God's family for the whole family

New Identity Badge

egg reveal identityWhen I visit someone in the hospital I have this identification badge that I wear that shows that I am “Clergy”. In our society there are various badges being worn. It might identify a person’s occupation, or politics, or ethnicity, or sexual orientation, or…well the list goes on.

In a 1C letter to a group of churches in present-day Turkey, Paul writes this about identification:

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20-21 NIV)

Paul is making it clear that all the other id badges he once wore, some with great pride, have been replaced with one fundamental identification founded in Christ. How he conducts himself in his earthly affairs has been transformed by that core identity. No longer is he a Jew, who now believes in Jesus. Nope. That has it backwards. He is now a Christ-ian, who was a Jew.

Changing our core identity is radical business. It is God’s business. It is the result of God’s merciful grace awakening faith and launching a miraculous makeover from the inside out.

This re-creating work that God has begun in us will last our earthly lives. There are moments where I am acting out of an old identity. Usually an identity that provides me reasons (false but enticing) why I should have my own way, or go first or be exempt from doing what is right. But the Spirit of Christ shines a spotlight on that and invites me to repent and to re-engage with becoming who God is redeeming me to be.

I rejoice that God is merciful and does not treat me according to what I deserve. And as a Christ-ian I too must extend mercy to a brother or sister, who like me, act out of their old identities. Mercy is never an affirmation of the wrong, it is always an affirmation of the person God is making whole and holy.

Are there certain identity badges that make it hard for you to extend God’s mercy?

2 Comments

  1. My ‘identity’ has been literally ripped away from me on several occasions by chronic immune system illness. My successful professional career gone, degrees and accolades, all my coping mechanisms shot down, my physical body changed which had to adapt to a new reality in the space of only a few years. I tried to go my own way on many occasions, trying to get back my old self but God had another plan. He not only reached down to save my soul, deposited His Spirit in a ‘born again’ experience, but started me on a new road when I was 38. I thought I was ‘doing life’ really well till then. I still hang out in a broken body, my personality – the one God created is intact, but I still struggle with who I used to be. I have a newer label – chronic patient. Believe it or not, even that can become a wrong identity.
    Who I really am and what I must constantly remind myself of is that ‘I am a new creation’ with a heavenly identity, loved and well known by my Saviour. He knows my frame and He knew what would bring Him the greatest glory. I still try and ‘kick against the goads’ but the old me has to change and thankfully that has been slowly happening over 30 plus years. I’m a walking miracle! Thanks be to God that He doesn’t abandon broken pots but reworks them for the Master’s use and proudly displays them on His shelf. (Just like a parent who hangs the children’s art on the fridge door)

    • Cathy, you are so right to say that believers in Christ are new creations. I love the imagery of being artwork on God’s fridge. God is not re-creating us to be ‘fair’ or ‘just okay’ but rather we will be His image bearers, whole and holy.

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