Identity: Kingdom Legacy
A devotional by Erin M. Handley
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
– Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
Identity. Complex, yet so simple.
Basic psychology reminds us that everyone goes through stages where they explore various behaviors and roles as they search to create and solidify who they are. It is generally associated with a phase that occurs in preteens and teenagers, but the phase to some degree lingers in the minds of adults, too.
These stages primarily are bouts of identity exploration – or more specifically, identifying and validating the person they want others to see. Despite this phase many of us go through, many of us never stray too far away from what we know to be true about whose we are although we sometimes struggle to articulate who we are.
It is easy for many of us to limit our identities to who we believe others would see us as if they knew our stories. Some people associate their identity with the trauma they have experienced in their life. It is also easy to associate one’s identity to the legacy they hope to leave behind in the future – one as a husband or wife, a parent, mentor, or friend. A great person of great impact. All of the things many hope can be said of the legacy they leave behind when they are no longer here.
But then I am reminded that His purpose for me is so much greater than my desires could ever be. I remember that as a daughter of the Eternal King (God), He has positioned me to leave a much bigger legacy than I could fathom simply by adhering to His will.
Sometimes, we tend to become so wrapped up in the identity we have allowed our situation to create for us, that we forget to willingly embrace and prioritize the identity that God created for us. Our identity is much more than the trauma we experienced through life or the roles we play in the lives of others. I know many people who have clung to the idea that their identity is limited to the roles they play in the lives of other people: husband, wife, homemaker, the parent working two jobs just to make ends meet or the entrepreneur who never wants for anything because they have everything they ever wanted. These are all great things, and I know many phenomenal individuals who carry out their roles incredibly well. But I also know these roles are not the sum total of who they are or who you are.
Truthfully speaking, our identities are much more than those things that make-up the best or the worst parts of us. These titles and attributes that stem from what you do for others and how others see you are not who you are. It’s what you do, but what you do does not solely define you. Who you are is a child of God. You are a child of the King. You are exactly who God created you to be for the purpose of His Kingdom.
Our identities should speak to who we were created to be. Our identity should be rooted in our Kingdom purpose and not the roles we play in the lives of others. Your primary role is to be just what He called you to be in this season – regardless of what it looks like.
Whatever it is that you believe that God has called you to be, be sure that you are doing so as a commitment to God and not to anyone else. Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV) instructs us to remember that “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
As you serve Him, come out of the shadows of the identities rooted in limited perspectives of those you serve. I challenge you to elevate your role as husband, wife, parent, family, or friend to that of one who works to elevate the Kingdom. As a child of the King you have a very specific call on your life and it is up to you to walk in the purpose He created for you.
Remember, you have a very critical role to play in God’s master plan.
Let’s Pray: Lord, in all that we do, help us remember to do it all for You. Help us to remember that if we follow You in every aspect of our lives, then You will ultimately lead us to the destiny that you have specifically created for each and every one of your children. Continue to love us in such an intimate way that we cannot deny that our identity is in You. Help us to understand that at the end of it all, when people look at us, they should see You. Thank You for grace and Your unwavering love for us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
*Note from Alexis: Erin’s devotional message today reminded me of this song by Crystal Lewis called “Remember Who You Are.” Listen to it here.
With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts.
While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.
For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry.
When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.
With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.
Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.