Last week the news broke that Archbishop Justin Welby took a paternity test, and the results should have changed his life. The Archbishop of Canterbury, he holds the highest office in the Anglican church around the world, grew up thinking Gavin Welby was his biological father. It turns out it was someone else, and only weeks ago did the over-60-year-old Archbishop Welby find out.
This revelation has, of course, been a surprise, but in my life and in our marriage Caroline and I have had far worse. I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity in him never changes.
– the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
His words reminded me of the simple truth: Our identity in Jesus cannot be taken, it cannot be shaken, it cannot be changed. God puts in us a new identity when we say yes to him, I belong to Christ, it is not a mere intellectual thing on God’s part to do this. Hear the tenderness in Jesus’ voice, See, I have engraved you in the palm of my hands. God bought this territory for the world in Jesus, on the cross, and for those who choose to live in this place, it is solid ground.
The world around us calls out to our identity daily. Your work isn’t what it needs to be. Your body doesn’t look the way it should. You are failing in this way. Buy this product and feel more secure. Act this way and you will feel better about yourself. Get a better job, spouse or bank account, then all will be well. When news that should devastate arrives at our doors, we are wished, Good luck. But you know better. It’s going to take a lot more than luck to overcome.
If anyone asks me why I follow Jesus, I will point them to this statement for in it is everything. The sin we hold in our hearts, the way it can destroy us and our relationships. The grace of God freely given to anyone who receives it. The transforming work of the Holy Sprit, who enables us to live exceedingly and abundantly beyond our sins, the mistakes of others and the broken systems of the world. The hope we have of heaven on earth in our relationship with Jesus and an eternal home that can never be taken away. And undergirding all of this is the supreme love poured out on the cross, the victory that was won over sin and death in the resurrection, and the ability for us to say, in Jesus: My past is finished, Jesus has won, I know who I am, I belong to him.
I don’t know what happened to you today. You heard news this week that shook you. You made a mistake this week that seemed unbelievable. There is something you have been hiding and you know it needs to come out. You feel a sense of despair about your life that you cannot explain. Someone is trying to destroy your relationships.
Wherever you are, whatever you have done, whatever anyone else has done to you, there is hope in Jesus. His way is the only one. His life is the only life. His truth is the only truth. His yoke is easy, his burden is light, and in him you will find rest for your soul. This thing is not who you are. This relationship does not define you. Whatever event or person or tragedy or triumph it may be, it is not who you are. Come to Jesus, let him change your identity. He can never be taken away, he can never be changed, he will stand forever.
Now it’s your turn: On what do you build your identity? How is that impacting your life?
I’m linking up with Jennifer this week and the gang at #TellHisStory.