians 15:57 puts it this way, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is only through Jesus that we can hope to achieve victory over sin.
Read Colossians 2:6-15
In verse 14, it talks about how Christ cancelled the charges that sin held against us. This goes back to something covered earlier in the study, where our sins were buried with Christ. Verse 15 then goes on to say that in doing this he disarmed them. The way that we can interpret this is that the one thing that Satan could use to condemn us, our sin, is no longer something he could use against us. We no longer have to live in shame or fear of what we’ve done because Christ has taken that away and Satan has no power to use that against us anymore!
Q. Have you ever felt that a sin you’ve committed has “followed you wherever you go?” Has this been something that has taken joy from your life?
Q. Have you ever realized that Christ gives you victory by taking all your past, present, and future sins away? How might it change you to know that you do not have to live in shame of what you’ve done, but rather to live victoriously in joy out of the freedom he brings?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that Christ has made you victorious over all sin and shame?
I am God’s workmanship…His handiwork…born anew in Christ to do His work. (Ephesians 2:10)
Have you ever seen a master carpenter work? They careful take their time as they start a project to think about what the end product will look like. Then they will carefully measure, cut, and craft each piece through tedious work as they shape the wood to be exactly what they want it to be. They will spend hours and hours to form it into exactly what they want.
Read Ephesians 2:8-10
As this passage states, it is only by God’s grace that we are saved and can become his handiwork. A piece of wood or clay cannot make itself into a beautiful chair or a vase. It is only through the work of someone who can shape the wood or clay that it is made beautiful. And so it is the same for us.
Q. Why is it significant to realize that it is God who is the master builder that helps to shape our lives? How does it change the way you view him?
Q. Why is it significant that God has prepared good works in advance for you to do? Why is it important to realize that he had a plan before you even knew Him?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you are God’s workmanship, made through Christ to do good works?
I have received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus (Eph. 1:17-18)
When the Holy Spirit enters our life, God allows for us to gain an understanding of some things we were not able to understand before. There are many things that God allows for us to understand by revealing it through the Holy Spirit. It is what some might call a moment “when the light bulb went on.”
Read Ephesians 1:15-23
Q. Have you had moments where it seemed like someone flipped the switch so that you could see things differently?
Q. Have there been moments spiritually where you have experienced a deeper understanding of God’s love, our sin, his forgiveness, etc.? If so, what brought about this change?
Q. What is one thing that you could pray for and ask God that He would help you understand it in a new or deeper way?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you have received the spirit of wisdom and that Christ wants to help you understand things in a fuller way?
I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loves me. (Romans 8:37)
Read Romans 8:35-39
This set of verses talks about some of the very basic human struggles. Trouble and hardships are things that everyone faces, whether you are a teacher, a boss, a parent or a child. Most of life seems to be full of tough things. The Christians that Paul was writing to were facing severe persecution and death for following Jesus Christ. Paul realized this struggle could cause them to fear, but he wanted them to know that nothing, absolutely nothing, could separate them from the love of God.
Q. What difficulties or hardships are you currently facing? How can Christ overcome fear of these things?
Read Hebrews 4:15 and 1 Corinthians 10:13
Q. What does it mean to you to know that Christ was tempted in every way, yet lived without sin? How can this give you strength in your struggles?
Q. Do you believe that God will not give you more than you can handle? Recall a situation where clearly God provided a way out to conquer a temptation?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know you are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you?
I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20)
An ambassador simply put means an endorsed representative of someone or some place. As believers in Christ, we are all called to represent Christ to reach those who do not know him. We do this through the way we live our lives; the words we say, the things we do. As Ambassadors of Christ, we are physical, earthly representations of Him to others.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Q. How does the fact that God calls us his ambassador change our thought process about the way we live?
Q. God’s grand plan to tell the world about Jesus is……US! God believes in you and trusts you to be His ambassador in this world. How does that make you feel? Why?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that are an ambassador for Christ?
Jesus said in John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. What does this mean for us that Jesus is the Light of the World. First, Light Makes Life Possible. It’s true with all creation. I’m no scientist but from my understanding, you can make a pretty good case that creation—life—could not exist without our light source. Look at John 1:4. “In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of (for) men.” In Jewish thought, “life” and “light”, when taken metaphorical- ly, were often very similar. Jesus is the source of life, and He offers that life as the light (an essential element for all life) to all men. In Jesus, we have both fullness of life here and now, and eternal life to come. He is our Light, which gives us life.
Secondly, Light also chases away the darkness and reveals the way. In John 8:12, Jesus tells the people listening to Him that He’s the Light, and those that follow Him will never walk in darkness. There’s that connection between “light” and “life” again, right? Light chases away darkness, right? Darkness is the absence of light. When light appears, the darkness is gone and when the darkness is gone we can see clearly the way we’re supposed to go, the way that leads to life.
Lastly, He Calls Us to be His Light Bearers. You know, none of us are the Light. We’re not the Light itself, but we bear the Light. We house the Light. We’re light containers, lanterns, if you will, for the one true Light. John 12 says we become children of the Light. 2 Corinthians 5:6 says that God made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of Jesus Christ.
Read John 8:12-30
Q: What does life look like in the darkness? How about the light?
Q: In what ways can you order your life to more consistently walk the way Jesus illumines (makes clear)? What part do others play in your walk?
Q: How are you Jesus’ light bearer? Are there ways you can keep your light hidden or covered?
Q: Who in your life is living in darkness and needs Jesus’ light in you?
For Further Study: Matthew 5:14-16
I am made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)
Read Genesis 1:26-2:3
Life did not evolve from lifelessness, personality did not come into being from something that had no personality, and intelligence did not come from unintelligent things….we were created by a living God who made us in His image. The fact that we are made in the image of God means certain things. First it distinguishes me from my creator and the rest of His creation. I am not God but neither am I just an animal. Psalm 8 tells us that God crowned man with glory and honor and placed Him “in the middle” of Him and the works of His hand at creation. Man is to rule and care for God’s creation. Second it means I made from relationship and for relationships. God said, “Let us”, literally we have been made by a God who has existed in eternal and perpetual relationship as a triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I have been made to be in a unique and personal relationship with the playwright and because He made me in His image I am made for relationships with others!! Third it means I have been created for work and told to rest. Work is not a cause of the curse but a part of being created in the image of a God who worked for 6 days creating then He rested. Finally I have been created to reflect God’s character to the world. As image bearers we represent and reflect God’s character to the world!!
Q. How does being made in the image of God affect the way we value human life? The way we view other people?
Q. How does the fact that we are made in God’s image affect the way we view work? Rest?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you have been created in the image of God?
I have hope beyond this life because of Christ’s victory over death. (1 Cor. 15:17-19)
What changed everything was not the teachings of Jesus, not the miracles of Jesus or even His inspirational life but the event that changed everything was that this Jesus who lived and taught and did incredible things eventually died an awful death and was buried in a borrowed tomb! The once dead Jesus, once buried Jesus, and now missing Jesus showed up and talked to his disciples. He laughed with them, ate with them and hung out with them and you know what happened? Everything changed because of what they witnessed and it caused this group of confused, skeptical, fearful, disillusioned and bewildered followers to take the streets with a bold message of a risen Christ!
Read 1 Corinthians 15:14-20
Q. Why does the apostle Paul say the resurrection is so crucial to our faith?
Q. What are the ramifications if there is no resurrection?
Q. How does it change the way you identify yourself to know that you have hope beyond this life?