April 15, 2012

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?  Identity (Romans 12:1-3)

Paul reminds us not to accept the labels that the world puts on us, to renew our thinking and concentrate on who we are in Christ.  He tells us to render sober judgment about ourselves, i.e. think correctly about yourself.

Five thoughts about identity…

1.  Our identity is not our performance.  Often we identify ourselves by what we do (“I’m a parent, teacher, artist, pastor”, etc.)  But if you find your identity and value in what you do (performance, doing), then who are you when you can no longer function in that role?  Then who are you when someone else comes along as is better at that role than you are?  Who would you be if you could no longer do what you do?

2.  Many people live with the identity assigned  to them by someone else.  Many people have formed their identity according to the world’s grid.  Sometimes parents, teachers, communities, churches put labels on people who, unfortunately, begin to define that person.  Albert Einstein’s third grade teacher told him he should quit school because he would never be successful in academic studies – glad young Einstein didn’t accept that label!  Paul encourages Christians to step out of the world’s parade and let Christ define who we are.

3.  Many people live with self-assigned identities.  Some people define themselves by the money they make, the things they own, the success the achieve, the relationships they participate in, the family they are a part of, and, even by the religious pursuits.

4.  True identity is based on who we are in Jesus Christ.  Christ is interested in our being (person) not our doing (performance).  If I am in Jesus Christ, my performance is flawed by my person (my spirit) is perfect.  His magnanimous work at the cross accomplishes this.  This is why every mentally or physically challenged person is of infinite worth to God.  This makes every person, regardless of color, social standing, economic standing, educational achievement, etc., of infinite value to God.  This makes every baby that is conceived and every elderly person in every nursing of infinite value to God.

5.  Christian identity is secured by faith not by works.  Again, Jesus forgives us, places us in his family, redeems us, restores us, and gives us his identity based on what HE did not what WE do.  Our new identity is based on who Christ is, what Christ has done, and who he has made us to be in him.

Our false self thrives on torturing us with false identities.  If we allow God to change our thinking by renewing our mind – he will change our life.  Christianity says, discover who you really are in Christ and concentrate on being THAT person.  And when you do, there is no other person you will wish to be.

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