Concrete Identity

NameTagThere are lots of little questions in life. Will I drink hot or iced coffee this morning? Should I turn on my blinkers when there is no one on the road at this hour? Should I put on the blue or the white shorts?

Then there are big questions. The reason they are “big” is because of how much they will chart the course of life. One of those big questions is, “Who am I?”

Who am I? Am I simply a collection of the many parts of my unique life story? Am I defined by my sexuality? By my failures? By my job? By my successes? By my ethnicity? By Christ? Who am I?

This past Sunday we encountered the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road back home from Jerusalem. During that time he met Philip and was converted to Christ. What we noted was that his identity was primarily one who was now a part of the people of God, united to Christ by baptism. His supreme identity is that he is loved by Christ along with all of those who come to Christ by faith.

Yet, we also read many details about this individual. He was ethnically Ethiopian. Sexually and socially he was an eunuch. In the world of work he was a treasurer. Politically he worked in the Ethiopian ruling court. Religiously he was a worshipper of YHWH, Israel’s God. By the end of Acts 8 he was still a worshipper of YHWH but now as he had freshly revealed himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit through the recent redemptive events witnessed to him by Philip. All of these details included about the Ethiopian serve to teach us that we still retain many important secondary identities as Christians. God wants us to enjoy and appreciate the multi-faceted ways he has created us. He also wants us to reflect upon our stories and experiences in light of our ultimate identity in Christ. We bring our secondary identities as gifts to Christ, asking him to mold them and use them for the sake of his reputation and the good of others.

If you are asking the question “Who am I?” you can answer “Jesus loves me”. The real Jesus, resurrected 2000 years ago, really loved the real me. He dominates my identity but does not extinguish me.

Questions for Conversation

What are your secondary identities (ethnically, politically, socially, etc.)?

Have you ever felt like they do not matter to Jesus or your discipleship?

What aspect of your identity most needs to be brought into the presence of Jesus? How might Jesus want to mold it? Use it? Sacrifice it?

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