Identity is critical. We live out who we think we are. How we see ourselves drives how we function in society and how we interact with others. Identity defines us.
If our identity isn't clear we look for a group we like and adopt their identity even if it isn't who we really are, what we are really like. We all have to be somebody, anybody, so we can fit into the world around us.
Often, when we meet someone new, we ask, "what do you do?" It's a way of establishing identity. And with their answer we have them tagged, marked, we think we know who they are and how they will act. Identity, for each of us, is vital for a healthy emotional life.
The greatest problem I see in the Christian church in America is we don't know who we are. We don't have a clear and focused identity that defines and drives us as we live in the world and so we live badly, represent Christ poorly and tell the world being a "Christian" isn't really all that great. (And, honestly, that's the current view of Christians in our culture.)
As I thought about this three words came to mind. There is so much more I could write on identity in Christ it would fill volumes (and many have written books on this topic) but let me just focus on three small words. If you will weave these into your identity as a Christian believer it will dramatically change the way you live in the world and in your relationship with God.
1. Sons. We are identified by God as sons. Adopted, beloved children of God. You and I are sons of God! Heirs, his children dearly loved, members of his house. Sons and daughters who will never lose our family relationship with Father. It defines first of all our relationship with God. With God we are sons. His children. Part of his family. If a son of God how should I act? Pragmatically and simply- I should live like the son of God himself, Jesus, who came to show us what sons do in a fallen world.
2. Saints. Second, we are called saints, holy ones. This is both an "already, but not yet reality." I am holy and yet I'm called to live a holy life. I'm a saint! A holy one of God. Hebrews 10:14 says, "he has made perfect forever those who are becoming holy." I am a saint, but still becoming one. I'm called into a new kind of life as I live in a fallen world. I'm called, you are called to be holy. That defines how my mouth works, how I live with others, how I treat those who cheat me. It's an identity that describes how I live until he comes.
and, 3. Servants. We are called, like our Savior, to be servants, to serve God and serve others. Being sons doesn't change the reality that we are to live out the life of a servant. It means I take the lowest place, I don't seek honor or fame, it means I serve others whenever possible. It means, like Christ, I pick up the towel and bowl and wash the feet of others. Servants and Sons. The lowest and highest identities blended in the lives we live. It means this- knowing I'm a son of God I can freely serve others, not expecting anything, knowing I already have everything.
Identity is critical. If we, as believers in Christ, would simply live out these three aspects of our identity in Christ it would be world changing. For sure it would change how the world around you sees Christ.
And so, I invite you to the quest to imbed these three key aspects of your identity in Christ into your life. I think you will find it changes every encounter, every relationship and every opportunity to sin into a new way to relate to the world around you. I can't wait to see what happens in the lives of those who take this identity seriously. You are a Son, a Saint and called to be a Servant. How does that change the way you live?