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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”—1 John 5:19-20 (NIV)
Having grown up with both of my biological parents, I took for granted the fact that I had a clear sense of identity and belonging. As such, I’ve often wondered what life must be like for orphans and adopted children who don’t know their birth parents, and the kinds of questions they must wrestle with.
Interestingly, The Atlantic magazine published a candid online series simply titled, “Your Adoption Stories,” in which readers share “the trials, tribulations, and joys of adoption.” Among them was the following excerpt from one post that caught my attention:
“Do I love my adoptive parents? Yes, I do. But there is a fundamental human need to know who we are and how we fit into the genealogical continuum of mankind. The Bible, for example, has pages of ‘begats’ to trace lineage. More people than ever search genealogy sites like Ancestry.com trying to find information about their ancestors. It is a human instinct to yearn for this connection!”
In the same way, we desire to know who we are in the natural world, it’s also vital that we understand who we are in the spiritual—and that’s exactly what the apostle John affirms in today’s verse and in chapter 5 as a whole. He begins by telling us we know we are children of God. It isn’t a question; it’s an affirmative statement of fact that for those of us who are in Christ Jesus are children of the Father. He also confirms this throughout the chapter as if to drive home the point that our identity and place in God’s family is absolutely secure.
Yet within the same breath of that sentence, John also contrasts that fact by pointing out who we are not—those who belong to the world and who are controlled by the evil one. As we ponder our spiritual identities, it’s just as important to know that we don’t belong to this world. In fact, the Bible says we are “foreigners and exiles” on the earth (1 Chronicles 29:15; 1 Peter 2:11-12), and as such, we don’t conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2). In other words, we belong to God’s family and as a result, we look different from the world around us.
Today’s Scripture concludes with further affirmation that we can know and understand the truth about our identity because it is rooted in Jesus Christ, “the true God and eternal life.” So, if you’ve ever questioned who you are, rest in the knowledge that you are His!
DIG: Have you ever wondered who you really are either from a natural or spiritual point of view? What did you conclude?
DISCOVER: What does God’s Word say about who you are, and why does it matter?
DO: The next time you feel like you don’t belong, turn to the Word and ask God to remind you of your true identity in Christ.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.