Have you ever been so dedicated to something it became your identity? Sarah has said before that she feels like she’s “Jeff’s wife” or “Jakob’s mom,” because her identity is so wrapped up in those roles, and although she’s really great at both of those roles, it’s not the whole of who she is. Sometimes someone’s career becomes who they are to people. Some may become that by choice (like a doctor who insists you call him doctor even if he’s not your doctor) and some are pigeon holed by others. I’ve felt like to some people, I’m a pastor more so than being Jeff. These people tend to be the most surprised by things that I do, because they see me as a pastor. They have a preconceived notion of what that should mean, and I don’t always fit the mold. But I am grateful to be a pastor, and I don’t mind it being how people see me, so long as they see me that way due to my actions, not my title. Having this job doesn’t make me much of a pastor; I still need to be a pastor, doing pastoral things.
Another part of my identity is that I am a Christian. I want being a Christian at the forefront of my identity. Now, I can do nothing further about being a child of God. That matter of identity was wrapped up when I placed my faith in Jesus Christ. John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God”. So being a child of God is taken care of through the work of Jesus Christ and my faith in Him. It rests on His saving work and power. What rests on me is whether I choose to live out a Christian life or not. People will not identify me as a Christian simply because I placed my faith in Jesus a long time ago. Unless I live out what it means to be a Christian, they will have no idea. If I lived out my faith years ago but have sat still for several years, they will not know. I need to keep on keeping on in my faith. I need to press forward.
Philippians 3:12-14 says, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
We need the dedication Paul had in our faith. We need to never be content with what we have already done, but be motivated and dedicated to moving forward and making greater strides for Christ. He didn’t call any of us to sit and reminisce about what we’ve done. He’s called us all to a race, and we should run. When we run towards Christ and the things that He wants of us, people will know we are Christians. It will become an intrinsic part of our identity.