Gradient Week 1


Melissa Smith

"What are you?!" It was a demand for explanation more than an actual question. The boy sitting in front of me in class apparently couldn't figure it out. I sat there bewildered for a moment trying to think of what to tell him. I responded weakly, "An American?" He looked at me rather impatiently and elaborated, "No, I mean where are you from?" "Oh, California." By this time he was annoyed at my lack of understanding and said in his ignorance, "No. I mean, are you black? Mixed? You have really curly hair, but your skin is tan. I can't figure out what you are." So that was it. I said flatly, "You mean my nationality. My family is from Puerto Rico." His blank stare lets me know he had not heard of the island.

Over the years, I've been asked the same question in varying ways, but it boils down to the same thing: defining who I am. It's a question I've often asked myself, although not in the context of where my family is from. It's been more along the lines of figuring out who I am and what defines me instead of what describes me. It's a question we have all asked and found answers to. Some find it through DNA testing, some through a profession and others through a relational role. Left on their own, these identifiers fall flat. They leave us longing for more and adding self-imposed definers to who we are on an as-needed basis.

As believers, we don't rely on the things that describe us to be the things that define us. We have been given a new identity beginning at the moment when we believed in Jesus as the Son of God and allowed Him access into our lives. At that moment, we become a daughter of God. This identity comes with perks and benefits. It comes with the assurance that you are fully loved and will never again be without Him in your life now and into eternity. You have the eternal reassurance of a life lived with Him even after you are no longer part of this world. That is the first non-negotiable truth you receive when you begin your relationship with God. The next truths are what define your role as His daughter and take you from a life of trying to a life of being.

Sounds kind of out there doesn't it? But, it isn't.

Scripture tells us that when we receive Christ we are immediately transformed into His kingdom and completely reborn (Colossians 1:13, John 3:6). We actually are made into a brand new creation and adopted into a new race. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:14-17) We are made fully righteous, blameless and holy because of the presence of Christ in us (2 Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 1:22). We are given the Holy Spirit as the ultimate teacher and helper. He is the One who helps us navigate life as a daughter of God. He teaches us who we are in Him throughout every circumstance. (John 14:26, Romans 5:5, 8:26-27) The Holy Spirit is our seal and promise from God that we have been grafted in as an adopted daughter with an unshakable position in heaven. (Ephesians 1:13, Romans 11:17)

This is a reality that we can never change.

There is nothing we can do or not do that will take this position from us. You are eternally loved by God with the most passionate love imaginable and nothing will ever remove His love from you or take you out of His loving embrace. (Romans 8:31-39) You cannot do anything to earn more of His love because He has already lavished it in its fullness on you! You cannot do anything to remove yourself from His love because He never leaves you or turns His back on you. You can never do anything to jeopardize your role as His daughter. Ever. Period. This is your identity. This is your amazing truth. When someone asks you to define what or who you are, you can simply and honestly say you are a child of God.

If you like lists, you're going to love this. I've made a list of just some of the attributes we are given when we enter into a relationship with Christ. It isn't close to all of the promises and gifts God has given to us, but it's a great start to finding out who you are and what your potential is through Christ.

You have been adopted as a daughter of God. As an adopted daughter you have been given the right to call yourself a child of God and a child of the light.
John 1:12; Ephesians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:5

You are seated in heavenly places with Christ and have been given every spiritual blessing under heaven and His great and precious promises.
Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; 2 Peter 1:4

We don't have to work at being a good person. Through Christ, we are completely filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We are totally capable of being kind and gentle no matter the circumstance.
Galatians 5:22-23l 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Nothing that anyone tries to do to you will actually work because God is for you. He is never against you. He will never leave your side or turn His back on you. His constant presence is what makes you strong and courageous.
Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 54:17; Romans 8:31

You have wisdom that comes from God, the mind of Christ and thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit.
James 1:5; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 2:11-14

You are free to speak directly to God with boldness, confidence and freedom.
Ephesians 3:11-12; Hebrews 4:16

You are free to live a life without regret, shame or guilt. The ties that held you to your past have been broken and they are no longer remembered by God,
Romans 8:1-2; Psalm 103:2; Psalm 107:14

You have peace with God and there is nothing that can ever separate you from His love.
Romans 5:1, 8:35