Our neighborhood’s polling place is the local elementary school. When I voted in the last election, I saw a huge banner hanging in the school cafeteria that read, “You Are Defined by Your Actions.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

I get it. The school is trying to instill good behavior. That’s a good, worthy, and noble goal. The banner basically asks the children, “Who do you want to be?” Act like the person you want to be. Sounds great on paper. Many of you are probably thinking, “What’s the problem with that?” I don’t blame you. This is really subtle.

The problem is this. It’s control, not identity. “You Are Defined by Your Actions” implies “We are judging you by your actions. Your value comes from the good things you do. You are only as acceptable as your behavior.” The Kingdom of God has a one-word response to this prettily packaged attempt at worldly control: Not!

Tenth Avenue North has, IMHO, one of the most powerful songs ever written. It’s called. Here’s the chorus:

You are more than the choices that you’ve made. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are more than the problems you create. You’ve been remade. The Kingdom of God is about identity, not control.

“Who do you want to be?” is the wrong question. “Who did God create you to be?” is the right question.

That’s why we can’t really redefine our race or our gender, no matter how hard we try. This is very politically incorrect, but you can’t change your gender. Even if you mutilate yourself with the best surgical techniques modern medical science has to offer, you still have the same XY or XX chromosomes you were born with. Nothing’s really changed. You just look different.

It’s not about acting like the person we want to be. That’s just being posers. Pretenders. It’s not about getting into a role, so we externally play the part. We’re not looking for an Academy Award here.

It’s about acting like the person we are. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We need to learn what that means and how to act like it. (I recently wrote a post about 4 ways to live as royalty.)

The problem is, either we’ve forgotten who we really are, or we never knew. I love that scene in Lion King where, in the midst of a storm, Simba has a vision of his father, Mufasa, reminding him of who he is:

Mufasa: You have forgotten me, Simba.

Simba: No, father, I could never forget you!

Mufasa: You have forgotten who you are, so you have forgotten me. Remember who you are!

Our enemies’ plan is to get us so wounded that we never learn who we really are. Because he’s terrified of who we really are. When we know our true identity and walk in it, claiming it as our own, the kingdom of darkness falls. We can tear down, in moments, strongholds that took multiple demons generations to build. Sucks to be them.

Jesus said, “I’ll build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) The kingdom of darkness doesn’t want their gates kicked in. Bummer. Then they shouldn’t have built them around people that Jesus died to redeem. Bad move. Kicking down their gates and claiming territory for Jesus is our charter mission. I love it.

So the world’s message, like that banner in the school cafeteria, is “You are only as acceptable as your behavior.” But God says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We were accepted and loved by God before we did anything good, not after.

So we desire to live a life that honors God, not to be who we want to be, or to earn our way to Heaven, or to be acceptable to God. We desire to live a life that honors God because it’s who we are, it’s who he made us to be. Because we’re already living out of that place called Heaven. Because we’re already accepted.

I’m not saying our actions aren’t important. They are. When aligned with our God-given identity, they are how we walk out who we are. In that case, they are our legacy. But when our actions aren’t aligned with who God says we are, then they are just signs that we’re confused and hurting. Then they are evidence we still have wounding Jesus wants to heal, which will always be the case in this life.

We’re learning who we are.

How about you? Do you know who you are? Learn how to discover the wonder of who you really are in a fun and engaging story. Download Dave’s free eBook The Runt: A Fable of Giant Inner Healing. And tell us your story in the comments. What are you learning about who you really are? And please share this post if it would bless someone else.

Dave grew up in Los Angeles, CA, graduating with a Master’s in Mathematics from UCLA. He now lives in Stafford, VA, and has worked as a software engineer for 30+ years. He and his wife, Janet, volunteer at their local crisis pregnancy center doing post-abortive recovery. After much brokenness and loss in his family, job, and churches, Dave loves to write and share the healing he’s received. IdentityInWholeness.com.
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Dave grew up in Los Angeles, CA, graduating with a Master’s in Mathematics from UCLA. He now lives in Stafford, VA, and has worked as a software engineer for 30+ years. He and his wife, Janet, volunteer at their local crisis pregnancy center doing post-abortive recovery. After much brokenness and loss in his family, job, and churches, Dave loves to write and share the healing he’s received. IdentityInWholeness.com.

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