This Christian identity is the most important thing about us. We are known and defined, first and foremost, not by our singleness but by our identity as sons and daughters of God. Our marital statuses, addresses, jobs, and church communities may change over time, but our identity in Christ remains constant.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
If you’ve ever made a major move, you can appreciate the identity crisis that comes with transitioning to a new place. I felt this keenly when I moved to a different state shortly after my college graduation. It was as if I left my college campus wearing twenty different name tags: roles in which I served, job titles I held, nicknames given by beloved friends—all significant markers of my identity. But a thousand miles away from that community, the name tags were meaningless and were quickly stripped away. It was hard to know who I was and where I fit.
As a single woman in my late thirties, I’ve had my share of introductory conversations that have involved people asking, “What does your husband do?” or “How many kids do you have?” There’s inevitably a bit of awkwardness when they learn that I’m not married and don’t have any kids, and the conversation hits a speed bump. My introductory biography on the website of the church where I work always looks a bit thin with no mention of a husband or children. When my married peers find so much of their identity in being spouses and, in many cases, parents, it can once again feel hard to know who I am or where I fit.
In those post-college days, my starting place for rebuilding my sense of identity was the one name tag that wouldn’t be stripped away: “Daughter of God.” Fifteen years later, that’s the name I still cling to, the one that has endured through two more moves, through life changes, and through the ongoing longing to add the name tag “Wife.” To be called a daughter of God is an incomparable gift.
John was so deeply secure in his identity in Christ that he referred to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2). His writings repeatedly speak of God’s deep, intimate love for his people as revealed in Jesus (see John 10:14–17, 27–30; 17:2026; 1 John 4:10–12). It is this love that has been given to us, at such great cost, so that we would no longer be enemies or slaves of God but his children. We have access to the creator of the universe because he is our Father (see Rom. 8:14–17). We have a loving advocate in Jesus because he is our big brother (see Heb. 2:17). And we have a secure, unchanging, glorious identity as sons and daughters of God (see Eph. 1:3–14).
This Christian identity is the most important thing about us. We are known and defined, first and foremost, not by our singleness but by our identity as sons and daughters of God. Our marital statuses, addresses, jobs, and church communities may change over time, but our identity in Christ remains constant. Whether we wear the name tags of husband or wife, dad or mom, best friend or housemate, our primary identity will never be found in our earthly relationships. Our heavenly Father looks at us all— single, married, divorced, or widowed—and sees the same thing: his beloved children. And so we are.
Taken from Singleness, Living Faithfully by Jenilyn Swett, a recent release from P&R Publishing. Used with permission.