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Posts Tagged ‘#identity’

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There is much hesitancy in our world today to identify as … anything.

Gender is, obviously, much discussed, but it is not the only issue with great debate.

Interestingly, there are many people who go to church, attend youth or small groups, pray, participate in communion and practise many other activities related to Christianity … yet they struggle to identify as a Christian or Christ-follower.

The most common reasons I have heard for this lack of ability or willingness (or is it a lack of faith?) to identify as a Christian is:

  • they do not yet ‘have it all together’
  • they so not want to identify as a Christian because there are so many ways that Christians have messed up

In the early days of Christendom, identifying with Christ was very public.

Baptism was the initial identifier of those (Jews) who were identifying as followers of Jesus, their Messiah. It was John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) who was inviting them to confess their sins, then come to the Jordan River, where they would be symbolically, publicly cleansed or redeemed of their sins.

The Jewish people could relate somewhat to this practise, as the Jewish custom of Tvilah was common. In this ancient practise, people of the Jewish faith went to be cleansed, purified, restored after having encountered something or someone (ie. a corpse) unclean, according to Levitical law.

The baptism that John was inviting the Jews, the early Christians, to was a once-for-all cleansing. It was symbolic of the forgiveness and redemption that Jesus had come to offer …

Forgiveness and redemption for our sins
yesterday, today and tomorrow.

John the Baptist did not invite people who were already purified to participate in the baptism that he was performing, but those who were dirty and who desired to be clean … those who acknowledged their sin-dirty condition, and who were choosing to be identified with the only one who could make them clean for all eternity.

For those waiting to identify with Christ until they ‘have it all together, the identifying comes before the purification … and the having it all together is a goal, not a destination.

For those not wanting to identify with Christ, because of the many Christians who have, are and will mess up … see above. They are not perfect, as you and I are not perfect “not a single person on earth is always good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

Paul said,
“John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.
He told the people
to believe in the one coming after him,
that is, in Jesus.”
Acts 19:4

 

 

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We’ve seen it all, heard it all, done it all …

and yet do we know who we are?

We encourage fitness, education, therapies, plastic surgeries, diagnosis, knowledge, training and self improvement …

yet, do we know who we are?

We read the books, all the books …

yet, do we know who we are?

We have voices everywhere telling us (or ours is telling others) who we, who they, are.

We see magazines, and talk shows telling us that outward change will change their, change our, lives for the better.

We are told to do, to say, to learn, to change, to become who we really are, who we have always been meant to be …

yet, do we know who we are?

If I listen to my heart …

I will think only of me

If I listen to my body …

I will think only of me

If I listen to my mind …

I will think only of me

So often we try to make changes to our body, to how we live, or we venture into studies and programs, or we sit with a therapist, thinking that these outward changes will change our life, who we are. Though they may help for awhile, we need to recognize that who we are is not about what we feel, or think, or know.

Our diet is not who we are.

Our occupation is not who we are.

Our gender is not who we are.

Our education is not who we are.

Our race or culture is not who we are.

Our passion is not who we are.

Even our religion is not who we are.

In Jeremiah 1:5 we are told:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart …”

You, and I, were conceived in the plan of Christ before our heart, body and mind were created. Our soul was the planned work. We existed in the mind of the Creator, for we are His creation, we are reflections of the Creator.

I read a blog post, this past weekend, written by a woman, who has fought the Cancer fight for years. Her post was titled, “I am Ready to Die.” In it, she tells of how she still believes that she could be healed, but that she is ready to say farewell to this life.

The final line of her post is this:

“Isn’t saying I’m ready to die just meaning it is well with my soul?”

And, isn’t saying it is well with my soul, meaning I am okay?

Your heart is not you,
It is your reflection.
Your body is not you,

It is your container.
Your mind is not you,
it is the information center.
So, who is “you”?
Your soul is you,
and in it, you are uniquely you.
Carole Wheaton

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As I entered the class, I spied a young man who I knew I had to greet, by name. When I did, his entire face smiled, his mouth, his cheeks, his eyes. Every time I enter that class, or pass this student in the halls of the high school where I work, I make a point of greeting him, by name.

You see, I am horrible at remembering names. The first time I attempted greeting his young man, by name, I called him a similar, but wrong name. I apologized, and he said it was okay … but the look on his face was as if I had stabbed him in the gut.

That look on his face has forced me to greet him, by his (right) name, every time that I see him.

I needed to not fail this young man again … so I wrote his name on the palm of my hand. I knew where to look for a reminder, and no one was ever the wiser.

Each consecutive time I smile and greet him by name, his smile gets bigger, and bigger. Although in a few months my cheery greeting  may begin to annoy his teenage self, I know that when he hears me say his name, he knows that I have made the effort to know his name.

His name, on my lips, has become an expression of effort, and of interest in him.

Ever noted that name of a waiter, a cashier, or other service person? Ever received your receipt then smiled and wished that person a good day? by name? Most often my minuscule amount of effort is received in surprise, joyful, delighted. You can almost feel their joy as you walk away.

Our name is important. Our name is the only thing that, without tools or devices, can declare our identity.

Ever felt that your name, that you, were not valued? Ever felt that your identity was forgotten?

There is one who knows your name.

It is even written on the palm of His hand.

 

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