Whose are you?

Whose are you?

The Question Posed

Are we conservative? Or Christian? Are we liberal/progressive? Or are we Christian? Are we conservative Christians? Liberal Christians? Which comes first? The world wants to know. When you identify as a follower of Christ, the main contention with the world hinges on where we fall politically. We ask silly questions of where Jesus would fall on this issue or that issue… We claim moral superiority based on which political leaning we cling to – but not due to the Words of the Lord. So, I ask again, whose are you? Which identity would most define you?

For some of you reading you may immediately answer “Christian, duh! I believe in the Bible, and I believe that God is sovereign, and I believe that Christ is the only way to eternal salvation!” But I want to ask you to look closer – look at your heart, and how you live your life functionally… Whose. Are. You? Do you make decisions based on what your political leanings state are acceptable? Do you make friends, and enemies, based on how they believe the nation’s Congress works with the POTUS? Do you find yourself quoting politicians, or knowing their beliefs to a better degree than you know your Lord’s? When you do quote Scripture is it to back up a politician’s words or platform? OR, maybe a more pressing question could be, can you quote your favorite team’s stats to a better degree than you can quote passages of Living Water?

For many in this nation politics take over their essential identity. For others it is their favorite sport team (whether pro or college level – sometimes both!). Some identify by their dislikes more than their Savior. Others find identity in their sexuality – their uniqueness – their race/nationality –  their wealth – their self-approval/disapproval – their denomination… Brothers and sisters, we cannot make a living that way! Not a living that glorifies Christ, at least! We need to develop a “Gospel Identity.”

The Answer – Gospel Identity

Finding identity in the Gospel means that our life is shaped by the Truth found in Christ’s words. It means that our life is shaped by Christ, and not the other way around. THAT means you like a politician, or a song, or a celebrity, or any other thing BECAUSE that thing is pleasing to Christ (or at the very least not offensive to Him). What aspects of your life are not affected by the Truth of Christ? …the answer is none… None parts of your life are absent from Christ’s desire for you.

34c
I understand “none parts” isn’t grammatically correct

Christ asks for nothing short of all of us. When we find ourselves compelled by grace, we should find that our whole selves are compelled – not just those parts that are easy. Those easy parts would be our kind words, our gestures of kindness towards kind people, lending a hand when convenient – and the like… When Christ calls us “Come and die,” He calls our whole person. And that is not easy. Finding our identity in the Truth of the Gospel calls for a surprising life. But what would that life look like?

A surprising life, centered on an identity in Christ, is covered in the just love of He who gave us life. It oozes a sense of wonder at our place in life – bought by our Savior’s blood. It supersedes every other consideration you can think of (even when there are times that other things may overtake it). A surprising life centered in Christ is one that can be counter-cultural, while maintaining a humility found only in Him who gave us faith. A surprising life finds God’s truth everywhere, but knows that ultimately it resides in His Word given to us in Scripture. A surprising life is had by one that can love his neighbor, but not accept their life decisions – and that neighbor never feels judged. A surprising life, found through holding to a full and true identity in Christ, is in itself full, and needs no nourishment from the world.

This life is hard, Christ promised it would be when He told His followers “I came not to bring peace, but the sword” (Matthew 10:34). A Gospel identity is very different than a conservative identity… or a progressively liberal identity… or a philanthropist identity… or a homosexual identity… or a black identity… A Gospel identity looks at what Christ said (I am the way, the Truth, and the Life – John 14:), and what He did (the Pharisees asked why Christ dined with sinners – Matthew 9:11). We live a life centered on Gospel identity when we stand up for our belief in the truth of heterosexual marriage – marriage founded in God, not man. We life a Gospel identity life when we vote for a candidate that wishes to care for the poor by giving them a hand up (John 9:6), not a hand out (2 Thessalonians 3:10). We live a life with an identity centered on the Gospel when we choose to speak words of mercy or love rather than curse another man made in God’s image (James 3:10). Yet we continue living a life of Gospel identity when we call out a brother in sin (James 5:19-20).

A Gospel Identity should be one that is counter-cultural. It shouldn’t just be a “nice life,” a “kind life.” When we do good, our actions should point back to Christ, who saved us from certain damnation. We do that by living unapologetically for Him! When we do good, when we are praised – direct that praise back to Him, not yourself. If I can give any other encouragement: when you live with this mindset, you will make a difference. People will notice. It has happened to me multiple times at my jobs. Speak up about your faith – don’t hide it, don’t apologize for it. That is how you live a life of Gospel identity.

 

will apologize for this post though, it may seem rambling – or seem a little scatterbrained. I write this sitting in a coffee shop, my first time really writing with some distractions around me… So, I hope this post makes sense, and that you find it encouraging yet challenging as we enter a time inundated in politics and sports, and so many other things clammering for a spot in your identity.

 

God bless!

My opinions – if they even matter nowadays

Here’s the deal. I want to be able to share my opinions. I have opinions on Duck Dynasty, the homosexual “situation” in general, abortion, politics, the American situation, religion… But as a Christian my views are practically pushed aside. I am either uneducated, ignorant, a bigot, hypocritical, indoctrinated, or just plain stupid. As a Christian, a Christian who views the Bible as true and full and clear and necessary I am different.

Now there are many who woefully argue that my complaint is unjust. That I am just blind to the world as it is, but I must ask you: when you think who gives this nation their information, do you think “the media”? If so, then you must admit that they are about as loving to true Christianity as they are to serial killers and terrorists. And that is no exaggeration. I challenge any reader to find 10 positive articles about a Christian who believes the whole Bible and speaks of it. And they need to be in the past 10 years. The more recent the better.

Odds are even if you do find them, that will be a long search. And so you see my dilemma. But let me be clear, it’s not that I care if you disagree with me. That honestly leads to a better conversation. What saddens me is that so few Americans today understand intellectual discourse. Everyone’s a scholar. If you have a computer screen and a loud enough keyboard you simply must have something important to say. And let me be clear: I am sort of embodying that “person” right now.

look at me, spouting my opinion with my screen and keyboard.

But I recognize it. And embrace it. And challenge others to talk to me about it.

I work with people I disagree with. I’m surrounded by the sin of this world, and that sin affects my own life as well! I’m pretty dang sinful. I can honestly look at my life and say that I have room for improvement, and I know God does not approve of many things I say, do, or even think (especially think). But that’s the thing, I’m a Christian. I see sin as sin. But the world doesn’t. Also, as a Christian I know full well that nothing I can do will make me right with God. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

So, to my friends who are all riled up about my words here, awesome; message me! To random readers who are in a blind rage in front of their computer screens, great; write me! But please, check your pithy one-liners and regurgitations of that “one guy” who had said that one awesome “thing.” Give me your thoughts. Back them up. Prepare yourself for discourse. Kind discourse. Because you must understand one thing about me, no matter how irritating I may find you, I will never hate you because we disagree. Never.

So, now I wait… Should be fun , right? 🙂