What does it mean to have a Christian identity?
Years ago, I heard a true story about a college football coach whose starting quarterback happened to be his own son. During a press conference a reporter commented on how proud he must be of his son's accomplishments as the team's quarterback. The coach respectfully informed the reporter that he would be just as proud of his son if he had never played at all. The coach separated his son's identity from his role as quarterback. He wanted his son's sense of worth to be based on love not performance.
We can have a new identity
We all have our identity bound up in something. This is important because the way we see ourselves drives virtually all of our choices. The gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to change your identity. When we discover how God sees us it changes the way we view ourselves. This change begins by believing the word of God. Jesus taught that the word of God is like a seed planted in the ground (Luke 8:11-15). When God's word takes root in a human heart, a new identity starts to emerge. Here are some of the ways the scriptures refer to our Christian identity:
Before we knew Jesus we followed the ways of the world. Now that Jesus has come into our lives we follow him. We are not our own because we are bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:19-20). We are his disciples. Jesus is not only our savior but also our treasure. Our aim is to walk with him, become one with him and be like him. We obey God and love others in order to reflect the heart of Jesus. Our love is the mark that we are Christ's disciples.
Before we knew Jesus we were slaves to sin. Now our sins are forgiven and we are adopted into God's family. God is our father and we are his children. We have received a Spirit of sonship. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children (Romans 8:15-16). Jesus said that a slave has no permanent place in the family but a son belongs to it forever (John 8:35). It's time to embrace your true Christian identity. We are children of God. We are members of his family.
Before we knew Jesus we lived for ourselves. Now we have a new life purpose. God is our king and we are his representatives. We are authorized to represent him wherever we live, work and play. We are God's ambassadors. (II Corinthians 5:20) As representatives of Christ, every follower of Jesus has the authority to do good for others in the name of the one who sent them. We represent our king every moment of the day because that is who we are.
As a follower of Jesus have you settled your identity? Get alone with God and meditate on these words: Jesus is my treasure. I am his disciple. God is my father. I am his child. God is my king. I am his representative. With a new identity you will naturally express God's love and extend God's kingdom. Everything you do will flow naturally out of who you really are. To deepen your understanding of these spiritual realities I highly recommend Covenant and Kingdom - the DNA of the Bible, by Mike Breen. It is one of the best books I've ever read.
See more of my favorite books. What are yours?
Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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Discussion questions for your small group or Sunday School class:
1. Why is it important to not base our Christian identity on our accomplishments?
2. What is revolutionary about the way Jesus bases our identity?
3. Which relationship to Jesus (disciple, family, representative) comes most naturally to you? Which is the hardest to believe and accept?
4. Which above scripture speaks the most personally to you regarding your Christian identity? Will you memorize it this week?
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