[subversive underground] IDENTITY by Keith Giles
I've been thinking a lot the last few weeks about image and identity, as my previous underground article suggests.
You know how you can never tell anyone who you really are? You can tell them what you do for a living, or what your faith is like, or whether or not you're married or single, or a parent or a servant, but you can't tell them who you are, only what your function or affiliation is with something or someone else.
To some people I am a writer. To others I am a pastor. To some people I am a singer, or a teacher, or a comedian or a father, or a brother, or a husband. But, is that who I am? Am I just a father? Or am I a pastor? A writer? A singer? A husband?
Yes, I am all of those things, and yet I am none of those things.
If I ceased to be a pastor would I still be me? Yes. If I ceased to write, would I still be Keith Giles? Of course I would. In fact, if I stopped doing all those things I normally do I would still be who I am.
So...who am I?
Simply put, I am who God says I am.
My identity is found in Christ. Yet, honestly, discovering what that means is still a challenge for me.
What does it mean to be identified with Jesus? How do I think of myself as someone who is "In Jesus"?
The first letter of John provides some insight into this concept;
"We know that we have come to know Jesus if we obey his commands. The person who says, 'I know Jesus,' and yet does not do what Jesus commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys the words of Jesus, God's love is truly made perfect in that person. This is how we know that we are in Jesus: Whoever claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus did."
-(1 John 2:3-6)
Jesus had an expectation that those who would follow him (disciples) would obey him. The scriptures are full of blatant statements out of the mouth of our Lord about how he expects obedience from his followers.
(For reference check out Jesus in John 14:15-23 and Luke 6:46-49)
A.W. Tozer, one of my heroes in the faith, says, "Salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the scriptures".
So...what does this have to do with my identity? How does this help me to discover who I am?
I think the answer is that, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)
If I have truly died to myself, if I have become a disciple of Jesus (as Jesus expected), then I have a new identity in Christ. I am only who I am when I am found in him.
Todd Hunter (another of my heroes) has a great quote about how "..not having an ongoing reality of God's Kingdom isn't sub-Christian, it's sub-Human" because we are all made by our Creator to live in relationship to Him. To do any less is to fall short of what we were made for.
As I struggle to discover who I am, what I'm made for, where I fit in, etc., I have to orient my mind towards the reality that I need Jesus and I need to "seek first the Kingdom of God" (Matt 6), and everything else will take care of itself.
NEW ARTICLE ALERT: My article "Jesus Is A Verb" is online now at "Next-Wave Magazine" here:
ANOTHER NEW ARTICLE: My article: "Poverty Light" is now published online at Ginkworld.net:
NEW PODCAST SERMON: "CONVERSATIO MOREM!" by Keith Giles. Download issues are now fixed. Sorry for the technical difficulties...but all is working now!
FREE ONLINE DOWNLOAD:
ONE WEEK LEFT!
MOMENTUM 06 - Friday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 24th at St. James Church, Newport Beach, CA
Don't miss this incredible two-day conference on the emerging church, worship, justice, the arts and missional life.
With: Mike Pilavachi, Todd Hunter, Brenton Brown, David Ruis, and several others.
*I'll also be leading a couple of workshops, one on Compassion Ministry with the amazing Crissy Brooks (MIKA), and one on Missional Gospel "The Gospel: For Here Or To Go?".
Student Rates and Couples Rates just added. Go online to learn more: