Remembering Who We Are
Sometimes we need help from an outside voice to remind us who we are. If it is true that IDENTITY isn’t created but received (from others), then we need to constantly hear reminders from that voice that we’ve chosen to receive our IDENTITY from. For the Christian we need frequent reminders that we are children of God, and a reminder of what living out of that IDENTITY looks like.
As I reflect on our Sunday morning gatherings this summer month of August, it seems to me that God has been speaking to us about IDENTITY. We began the month with students from Teen Challenge sharing their testimonies of how God has rescued them, is delivering them from addiction, and how he is giving them hope for a new future. In my estimation, a great reason for their restoration is their immersion in God’s Word and presence. As they learn who God says they are, and the plans that He has for them, they are able to have their minds renewed and to find fulfillment in him instead of in addiction. I know one grad well in particular, and I know the reason that he is experiencing a fruitful and joyful life is because he has continued in healthy rhythms of God’s word and gathering with God’s people so as to often be reminded of his IDENTITY in Christ.
The next week I preached on Jesus’ call to “Come, follow me”. This same invitation that Jesus extended to his potential disciples God extends to each and every one of us today. To follow him is not simply to be a disconnected fan from a distance, but rather to enter into a intimate relationship with Jesus that requires our all. It’s hard to avoid this call to full-life surrender when Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). When we die to self we are giving up our old identity, and choosing to receive a new identity as a child of God. This new identity calls us to a whole new life orientation around the Kingdom of God.
Then this past Sunday I helped us consider what Gal.2:20 means: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. Is this just something that is playing out at a positional level in the spiritual realm? Or do we bring that to bear on how we actually live life day in and day out? If Christ lives in you and you die to self, then it should be possible that you can be mistaken for Jesus (in a perfect world if those you encountered knew enough about the works, ways, and words of Jesus); well, you get the idea 🙂 .
Why is IDENTITY important? Because Kingdom responsibility and representation flow directly out of IDENTITY. You cannot represent the Kingdom if you are not authorized to by the King. As well, you will not receive power or be able to produce fruit (fruit that will last, as per John 15:16) if you don’t possess a Family of God IDENTITY. And so it is fitting that we have been reminded throughout August of our identity, so that we can be primed to bear fruit in power as we enter into the autumn season. Are you ready to produce?