We all have an identity: certain traits and characteristics that set us apart from other people. When asked to describe yourself, what things do you say? How would you classify yourself? Usually, I begin with my personality and beliefs, likes and dislikes, my situation in life… things that other people can easily grasp, allowing them to put me in their neat little box of opinions. 🙂 Some things are easily seen: my ethnicity and manner of dress; other things are not so apparent.
I think that as believers we can all safely say that our desire is for others to see Christ in us, first and foremost. But do they? Do they see the very characteristics of Christ Jesus in our lives? Or do they see someone whose identity is somehow wrapped up in something lesser?
When a person has strong convictions and chooses a less-traveled road, it is so easy to become entangled in a sort of pride in those things that characterize and set us apart. And, suddenly, we are known as homeschoolers, feminine dressers, stay-at-home-daughters, Bible college students, health food eaters, cloth-diapering mamas, advocates of courtship… the list goes on. The convictions we hold dearly become our identity. What about, simply, followers of Jesus? There comes a time when we suddenly realize we have left our first love…
How do we avoid this pride? Should we let go of our convictions? No, but perhaps we should not be holding onto them quite so tightly. Let them fade to the background. Let us determine, like Paul, to “know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Study His life, His words, His Identity. Know Him, so that the world may see Him. Read Galatians 5, examine your life in light of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are the things others should see in you, that should set you apart–that should identify you.