Identity—Who We Are
“Beloved, I pray that in all respects, you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2, NASB)
Why do some Christians thrive, while others seem to hold on by the skin of their teeth?
How Do We Thrive, Instead Of Merely Survive?
The starting point: know _____________ we are. Our identity.
Who Are We?
Ephesians 1:1-5: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — (NIV)
- He wrote to: “…the ______________________ in Ephesus.”
- “He ______________________ us…”
- We have been “adopted as ___________________.”
Who Are You? What’s Your Identity?
Every Christian is “a __________________________.” This means that God has set you apart from those who are not in Christ; he has cleansed you of your sins and has set you apart as one of his own. He has declared you to be Holy in his sight.
We Tend To Live Up To How We ________________________ Ourselves. So How Do You See Yourself?
Paul didn’t write his letter to “all the wretched sinners in Ephesus. He wrote to “the saints in Ephesus.” He wrote to “all the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi…” (Philippians 1:1, NIV)
Why did he do that? Because he was helping us to understand how God sees us, our true identity given to us by God, and he knew that… how we see ourselves determines what we do.
Start Seeing Yourself The Way God Sees You
QUESTIONS & EXERCISES
For Daily Devotionals or Bible Study Group
- “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2, NASB). “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (NIV) To prosper physically means to grow strong and healthy. John applies that word to our souls. How would you describe someone’s soul prospering, or “getting along well?” If someone asked you today, how would you describe your spiritual well-being?
Circle one and describe why: Barely surviving – Walking but with a limp – Making good progress – Soaring
- What do you think of the claim that how we see ourselves determines how we behave and act? In what ways do you suppose that God sees you differently than you see yourself? Why do you suspect that there is a disparity?
- Paul wrote to “saints” not “sinners” (Ephesians 1:1; Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2, to name a few). Why do you think he chose that term to address the Christians in these cities? Thinking back on the lesson, what does the term “saint” mean? How does this term change how you see yourself as a Christian?
- What’s the problem in simply describing ourselves as “sinners saved by grace?” While this statement
has truth within it, why you suppose that God didn’t use that as a primary way of identifying ourselves in Christ? While it may sound prideful to your ears, why is it humble to accept our identity as saints (think of Titus 3:4-6)?
- What kind of labels do we sometimes apply to ourselves or that people apply to one another that are damaging, and work against what God is seeking to do in our lives (example: failure, worthless)? What are spiritually healthy ways to counter those terms? What can you do in your self-talk this week regarding your self-identity, that can help your soul to prosper better?