Adjective or Noun?

We live in a world that is heavily focused on identity. If you don’t think that’s true, just leave your wallet or social security number laying around and see what happens. In 2019 alone, there were 1,473 data breaches by companies in the United States, resulting in 164.6 million sensitive records exposed. Trust me, identity is crucial.

But identity is much more than a social security number, it’s spiritual as well. Knowing and understanding who we identify with is pivotal to how you and I live our lives. If you don’t know who you’re identified with or you’re identified with the wrong thing, you’ll build your life and make decisions around something or someone that is not central to who you are as a person.

When it comes to our faith, unfortunately many Christians treat their faith as an adjective. In other words, being a Christian is simply a description of something that they’re identified with. For example, if they identify mainly as an Asian person, then being Asian is their primary identity (noun), and their Christianity describes the type of Asian they are (adjective)…so they’re an Asian person who happens to be Christian.

But in reality, that’s not God’s plan concerning our identity. God has specifically designed that our identity in Him is chief…it’s the noun and not the adjective. So, I’m not an Asian who happens to be Christian, but rather a Christian who happens to be Asian…there’s a huge difference.

The reason we immediately identify with our ethnicity is because identity is associated with birth…whatever we’re born is what we identify with. But when we become Christians we’re born again; we’ve died to the old life and now have a new life in Christ. So, this new birth gives us a new identity that is found in Christ. It’s not our only identity, but it is our new primary one that surpasses all other identities.

Knowing and understanding this is pivotal if we’re going to function in this world the way that God desires for us. The only way we can be the ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light of the world’ as mentioned in Matthew 5 is if we totally embrace our new identity in Christ. When there’s a change in our identity, our spiritual position changes, which should result in a change in our perspective.

Now, you may not think that to be so important, but I beg to differ. Just imagine how much different our world would look if all Christians embrace their faith as a noun and not an adjective. We’d talk differently, act differently, make decisions differently, vote differently, raise our children differently, etc., etc., etc. And it would all be to the glory of God!

Allow me to slip in one other point concerning identity…if we all lived according to God’s design with Him as our primary identity, there wouldn’t be wars between ethnicities. WHY? Because we’d all recognize that there’s something or someone greater than us, and that would be to identify with Christ.

Can I challenge you with something today? Make a decision today to embrace your faith as a noun and not an adjective. Conclude that all of your ‘identities’ take a back-seat to the fact that you’ve been born again, and you have a new identity in Christ. That doesn’t mean that your other identities no longer matter, just that you’re putting them in their proper perspective. And watch transformation happen in your life and those around you.

As always, be healthy, stay safe, and be blessed!

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