Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coffee Talk: Identity


I have been thinking a lot recently about my identity.
Besides the obvious (no, I didn't forget my name already!) (and no, I don't have Jason Bourne syndrome) I have been thinking about where I am in life and what my purpose is at this point. I am 22 years old, have a violin performance degree from the University of Memphis. I teach violin, write and perform music in a band and want to serve God through music and youth ministry. BUT my life just doesn't look the way I thought it would right now. Not that that's a bad thing! It's actually kind of an adventure. But at times I feel kind of insecure about things. As my friend Maggie put it "You are a freshman at life now." Ah yes, the fun times of a freshman.

So I enter into the next phase of life, trying to define who I am and what I am going to do. Just like I sought out upperclassmen when I was a freshman in college, I now find myself seeking out upperclassmen at life. Godly men who have been there and know what it's like to pursue God in the midst of music ministry and life. At the same time though, as much as I try to define myself and I try to figure out who I am, I manage to forget some of the most obvious answers.

My LORD has already told me who I am.

              "All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 
           For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back
           into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption 
           as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit 
           himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children 
           of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow 
           heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that 
           we may also be glorified with him"
                                                                    - Romans 8:14-17

I am a son of God, adopted into his family and fellow heir with Christ! If that doesn't boost your self esteem
I don't know what will. And self esteem is a personal vice that Satan has used for years to get me discouraged. I think that now, in 2011, I have finally understood that this promise is for me as well! Somehow we can get into the mindset that the promises of God somehow apply to everyone but us. I had a wonderful coffee conversation with my friend Dave the other day and this is exactly what we talked about. In the midst of our frustrations in life and battles, we forget that Christ has ALREADY WON! Hallelujah.
So, we are given the freedom to fight our battles FROM victory instead of FOR victory!

              "Since then we have a great high priest who has 
              passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God,
              let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have 
              a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our
              weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been
              tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with
             confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we
             may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of
                                                             -Hebrews 4:14-16

            "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
              through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither
             death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present
             nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
             nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
             us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
                                                              -Romans 8:37-39

This confidence that Hebrews mentions is the key to unlocking living TRUE LIFE in Christ. If nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and nothing is too big for our God, then WHY ARE WE STILL LIVING AS IF SIN STILL HAS A HOLD ON US?

This is not a matter of getting free of our sins, we ARE free from them! We just have to claim that liberty in Christ! I can say from experience that living under the bondage of guilt from our past will make us miserable. As Romans 8:1-2 says "There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has SET YOU FREE in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." (emphasis added) It's the same thing for the spiritual gifts. We act as if we somehow have to work up to being patient, and being joyful; act is if righteousness is something we can attain by ourselves. In fact, Christ is the embodiment of these things, and if we simply claim our victory and live in Christ, these things are automatic!

As it says in Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." Often we look over this passage as being nice and fluffy without examining its truths. It says our Father has blessed, as in the plural, as in it has already been done, US with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. How? My dear friends it is quite simple.
Jesus Christ.

So brothers and sisters, let us throw aside this insecurity and the weights and sins that so easily entangle us. Let us run together the race of life, looking to Jesus Christ- who is the author and PERFECTER of our faith.

Signing out,
The REAL Bowman


  1. Galatians 5:1
    "For it is for Freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery."

    As someone who has struggled with finding identity and worth in academic acchievement, and not being in control of what will happen in my future, I know exactly what you are talking about Steveo. But, like you said, living in Freedom is what we have been given!! We are His children, and that is the only identity we need. He has taken the weight of our imperfection, and we never have to bare it again. He promises that He will never stop loving, and to never let go. We are Free Indeed! :D

  2. great, encouraging stuff man...looking forward to seeing how Jesus makes you more like Himself this year...praying for you and with you bro!

  3. This was so timely for my heart, Steven. Thank you for the blessing that you are and for sharing what God put on your heart.

  4. Good stuff bro. I counseled someone once that said they were trying to "find" themselves. The truth is that for a beliver we can only find ourselves through the promises seen in scripture. Adherence to these promises brings peace, assurance, validation, and hope. Love you brother and excited about what God is teaching you right now.