Identity

 

Identity is something many people struggle with. For some they have no idea where they have come from or what has shaped their life. I have been blessed to never have this struggle. Both of my grandfathers were highly interested in genealogy. My Grandpa McCarty was the one who was much more vocal in telling his grand kids about who we are and where we came from. This knowledge has shaped a lot of who I am and how I view the world. My family came to the United States before the Revolutionary War, we fought on both sides of the Civil War we took part in the westward expansion of this country. We are also Native American and walked the Trail of Tears to end up in Oklahoma. All of these things have contributed to my view of myself for many years. I am part Native American; I am descended from the Irish High Kings these things have told me that I have the DNA of people who have been conquerors or who have overcome enormous obstacles to their survival. It was so important to my Grandpa McCarty that he included this reminder for his whole family in his funeral last November. I am grateful for this knowledge but there is another part of my identity that supersedes all of this and I believe my grandpa would agree given his career as a pastor. I am a Christian.

As a Christian there is no other identity that should define that. If I am a Christian than my American identity comes under that. I am not to live as a Christian who is defined by being an American. I am not a better Christian because I am an American, in fact being an American comes with its own challenges to following the way of Christ.  I am not to be identified by the label of Democrat or Republican. Despite what some faith leaders may say right now the way of Christ does not fall in line with either of these political parties and we should not be more inclined to follow a political ideology than our Lord and Savior. This extends into denominational lines as well. I am a member of a Southern Baptist church but if the SBC does something I believe the Bible disagrees with I believe that I should follow the Bible. This isn’t always easy, sometimes I like the safety of being in a more conservative tradition so it can be hard to accept what the Bible says. On the other side of things it can sometimes be lonely standing against one of the biggest denominations out there from the inside. I would argue that is true no matter what group you belong to religious or secular.

So then if these things should not overshadow our identity as a Christian what does our identity look like? This will be different for everyone but there are two things I think every man should know about his identity if he is in Christ. First, you are a son of the Most High God and brother of Christ. You are no longer a slave to sin. Christ’s sacrifice has freed us from this bondage by relying on their strength you can overcome the sin that tries to drag you down. Second, you have brothers and sisters that don’t look like you, understand your culture or speak the same language as you. Despite these seemingly major differences we have more in common ultimately with these brothers and sisters than with the unbeliever that works in the same building you do or lives on your street.

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