Sometimes they’re labels other people put on us. Labels like “friend” or “classmate” or “co-worker.” But there are also labels like “jerk” or “ugly” or “enemy.”
And do you know what? We put labels on ourselves as well. Some are good. But some are bad. For some strange, twisted reason, we sometimes believe the worst about ourselves because we know our own failings the best.
That’s why we need to continually remind ourselves about the victorious label that matters most, and which reminds all the other labels to get in the back seat.
For those of us who follow Christ, our primary label and identity is in Christ. We are Christ-ians. Listen to what Paul says in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
That’s the label and identity that matters most. Christian. It means “of Christ.” It’s closely related to “child of God,” “disciple,” and “son/daughter of the King.”
That’s what ultimately defines you. Nothing else.
I have a way of reminding myself about this wonderful fact. Sometimes at home, when I need the reminder, I find a tap, turn on the water, and splash myself in the face three times while saying, “I am baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Maybe that sounds weird. But I’m okay with weird. And no, I’m NOT re-baptizing myself! I’m simply reminding myself about who I am and whose I am.
If you’re a baptized follower of Jesus, why not do the same? In this negative and crazy world, we all need the reminder. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
We are defined by Christ—not the labels others put on you, and not even the labels you put on yourself. We are his. And there’s nothing that anyone can say or do that can alter that life-giving and liberating fact.
By Matthew Ruttan