In the new class that I just started teaching this past Monday evening, we were considering in the first lesson, our identity. Many times, we simply say: “Well, I’m a Christian.” As noted in the class, such is true, that when we put on the body of Christ in baptism, we became a Christian. The issue that I have found is that many although knowing the “steps of salvation,” they don’t completely grasp their new identity in Christ and thereby struggle in knowing the what the next step is in their new walk. It also doesn’t help that the world’s view of a Christian differs greatly than how the Lord defines and describes a Christian.
The word “Christian(s),” is first mentioned in Acts 11:26: “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” There are other words that describe a Christian, being “disciple” (cf. Matthew 28:19; Acts 11:26), “saints” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2), and even called “of the Way” (Cf. Acts 9:2; ref. John 14:6).
Each of these words are obviously connected to Jesus Christ. So, a Christian is identified as “belonging to Christ.” The other aforementioned words that describe a Christian simply describes one who is a “follower of Christ,” “sanctified/set apart from world for Christ,” to be of His way, which is the narrow way that leads to life (cf. Matthew 7:13,14). So, with our identity as a Christian and noting the other words associated, what does it mean to be a Christian?
Since we saw the word “sanctified,” or “set apart” in 1 Corinthians 1:2, we find that being a Christian means we no longer live for ourselves, but our thinking and our behavior changes as we “follow the Lord.” Paul made it clear of what has been called “cruciformity” in Galatians 2:20 where Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” “Cruciformity” has to do as Paul said, crucifying self, and shaping or forming our lives according to the life of Jesus Christ. You see this throughout the New Testament. Paul told the Christians at Rome in Romans 12:1,2 to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Being a Christian is more than having a label, it is a life devoted to the One who gave His all for us. We must first realize our identity before we can ever go on to fulfill our God-given purpose. We must be careful to not let the world’s definition of a Christian infiltrate our hearts and minds. Always look to the word of God where we find who we are and whose we are.
While preparing for the class, I thought of the song in our supplement entitled “Remember Who You Are.” I was searching for the song online to listen, but instead came across a clip from the movie “The Lion King.” I watched the clip where Rafiki takes Simba who was in the middle of an identity crisis, to the river and tells Simba to look. Simba stares at the water and says disappointedly, “that’s not my father, it’s just my reflection.” Rafiki says, “no,” and continues to instruct Simba to “look harder.” Rafiki further explains to Simba, “You see, He lives in you.” Simba looks harder and more focused into the water and sees his father and remembers his identity through his father. Simba had forgotten who he was, he had in turn forgotten his father. With such, remembering who he was, his identity, he would receive strength to go to live out his purpose.
Just as we see from the aforementioned scriptures, and many others that were shared in the class, we see that the Lord lives within us. We tend to have the same problem that Simba did in that movie scene. We get so caught up with ourselves and the things going on around us that we forget who we are and whose we are which in turn forgetting and not fulfilling the purpose we have.
May we “look harder,” and remember who we are and whose we are, understanding we have purpose through our life in Christ. As we build on this foundation of our relationship in Christ, we will find strength in knowing and remembering who we are as Christians.
I close with the words of the song entitled: “Remember Who You Are:”
“In His image God created you; In new birth He gave you life anew; And His matchless love you now proclaim; You must live to glorify His name. You were bought at such an awful price. Christ redeemed you by His sacrifice. You obeyed Him and were free from sin, Peace and hope and joy and love within. Let you light be bright and ever true; Live so others will see Christ in you. In you life a sermon sinners see What the Christian life is meant to be. Christian remember who you are today; As you follow Him along the way. Tho’ the way seems dark and the journey far, Strength comes when you remember who you are.”
Yes, it is certainly something to think about. Have a great week, and don’t forget who you are and whose you are. – DJ 😊