Who are you? How do you define yourself?
What’s the most important thing about you? What are you about?
What or where is your identity? Is it given, earned or are you born with it? Does it or can it change depending on the circumstance?
I find myself contemplating these questions often. I’ve never thought about identity in my life as much as I have in the last few years. It’s a constant talking point in the news and it is often the most obvious way to group people.
This morning I was praying for our country. I thanked God that no matter what happens this November, He is my ultimate leader and authority. I want my primary identity to be Child of God. I asked Him to continue to teach me what it looks like to make my Christlikeness shine bigger and brighter than my gender, my titles, my nationality or race. I want all that defines me to be filtered through Jesus.
It made me think that when I get to heaven, I get to be with Jesus and alongside people of every tribe and nation. The only thing that will matter will be our unity in Christ, not one other identifier will be noticed.
Don’t get me wrong, I am super thankful for all the things that make me, well, me. Thankful that I get to be a woman, a daughter, a wife, a mother, an American, a person of Mexican heritage, a Christian, a runner, an eater and a sleeper. There are so many qualities from these identities that I love and cherish, but more than anything I want my Jesus-ness to be the one that shines brightest. I want everything I am and everything I hold dear to be filtered by Jesus.
Maybe it was the sermon at church on Sunday about how diverse the early Church was or maybe the USA women’s gymnastics team or a combination of the two, but I am loving the diversity I’m seeing. I love that though they look different and come from different places they unite for one purpose and one goal. They decide which one piece of them will define them in this moment.
I feel that sometimes we, the body of Christ, hold tight to some identity or other and forget that it is our Christlikeness that must be most pronounced.
Even this afternoon as I was picking up a shattered lamp (thank you child who thought they needed more light during quiet time — insert eye roll and exasperated sigh) I realized that my “mom” identity was taking over. Make sure he’s safe, make sure everyone’s out of the room, clean, lecture, discipline, resume quiet time. And that is right and good, unless I forget to overlay my Christlikeness, which I totally did.
Instead of having some compassion and gentleness, I was short and made it apparent by my tone and grunts that I was upset with him. I made sure with my words to tell him it wasn’t the broken lamp that upset me, but the disobedience in trying to turn on the lamp again when he’s been repeatedly asked and told not to. But who hears words when they pale in comparison to the contradictory tone.
I am always trying to teach him that people are more important than things, i.e. Brother is more important than the toy they want to fight over. But today I’m afraid I let my momness trump my Jesusness and in the process likely coveyed that I cared more about that lamp than him. (When I went to apologize but he was asleep. Praise the Lord, grace for all of us! I repented to God and got to apologize for my tone when he woke up.)
Jesus was always teaching that people, and more specifically the condition of one’s heart, are more important than things, traditions, systems, race or nationality.
I love that in my devotional this morning I read Acts 10. It was the first time the message of repentance and forgiveness through Jesus was shared with anyone non Jewish and they received it.
Acts 10:34-35 says, “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.’ ”
My fellow Christian Americans, we have so many rights and freedoms and are super blessed to be here, but let us not forget where our more important citizenship lies IN HEAVEN!!
We’re just sojourners! We can appreciate and respect our differences, but let’s focus more on what unifies us. It reminds me of what Paul told the Galatians.
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28
Let us be thankful for the things that make us precious and unique for they are gifts that God has given us to reach people in our spheres of influence. But let all the good qualities that we have be overwhelmed by the spirit of God- in our hearts, in our homes, in our work and in every part of our world.