Special Reflective Exercise: Theological Statements of Identity
By Scott Hughes
In the last blog post, we explored our story fitting into God’s larger story. As Christians, we believe that in our baptism we have been claimed by God and God’s mission of reconciling the world. The truths about our identity that emerge from this reality are valuable for grounding our identity in God’s story. So here’s a reflective exercise I thought would be helpful.
Write out a theological statement of your identity.
Here are some guiding rules:
- Try to write using “I” statements instead of “we” statements (but don’t forget we’re part of a larger community).
- Try to make God the subject of at least some of your sentences.
- Find the courage to share your statement with at least one other person. (Or for those with extra courage, share it via social media!)
- Reread it every day for at least one week.
Many, but not all, of your theological statements about your identity should be true no matter what circumstance you currently find yourself in or might find yourself in the future. This statement should be a living document. As you grow in your understanding of God, your theological statement should grow too.
For reference, I am including my theological statement of identity. Feel free to share yours below or make any suggestions for mine in the comments section of the blog.
- I am made in God’s image.
- I am a child of God (I will not allow any other label to define me.)
- God preveniently seeks me out. (I am God’s beloved.)
- God desires me to live in his Kingdom and to help others experience it.
- A co-creator in God’s Kingdom, I am invited to discover and use my creativity for the benefit of the Kingdom.
- I am an image bearer of God’s Kingdom to the world through my words and actions.
- Since I was baptized following confirmation (in middle school), I have been claimed by God and declared by intentions to the community of believers through baptism.
- There is a supporting cast (great cloud of witnesses) around me (past and present) that I need encouragement and challenge from.
- I am made right with God by God (justification).
- Through justification, I have learned and am learning to live in the freedom from the power of sin and freedom for service in God’s Kingdom.
- God continues to gift and equip me uniquely for service in God’s Kingdom, which shapes me for life eternal.
- Married with kids, I am to first minister to and with them. I do this through intentional times of faith formation activities (prayer, conversation, worship, Scripture reading) with them. I pass on my faith to and through them, but also learn from their diverse gifts as well.
- I live in God’s Kingdom and therefore many of my needs are found paradoxically through self-giving.
- I live in a fallen world where God is working redemptively. I can be present to those who are struggling, trusting that God will be present and that I do not have to have all the answers.
- I live a life characterized by faith (which is growth in sanctification) that should manifest itself wherever I go. This faith will often challenge my sense of pride, security, justice, etc.
- I also experience the ongoing presence of God’s work in my life individually and in community through the means of grace and spiritual practices.
- I will still continue to struggle with questions and doubts (at some times more than others), yet God is big enough to handle them.
- Being in full time Christian ministry constantly exposes me to life in a fallen world that is messy, where failures happen, and so I must experiment and risk a lot.
- I trust that God’s ways will come in fullness when the Kingdom of God comes in fullness, which only God can bring.