Over the next month I want us to explore what it looks like to have our Identity in Christ, why it's great and how that changes our life. As a Christian this is out first point of Identity before anything else about ourselves, this is what sets us apart from the rest of the world and lets us have confidence and foundation in an ever changing society.
Society is always changing the boundaries, raising the bar, shifting the focus on what matters most, this is not always a bad thing. Over the past ten years the most important thing has shift from feminism to same sex relationships, fathers for justice, to the trans movement and black lives matter. To keep up with these changes is hard, and to place your identity in any one of these can feel temporary and like you must be ready to make the next leap.
Being a Christian means that God has set the boundaries, the standard and by the grace of Jesus, made us perfect in His sight, for me that gives a huge amount of comfort and relief, no matter where society places the focus, Jesus focus never changes.
What is our Identity in Christ?
Galatians 2v20 says this:
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Crucified with Christ: My debt has been paid, my sins were paid for by Christ on the cross, not swept under the carpet, PAID for.
Christ lives in me: I do not work on this alone, with Christ living in me, shaping me and growing me, I become more like Him each day.
I live by faith in the Son of God: I trust Jesus to achieve the things set out in points one and two.
He loves me and gave himself for me: this is personal. Jesus loves you individually, He paid for you because he loves you. Your are loved by the creator of the universe.
John 1 v 12 says:
"Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."
If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a child of God. THAT is your identity. Deeply rooted in Jesus.
Why does it matter?
Great, I am a Christian, a child of God, my sins are paid for, so what. Well, actually this is the big part, Matthew 25 v 1-13 says this:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
There is so much to take away from this passage, and I cannot do it justice in this post, but I really think this passage captures the urgency of being rooted in Jesus. You see we are the 10 virgins, waiting for the Bridegroom who is Jesus, we must be ready, we must be rooted and find our identity in Him for when He returns, we must be ready in that instant. We cannot put it off, or it may be too late. Ensure that you are rooted in Christ so that when he comes, you are ready.
This passage brings us onto our final point nicely.
How does this change me?
Well this falls into two parts, firstly, we must be prepared. Be proactive in your faith, draw yourself near to God each day, ensure that you keep a good relationship with Him and allow Jesus to shape you to be more like Him.
Secondly, this urges us to ensure that people we know are prepared. Imagine your best friend was one of the 10 virgins who was not prepared, and therefore did not enter the kingdom of God. This passage spurs us on to share the gospel, the good news of Jesus with everyone we know, tell your friends and family how good it is to have your identity in Jesus, tell them what they are missing out on and invite them to join you before it's too late.
Challenge and action
Challenge: share the good news with someone this week. (read some of the older blog posts about sharing God's kingdom for tips)
Action: equip yourself by reading more about your identity in Christ. Ensure that you are regularly delving into God's word and learning about what it means to be a child of God.
Action: Change one thing this week that doesn't demonstrate Jesus in your life. Maybe that means cutting it out, praying about it, changing the way you do it. But challenge yourself to begin that journey of change.