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

New Year

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Grace and Peace to you this year and welcome to 2015!

From Paul, an apostle who is not sent from human authority or commissioned through human agency, but sent through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead; and from all the brothers and sisters with me. To the churches in Galatia. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave himself for our sins, so he could deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. To God be the glory forever and always! Amen. (‭Galatians‬ ‭1‬:‭1-5‬ CEB)

The promise of a new year is a great reminder of the fresh mercies and new beginnings our God gives us constantly. We have new chances to walk and live in the freedom Christ gives.

The power of the Holy Spirit lives inside you and me and we are sent by the Holy Spirit into the world to show and remind people of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

So as New Year Resolutions are being made now we should remember the plea of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians: to live into the calling God has given us, to remember what Christ has done for us, to be true representatives of grace and peace and allow our lives to reflect this, to give God glory in all we do forever and ever Amen.

It’s going to be easy to slip back into our normal and usual routines and forget what God has done and what we resolved to do this year. But God continually asks and commands us to be different and reflect His love and glory.

My prayer for each of us is to remember that we are called and sent out by God. You are commissioned to go into the world to spread the news Christ is alive! We have the promise of Christ in Matthew 28 that He will be with us even to the end of the age; and in Acts 1 that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.

Imagine what will be unleashed this year when we know our calling, trust in Jesus Christ and give God glory in all we do.

Live in Christ’s freedom this year! Love God and love people. Amen