11-12 It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. 13-14It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what's coming, a reminder that we'll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life. (Eph. 1:11-14)
So many people struggle with identity - wondering who they are, what purpose they are created to fulfill in this lifetime. In their "crisis" of identity, they explore all kinds of ways of making an identity for themselves. We don't want to blend into society, acting or looking exactly like another, so we create things in our appearance, character, or reputation that will give us an "identity" that is uniquely ours. In fact, we sometimes carry this to the extreme and create an identity that others cannot help but notice!
Paul reminds each of us that it is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for - our identity. It is totally unnecessary to "re-create" what already has been divinely created! If I truly lay hold of what Paul describes here, then my goal will be to live in such a way that I am exactly as God created me to be - all my quirks and all! God has such tremendous ways of bringing out our true character IN HIM. When we try to bring our character in our own strength or capabilities, we fall short of what he would put "on display" in our lives.
In Christ - a term we should not miss in this passage. All we are is found "in Christ". All we were made to be is evident when we are "in Christ". Who we are (our identity) and what we are (our purpose) are defined "in Christ". It is a "positional" thing - we are "in Christ" and in that placement, we have the ability to be exactly who we were created to be.
Paul also emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is given to us as a sign that God has plans for our lives. Sometimes I have spent a great deal of time pondering what God could have designed for my life in a certain circumstance or relationship. I try to imagine what could come out of the present state of affairs that would render me stronger in character, solid in my identity. In my own mind's eye, I find it almost impossible to see what God sees in that moment. He knows the end from the beginning - something I desire to know, but seldom have the insight to apprehend.
In Christ, the design is revealed. In Christ, the design is perfected. In Christ, the ability to have depth of character formed that reveals an identity that I can be "proud" to display is at my access. We all need to keep this in mind as we work on our "identity". It is not what we make, what education we amass, or what titles we bear. Our identity is found totally "in Christ". We are given the Holy Spirit to "seal" that identity - and to put it on display for the world to see. If you are in an "identity crisis" today - remember that God promises to give us everything he has envisioned for us! What we see today is only part of what he plans for us "in Christ".