As a relationship educator and student of human nature, I have read, spoken, and written about the comparative significance between our roles and our identities in numerous formats and spaces. It is a distinction I think we must all be reminded of with a fair amount of regularity, as cultural influences constantly bombard us with messages that cause confusion about one or the other.
We can easily ascertain the distinction between the two by their offers the following descriptions of the terms: role-(noun) the part played by a person or thing in a particular social setting, influenced by the expectation of what is appropriate identity–(noun)the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another basic differentiation is quite simple and can be conveyed in basic language. The role is what you do. Your identity is who you are. But living out the differences isn’t just a rudimentary exercise. It requires a bit of intentionality and focus.
As inhabitants in this world, but not of this world, we often find ourselves in an environment that causes us to merge the two or replace one with the other. Our jobs, income, education, hobbies, etc. become our primary identifiers. When we place those interchangeable and temporary titles ahead of who we are, we either give them priority over who we are or believe that they make us who we are. Existing in a culture based on power and accumulation will only perpetuate such thinking.
The Word of God, however, clearly illustrates the appropriate emphasis we should place on who we are and what we do by defining them through our relationship to God through ChristJesus.Our roles, defined by what we do, are governed by our identity. Our identity is determined by our relationship to our heavenly Father. Among our many roles are positions and titles such as husband, wife, father, mother, shepherd, teacher, church, deacon, and pastor (to name only a few). Each of these roles carries the duties and expectations that are spelled out and defined by scriptures. We should seek to operate in excellence and obedience to God in all that we do within these roles.
However, our effectiveness will be hindered if we do not focus on who we are as believers and how that shapes what we do as believers. Who we are in Christ can be acknowledged in wondrous and exhilarating terms. We are co-laborers in service with and for God (I Cor.3:9). We are temples of the holy spirit (I Cor. 6:19). We are new creatures, made righteous in Him (2 Cor. 5:15, 21).
Moreover, we are the children of God who have been adopted into His holy family as co-heirs with our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.“The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”(Romans 8:15,17CEV)No matter what the call on your life may be in this season, live and work not for the things of this world, but for that which is eternal. We know that only what we do for Christ will last. Let us also be mindful that who we are in Christ will determine the value and motivation for what we do.


“So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10CEV)