Do you worry about what people think of you? Do you think people see you the way you want them to see you? How do people know what your priorities in life are? Our interactions with people on a daily basis are brief at best. Depending on the situation a quick observation would tell others that I’m a father, a husband, a “Pepsi Guy”. At the end of the day, that’s not what I want people to take away from their encounters with me. I have been blessed with many vocations in life; which I take great pride in. But, what’s my identity? From looking at me, it certainly isn’t the identity I have in Jesus Christ.
The world has many things for us to latch onto as our identity. Take a minute to ponder on all the things in your life that people identify with you: “I’m a Miller Lite man” or “I’m a Ford guy;” “I love football and you should see my ‘Man Cave’ covered with my favorite team’s logo everywhere.” Did you know you can buy a waffle maker that will make a waffle with your team’s logo on it? Some people will pay over $100 for name-brand shoes. Not to mention people like me who pay $5 for a cup of coffee from my favorite coffee shop. My wife would tell me, “That’s why we buy their coffee beans at the store,” so I don’t have to pay $5 for one cup. I buy into any and all worldly identities I can because they are easy and make me feel good. What is that telling other people? What is that confessing to people about me or my faith? It says I worship stuff, this stuff becomes my identity.
Our Identity Scale has been tipped.
I know what you’re thinking, lighten up buddy. Just so you know, I don’t like being called buddy. We thank God for the tremendous amount of “things” he has given us in this world. Even with all of our sin and the death we deserve, he has greatly blessed many of us. It’s true that on a Sunday I’d much rather wear my Pittsburgh Steelers shirt then my Worldview Everlasting T-shirt picturing our Savior on it. I’m proud of my children and my marriage but I want them to know the Redman identity will fade away and die. In fact, I passed the burden of being the last male Redman onto my son. What happens if my favorite coffee maker goes out of business or my favorite team moves? What happens if my house burns down or I have to use my entire 401k to pay for medical bills? My church body suddenly ordains women or homosexuals; starts preaching a false gospel. My church closes; my pastor takes another call or begins questionable practices. Suddenly my all identities are gone. We will all have our crosses to bear in this life, including fighting the sin of idolatry. Attempting to tip the Identity Scale against the world and the devil will continue until we die. We can only turn to the Word of God, the Sacraments and the Holy Spirit to tip the scale over to an identity that is solely based on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Identity as Christians is Jesus Christ.
Proclaiming Jesus Christ is not an easy task in this world. Even today people are killed around the world for identifying as Christian. In our baptism we are forever bound to Jesus Christ. He is our new and eternal identity. Through faith, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our sinful identities will not be seen by our Father in heaven. God only sees the identity we have in Jesus Christ; his identity is ours. Our identity is forgiven, righteous children of God. Wear that identity on your sleeve; it is the only identity worth confessing.