Identity

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Galatians 2:19-21 19 I died to the Law through the Law, so that I could live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I don’t ignore the grace of God, because if we become righteous through the Law, then Christ died for no purpose.

We often go through life, through our day, it seems we get more preoccupied with what we are able to accomplish than our reason for doing what we do. Our to-do lists fill out day with stuff to do that we can easily forget who we are. We can also be so adamant about following rules that we forget to be in relationship with other people. This means that we identify ourselves with what we are able to accomplish rather than who we really are.

If I were to ask you who you are, how would you answer? Would your first response be to say what you do for a living? If you are a Christian would you say you are a Christian ____(profession)  ? The challenge everyday is to remember not only the reason we do what we do, but who we really are. Our real identity is not in what we do. Our identity is found in Jesus Christ.

We can also begin to remember our past and what we have done. Then we may say that I am a “thief, liar, cheater, loser, hypocrite, uneducated, etc.” These are not who we are. If we identify with how we used to live, then we can keep ourselves down and allow our past to control and define us rather than the One who lives in us.

Now we get to today’s text. This has been an important passage (more specifically Galatians 2:20) in my life and reminding me who I am and who/what I live for.

Paul is teaching that he died to the Law. What does this mean? The Law (found in the first five books of the Bible) is basically a “check-off list” (to put it into today’s terms) that people followed so they can prove and show they want to be forgiven or have God bless and not curse them. Living with an attitude to try and make God do things because we do certain things can create a superstitious thinking. We can also become “slaves” to the Law and allow our actions to be so routine that we can forget the real meaning behind them.

Though Paul remained Jewish, he did not let the Law define how he would connect to God. We shouldn’t either. He then says that he has been “crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” He knew that he was being transformed into the image of Christ more and more each day. It was made clear that Christ’s dreams were Paul’s dreams. Christ’s thoughts were Paul’s thoughts. Christ’s motivations were Paul’s motivations. So did Paul lose his individual identity? Absolutely not! He became more and more human as God intended from the beginning. Now Paul is free from the Law and is free to live as Christ did (and does in us when we allow him in).

Living with this kind of faith can help us love people more, reach out to those hurting or in need (physical and spiritual need), telling people about the Kingdom of God around us. This is incredible freedom because we are not bound to what people think about us and we do not let material items or “check-off” lists define us.

You can have this incredible gift of freedom too! As we continue in the book of Galatians we will continue to unpack the idea of freedom in Christ.

Tomorrow we begin Galatians 3.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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