I have been thinking much lately about what it is that defines me. Is it my career that shapes who I am? Or perhaps the fact that I am married? Maybe it is my age, considering as I grow older I should begin to think and act differently. Perhaps it is my income bracket, or the desires that I experience, these should define and determine who I am. Right? What if it is the mistakes I have made, or maybe the ones I will make?
Honestly, as a Christian it is none of these things that should define who I am. The moment I surrendered to the Lordship and Will of Jesus, He alone became that which defines who I am. The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Christ lives in me, I now have a distinct purpose in life and it is no longer of myself, but in Him.
The context where this verse is found is that Paul is relating to Peter and a few others that once you enter into relationship with Jesus through confession and repentance, surrendering to the authority of Christ, you do so by faith in Him, and it is then that you are no longer under the law, but in Christ. It is no longer the keeping of the law that defines who I am.
This is great news as I have not been able to keep the law anyway. No one has,
Romans 3:10-11 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
So, having sinned and come short of all that God requires and yet now being crucified with Christ, thus being dead- dead to the old life, dead to the law, I am now risen with Christ. I live! Yet really it is Christ that lives in me- directing, guiding and shaping who I am. It is no longer my past or my mistakes that define me, but my life in Christ. I no longer have to allow mistakes from my past, my failures, to dictate who I am. Once I admitted that I indeed was a failure, having sinned continually against God, and repenting, I died to all of that and rose in Christ- I raised up in true freedom.
I know there are many arguments that have been made dealing with the various concepts of the Law and its place in the life of a Christian (and I really don’t want to go there) but, I am not advocating a freedom to sin once under the grace of Christ, not at all. In fact, I would consider anyone who would argue for more liberty to continue in sinful behavior suspect, for why would you desire to do so? Why would you want to continue under bondage of failure once you have been made free from it? If you profess to have been crucified with Christ and subsequently risen to new life in Him how can you still desire your old life before Him?
Romans 6:4-6 “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
This is truly amazing to consider, I am free from all that would bind me through a life lived in Jesus. I can now walk in newness of life. It is easy then to consider that not only am I not defined by my past, but my present does not define me either. Once I asked Jesus to reign in my life as my Redeemer, Saviour and King then I entered into a position where I am totally defined by Him and His working in me. We are told in Hebrews 12 that it is Christ who is the “author and finisher of our faith”– the beginner and the finisher of it.
Philippians 1:6 declares, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” It is now a working of God in my life that defines who I am.
Notice also, John 1:12-13 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Born of God.
And Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
When considering these things I begin to realize that it really isn’t any of the things I mentioned in the first paragraph that define who I am. They are and can be important to me, certainly, but I am not shaped by them, it is my position in Christ that determines who and what I am. I now realize that apart from a life of Christ in me I could never be a good husband. Without the continual influence of His abiding Spirit, I would not be able to function as a good employee. Without the Word of God living in me I would not grow and mature in wisdom nor understanding, neither of these things come only as a by-product of age, just look around and see how truly wise and understanding most older people are now-a-days.
After much thought on the subject I have come to realize that it must be Christ alone that influences my decisions, my desires, my goals in life. After I committed to Him two events became paramount in my existence- His death and resurrection, and His soon returning with judgment. That is what defines me, this is what determines what I do, where I go, and who I am.
What defines you?