From: David Kabanje
Date: May 3
Subject: GMU: Faith Builds Your Identity

Beautiful People

One of the unique characteristics of Christianity is its approach to identity. In Christianity, behavior reflects identity—an identity rooted in faith. My faith directs my behavior, and my behavior points back to my faith. What my faith points back to is not a thing or a set of principles; it’s a person—Jesus Christ. For me to identify as a Christian, I need to resemble the genuine characteristics of Christ. My attitudes, thoughts, and behavior ought to be aligned with Scripture’s depiction of the real Jesus Christ. Too often, we create our version of Jesus that helps us feel better. These false Christs dilute the Gospel and our identities.

The secular worldview has either denounced the existence of God or allocated godhood to the individual. Both extremes have influenced the church and how we view Christ and, in turn, how we view our identities. On the one hand, we have compartmentalized Christ as a divine assistance, and, on the other hand, we romanticize Christianity as a simple lifestyle. Both spectrums are dangerous because they are powerless to change our identities and grow our faith. A compartmentalized Christian lifestyle is void of the power of God. I told my high school students that if they ever wanted to know themselves, they first had to know God. God wants us to live in Christ and have a holy identity that saturates our behavior. Our faith in the real Jesus brings us to life.

When we read Scripture and come to passages that denote how Christ lived (in love and obedience to the Father), we put ourselves into that description and live it out by faith. What is said about Christ’s character is now true about you. That is why we can live out the following verse: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Our faith in Christ’s faithfulness and character has provided a way to follow God’s example in sacrificial love. The being comes before the doing. I am a loved child, so I love. Because of Christ, we no longer have to define ourselves by our merit; we define ourselves through our faith in Christ. I am what I am because of who Jesus is. With that new perspective, we can joyfully jump into Scripture to find out who Christ is and, in turn, discover who we are in Him.