Our identity as a Christian is the most important

Published 8:37 am Friday, March 16, 2018

Our identity is often something that we take for granted. We are usually given a name that we did not choose, but regardless of whether we like the name or not, people equate a number of qualities and traits with our names. For example, my name is Hunter Greene. When those that know me hear this name, they immediately think of an average-sized white male with dirty blonde hair. They think of Stoney Creek. They think of Elizabethton High School or Milligan College. They think of the Tennessee Volunteers. They think of basketball. They think of Cookout trays. They probably think a whole lot of things, naturally some good and some bad.
But why? What is it about these specific things that are equated with me and my life? Simply, who we are and who we perceive ourselves to be will ultimately produce behavior in order to display our perceived identity. If I think I am smart, I will probably read and study in order to produce good grades. On the other hand, if I think I am worthless, I will probably not smile much or confidently interact with others.
Your identity matters. Who you think you are matters, especially as Christians. The call of Christ is that we come after Him, deny ourselves (our identities), and pick up our crosses to follow Him. Just as Christ gave up His identity as the God of the universe in order to become a meek and weak sacrificial lamb, He has also asked us to nail our identities to the cross in exchange for the identity of being a son or daughter of God.
Galatians 2:18-20 reads, “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
When we make the decision to follow after Christ and pick up our own cross, it is a decision to lay down our past identity. For some this is great news. We can nail our identities as an alcoholic, drug addict, abuser, adulterer, and sinner to the cross. We don’t have to live by those labels any longer because Christ has made us new creatures.
However, for many of us, crucifying ourselves with Christ and allowing Him to take full control of our lives is no easy task. We like our identities as student, athlete, parent, son, daughter, friend, manager, coach, fisherman, and the list goes on and on. The cross of Calvary strips us of all our identities and replaces it with the identity of Jesus Christ.
Am I saying that we must quit our jobs, our families, and our passions in order to follow Jesus? Of course not. However, I am saying that we are to allow Christ to transform our identities into instruments that He can use for His glory. God wants to strip you down, naked of your past, so that He may clothe you with His righteousness, His glory, and His Son. God wants you to now see yourself as a child of the King. Redeemed. Liberated. Loved.
Our aim as Christians should be to saturate every aspect of our lives in the ways, teachings, and love of Jesus. Don’t be an ordinary student. Be a student transformed by His grace by bringing glory to God through our best efforts in the classroom. Don’t be an ordinary business owner. Be an owner transformed by the love of Christ by serving your employees in the same way Christ served us. Don’t be an ordinary person. Be an individual that realizes that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Don’t continue in a life of sin and an ordinary existence. Today, claim your life, your identity, in the power, love, and wisdom of an extraordinary God.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Elizabethton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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