Sadly only 30% of Americans feel fulfilled in their job, meaning 70% of the people we see every day don’t like the thing that most people use to define them. The alternative is to allow Jesus to define us. By doing so, we become known by faith, love, and hope. You have an identity in Christ no matter what has happened, where you’ve been, or who you have been. Jesus died and rose again so you could have a new identity defined by who He is. Therefore, choose to be defined by the eternal, not the temporal.
Our identity is found in Jesus; the one who is the divine authority, the original creator and heroic rescuer of my life. Because of who he is, I am who I am. You are who you are. Don’t let anyone and anything else define your identity. Who else is great enough and worthy enough? Allow his power and love to be the things that define you.
When we’re at church we have our uniform on, and we see each other wearing the same uniform and it leads us to approach life with a certain confidence, a certain set of rules, a certain purpose and a certain understanding of life. But, when we close the service, end the stream or leave the building we approach life differently. The anxiety, emotions, discouragement, and uncertainty subtly sneaks back in.
How then do we stay in our uniform and keep that Sunday morning confidence? By staying knit together in love, being personally concerned about others and allowing them to be personally concerned about us. When we do this and when worship and engage in the word then we stay in our uniform.
Jesus told us in John 10:10 that he came so that we may have life and have it to the full. You and I were meant to experience amazing joy in a life of faith. However, we get distracted and the fullness gets interrupted when we experience dissatisfaction, boredom or insecurity wondering how abundant our life really is. Stuart, following Paul’s advice to the Colossians, explained that to avoid the interruption of fullness it is essential to keep remember Jesus is the center of abundant life, avoid the traps of traditions and avoid the allure of additions. True fullness is found at the cross where we find a life of love forgiveness and community
The moments when we don’t feel chosen, holy and loved we are being lied to because that is our identity. The moments when you don’t seem compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving, and loving – you are being distracted and being interrupted because that’s your identity. Whatever the time, whatever the place and whatever the relationship we are to be who we really are. Who we really are is defined by Jesus and anything less is a distraction or allowing our old sinful nature to creep in. Whatever we do, we do in the name of Jesus with an identity defined by him.
Stuart explains that it is important for believers to watch prayerfully. In other words, we would pray for opportunities to share Jesus. We should also act wisely. The world is watching and when we care deeply for those unlike us, actually listen to other people, and live generously it stands out because it is such a contrast to our world. Finally, we should speak gracefully; speech that is gracious, loving, kind, forgiving, compassionate, humble, gentle, and patient.
If we do these three things our kingdom impact will be huge. People aren’t argued to Jesus. Instead, Paul says it’s his kindness that leads to repentance. People will be drawn to Jesus when we reflect his kindness.