Our Identity in Christ

My notes from Becoming Magazine – Ch. 2-3 by Chrystie Cole

All creation was made to glorify God – His unity in diversity – a reflection of the harmony of the Trinity (Gen 1:26-27). Mankind, both male and female are necessary to reflect adequately the image of God. Once both were created, God declared creation to be ‘very good.’ Man was created to meet the need of the earth, to cultivate it that it might bear fruit. Woman was created to meet the need of man, to nurture and partner with him to accomplish this goal (Gen 2:5-9, 15-17).

A woman fulfills her calling as she brings everything that she is – her personality, wisdom, experiences, gifts, talent, passion, resources, time, energy – and uses it to strengthen and support and further the cause of the people in her life Gen 2:18-20).

Reflecting the image of God is not about us. God created us to represent Him. Women were divinely designed and instilled with capacities to reflect God’s character within the context of all their relationships. A woman embodying the character of God gives her own life and resources in a way that is sacrificial. We are to invite others into relationship with us (active, intentional, inclusive); nurture (a willingness to humble yourself and deplete your resources on behalf of another) requiring wisdom, strength, knowledge, thought and action; and partner with others to assist them in movement toward a goal, intentionally placing ourselves under the leadership of another. As we faithfully and humbly offer ourselves in service to God and others, God is more fully represented to the world.

For a Bride to Be

I wanted to share what the Lord has impressed upon my heart this week. You are about to go from girlfriend/fiancée to ‘wife.’ And let me tell you – there are a million expectations that go along with that new title. It can be an overwhelming and confusing transition. I remember how simply changing my name from Nicole Nikopoulos to Nicole Schrader made me feel like I had lost something of myself. Our identity is insecure if it is defined by our roles or our season of life. Our roles and seasons change (just ask your mom), and if we are anchored to them, we are sure to be shaken at our foundation. But if our identity is firmly established in the truth of who we are in Christ, we can accept any change in circumstance or situation with a joy and peace that cannot be moved.

You are uniquely designed: Psalm 139:14

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.

You are deeply loved: Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 54:10

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.

You are completely accepted: Romans 15:7

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

You have a secure future: Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Ephesians 1:13-14

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.

You have the resources of an infinite God: Isaiah 41:10

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not look anxiously about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely, I will help you. Surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

You have promises that will endure forever: Psalm 119:89

Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

You are a temple of the living God: 1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

I Corinthians 2:12

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.

In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul admonishes Timothy to keep his head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and to discharge all the duties of his ministry… as I considered the application of this verse, I asked myself the question, ‘What are the duties of my ministry?’ In answer to the question, I wrote the following: Worship God and seek His kingdom and righteousness; lovingly serve Greg, Hannah, Joshua, Jonathan, and Christina (my husband and children); obediently honor my parents; faithfully fulfill my commitments to my church, ISI, AWC; and to love my neighbor (whomever the Lord places on my path.) I am incapable of accomplishing these duties in my own strength, I am self-serving by nature and regularly place my needs before those whom I love. It is only by the grace and power of God in Christ Jesus that I find the ability to love, serve, confess, forgive and receive the forgiveness of others.

It is my hope, prayer and wish for you to hold firm to these truths and that they will encourage and equip you for every good work the Lord has for you as Mrs…

God bless you with His everlasting lovingkindness.

Nicole

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