The Power of Identity
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? . . . know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 6:15, 19–20 KJV
I read the story of a businessman in New York City who was rushing to board a subway train on his way to work when he saw a beggar with a cup of pencils in his hands sitting on the platform. Without thinking too much about it, he quickly grabbed some money from his wallet and dropped the bills into the beggar’s collection plate before boarding the train.
Just before the train doors closed, the businessman jumped back out onto the platform and took several pencils from the beggar’s cup. He apologized to the beggar, explaining that in his haste, he had neglected to pick up the pencils he had purchased. “After all,” he said, “you are a businessman just like me. You have merchandise to sell and it’s fairly priced.” After that the businessman boarded the next train and went about his day.
At a social event several months later, a well-dressed salesman approached this businessman and introduced himself. “You probably don’t remember me and I don’t know your name,” he said, “but I will never forget you. You are the man who gave me back my self-respect. I was a ‘beggar’ selling pencils until you came along and told me that I was a businessman.”
I share this story to highlight to you the power of identity. The businessman gave this beggar a renewed sense of meaning and identity by simply speaking over him and calling forth a latent potential that was in him.
By calling this beggar a businessman, he awakened in him a renewed sense of worth, value, and importance. The words gave the beggar a new perspective. And they gave him a new belief and vision that propelled him to walk away from the lie that a beggar was all he could be.
We can draw many parallels in this story for believers of our Lord Jesus. I believe that many who are struggling with sin, addictions, and destructive bondages don’t have the revelation of their new covenant identity in Christ. When you see a believer struggling with sin, it is often a case of mistaken identity.
The best way to help him is to point him back to his righteousness in Christ, as the apostle Paul did to those in the Corinthian church who had fallen into sin. Paul didn’t point these believers back to the law of Moses. All he did was to remind them of who they truly were.
Reread today’s scripture. Paul knew that if they were reminded of their righteous identity in Christ, they would repent. They would return to grace and turn away from their sins when they were reminded of their value according to the heavy price Christ had paid on the cross to ransom them.
I encourage you to use Apostle Paul’s method to encourage and lift up believers whom you know are struggling with sin. Point them back to their identity in Christ. They probably do not know, or have forgotten, how they have been made the righteousness of God through Jesus’ blood.
Because of this, like the beggar in the story, they are living a life of defeat. They are living far below the high place God has called them to. Believers in Christ are called to be the head and not the tail, to be above and not beneath, to reign over sin and not be defeated by sin!
This devotional is taken from the book Glorious Grace—100 Daily Readings from Grace Revolution.
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version ®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.