Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all , and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:11-14)
In Part 1, we talked about identity. We talked about who we are in Christ Jesus. Our core identity is a child of God.
Well…as our identity changes so does the way we look at the world, right?
For example, if I recognize that I am baptized into Christ, that I am God’s child, I cannot look at people the same way that others might, right? You know this. This is Sunday school stuff. God is love. Jesus looks at all people with love. We are in Christ so we look at others with love.
This means identities and categories that we place others and ourselves into don’t seem so important. We get that there is neither Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, jock or nerd, punk or prep, black or white, cool or dumb, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Our identity in Christ reshapes our worldview.
We look at the world differently. We don’t have to cling to our earthly identities, because we know that God has made us His child. He has chosen us. This is what defines us. The things that we needed to define us before can simply be enjoyed and seen as gifts of God instead of identities that fail us.
You guys know this.
We receive Christ, despite our broken identities and ourselves. We receive Him and are given a new identity as children of God and in that identity our action toward the world changes. Identity determines action.
So we have this new identity in Christ. We put off these false gods that we create and we put on Christ and the life we find in him. It only makes sense that in this identity we live a different life.
In Colossians Paul puts it like this, “Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and…above all theses put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” This makes sense.
You’ve been chosen.
You no longer need to work for your identity. Now you can live in the one that’s been given to you. Being chosen by God frees us to put on compassion, kindness, humility, love.
Let these things identify you.
We take part in this new identity that Christ won for us on the cross. This is a beautiful thing.
It looks like this.
A friend of mine graduated from college with a degree in international business. So of course the day after graduating she does the logical thing. She moves from southern California to Thailand on the border of Burma so she can help Burmese refugees turn their handmade products into sustainable income. This is what it looks like. Christ has claimed her and given her an identity as a child of God. She knows that and the identity crisis is over. She doesn’t have to earn her identity. She can focus on others, and people are cared for.
Her life may be an extreme example for us to take in. How about this one? Another friend of mine works at Wal-Mart. Many of her coworkers have been through some really hard times. They find identity in all the wrong things: drugs, sex, or unhealthy relationships. My friend shared with me that she knows that working at Wal-Mart is a place in which God wants to use her. She shared with me several stories in which she was able to encourage her coworkers to stop finding their identity in things that were destroying them.
Our identity is in Christ.
Identity determines action.
You are a forgiven child of God. Your identity is secure in that. In that security we love others. Of course we won’t be perfect at that. Our failings do not determine our identity, Christ’s love determines our identity. In Christ our identity is always God’s child.
Question 1: When I forget, how can I be reminded of my identity in Christ?
Question 2: How do my actions reflect my identity in Christ?