June 2023 Column
Identity in Christ
Who am I?
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
Truthfully, the expanse of the identity we’ve been given in Christ could fill much more than a few paragraphs, but I love this definition of identity found in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, and how stepping through each portion gives us a new element of answering the question: who am I?
First, we are made to praise! Now that we know the reason for the hope we have, we are overflowing with gratitude. This doesn’t look like always being cheerful, happy, or faking enthusiasm; this looks like meeting the day and its challenges with an awareness of the goodness and love of God. And even when we are met with those challenges, we are told we will be victorious! It’s important to note that we are promised THE victory, and not every victory. We will still have struggles and trials, we will still have hurt and doubt, but ultimate victory–leaving the pain of this sin-soaked world behind to be with our Creator and Redeemer– is assured.
Further, from these verses, we learn that we have a family! Other versions include the adjective of ‘beloved’, but not only are we treasured by our Heavenly Father, we are given an earthly community with His Church. While it would be nice if that meant one community, one specific congregation, life changes set us on a path to other places. Our purpose doesn’t fade when we switch jobs, move apartments, get married or start a family, get promoted or go back to school. The work of the Lord is ahead of us, and we can give ourselves to it. We are the hands and feet of the body, but Jesus is the head–the work we do needs to be in accordance with His will.
This passage counsels steadfastness, too. We have this calling to be immovable, and we do not conjure this strength from nothing, but instead are made strong in the Lord. The psalmist says that the one who meditates on the law of the Lord is made to be like a tree by moving waters–when we study, internalize, and live out the Word of God, we are strengthened. He hasn’t given us an impossible task, but one that He will equip us for. And even when it doesn’t feel like it, we will be fruitful, because that is also His promise.
Questions for Discussion
Ministry is hard, tiring work. But praise God, that He knows we will be exhausted, but He will still work! What a beautiful promise that the identity we have in Christ, the self and talents that we have surrendered to Him, WILL be used for the furthering of His kingdom.