There’s comfort and a secure identity to be found in Jesus and nowhere else. A Jesus life is more than an individual companionship with the Son of Man as good as this is. A life that is Jesus is a life in the fellowship of the trinity. God is love not because this is a correct proposition. God is love because God is three and you are included. God is the family to whom you belong. Fulsome identity is always found in the fellowship of the trinity.
NOT A FROG
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. Realizing this we have a grounded identity. Putting our faith in lesser identities we become phantoms of ourselves. Membership in sects and cults results from a misguided search for identity. As a Believer in The Way your identity is in Christ alone. Never in add-ons that dilute Jesus and negate you. Some Believers find it difficult to realize the interwoveness with God that is theirs because their identity is interwoven and diluted in their religious identity. But as sincere as they may be they have chosen to seek significance in the identity of a frog rather than a prince. Why spend your entire life in an identity silo when you can live the truth in something as comprehensive as Jesus as your life?
WUZ WE ROBBED?
We need to test ourselves about the nature of our identity. How is it constructed? Is our identity formed in Jesus’ life? Or is our Jesus life a function of a peculiar ideology and its assumptions? An identity can be formed in purity. Or in dilution - a polite word for adultery. The antidote to contrived religious identity is surely ‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ Col 3.3 NIV. We have a life; we have a valid identity when we take what we thought was our identity to the cross.
False identities are inevitably degrading and ridiculous - like turning up at work with your pajamas on .. The Stealer of Identity degrades his victims and eats his prey. But the more we are submerged in Christ, the more we are revealed as our real selves. Christ our life is never the negation of the self. In Him we are revealed in the glory of who we are. It is the community of such saints that are the kings and priests of God.
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV. Jesus comes to undo all lies; to restore your real identity to you and yours as sons and daughters of God.
‘Who is our Christ?’ provides the answer to the question, ‘who are we?’ If we have one husband we are sons and daughters of God. Should we have other husbands we are more of an alphabet soup. Don’t persuade yourself that unswerving loyalty to a denomination is loyalty to Jesus. It’s not. It’s loyalty to you.
For the record, there’s no such thing as a Baptist Christian or an Anglican Christian. We are either a Christian or we are not. Either we adhere to Christ’s gospel and the apostles teaching or we don’t. Where God is concerned loyalty means loyalty to His Son Jesus. Not to Christianity or to a sect or a cult. Loyalty to God and the notion of ‘purity’ as stated in the beatitudes is linked to the notion of adultery for a reason. ‘Marriage’ is analogous to our relationship with Jesus. We have one husband or should have - if we wish to avoid blurred spiritual vision, ears that cannot hear and confused theology.
‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’ Matt 10.37 NIV.
Some of us have not experienced new life for many years. We have merely experienced the repetition of the same old life with variations. You can do better than try to manufacture a sense of self from a the ‘soup’ of a religious community. Even a fractional dilution of our relationship with Jesus creates a serious fissure in our being. It’s better to be solitary and one with the trinity than glued to membership of a community and defined as not worthy of Jesus. This is His saying - not mine. And said for a reason. The reason being that the riches of Christ come from our marriage to Christ and being part of His person. Union with Jesus brings wholeness, wellness of soul and brightness of spirit.
A BLESSED LONELINESS
Henri Nouwen speaks of the importance of experiencing a loneliness "That cannot be removed by any other sinful human being." For it is not to others that we should first of all turn; instead, we should create the necessary space to meet with God Himself. While we may fear this place of quietness and openness, it is the only road that will lead to new life. For from new insights come new motivations, which give us new strength, and this will only come when we are loved, sheltered, and affirmed, as well as corrected by the One who truly knows and loves us.”
Charles Ringma. Dare to Journey--with Henri Nouwen (Designed for Influence) (Kindle Locations 62-65). Kindle Edition.