To Christians On Primary Identity

How I define myself is a good indicator of what I’m worshiping.

How do I define myself in those first few moments of the morning, right after the alarm and before the coffee? How do I think of myself during the day? How do I classify myself in opposition to the people I quarrel with or who irritate me?

Do I spend most of my time and energy thinking about my blackness? My whiteness? My Americanness? My conservativeness? My liberalness? If so, then my heart is not most gladdened by God. I am not most fascinated by, in awe of, delighted by Christ Jesus.

And that must be confessed and turned from.

No god is worth worshiping but the God of Christ. And no identity is worth the full weight of your soul but being in that Christ. Our biographies and cultures and languages and families aren’t obliterated by that identity, but they can’t bear the total weight of our souls. They must not define us. Cultures and and political tribes and geographical markers make bad core identities because they make bad gods. But to be a bad god does not mean that you are a bad thing.

I must reserve my worship for the one true God, and I must fundamentally, primarily see myself as an adopted child of His through faith in Jesus, along with every other member of His vast and beautiful (and still flawed) church. If I am a Christian and yet the lens through which I most regularly view myself is anything other than my identity in Christ, then it is quite likely I have idolatries to repent of.

What I see myself as flows from what I worship.

If a man in Christ isn’t the primary thing I see myself as, I almost certainly have some lesser gods I need to deal with.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

Ephesians 2:13-16

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