If you’re like me you’ve been called by a lot of names and titles in your lifetime. At various times I’ve been introduced as; dad, husband, son, grandpa, brother, coach, boss, friend, teacher, employee and a lot of other titles. There was a time when I felt these words defined who I was but I’ve come to realize that none of these actually define me, they merely describe me in relationship to the person I’m with. I’m more than that; we all are more than that.
I’ve been working on a series of writings about understanding our lives by looking at the life of Peter. As this week’s Elder’s Reflection I would like to share this shortened version of appreciating our identities through understanding Peter’s.
Peter would have had a list like ours; husband, son, brother, fisherman, friend, businessman and others. Possibly, like me, for a time these definitions of his identity would be enough but that would change. He would have an identity transformation,
This transformation begins with Peter following Jesus, (John chapter 1). By chapter 6, when Jesus asked the twelve if they were leaving Him because of a difficult teaching Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter continues to grow in his faith and understanding of who Jesus is to the point that when asked by Jesus who he believed Jesus to be, he responded in Matthew 16, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
While this last paragraph is poorly lacking as it gives no depth to all that Peter experienced while going through this transformation, it does get us to the main point. Peter went from being a man whose identity was defined by others to a man whose identity was defined by his relationship with Christ. The same should be true for you and I. Rather than those other relationships defining us our relationship with Christ should define those relationships.
Therefore, I am not a father who is a Christian; I am a Christian who is a father. I am not an American who is a Christian; I am a Christian who is an American. The same is true in all my relationships, Christ should be foremost and an integral part of each relationship.
Maybe this would be a better way to explain this; if asked to make a list of my most significant relationships my list might look like this, yours could be similar…
1. Follower of Christ
2. My family
3. Church family
4, Being an Elder
5. Being an American
6. Other friendships
7. People I have worked with
8. Those who oppose my viewpoint and might even be considered enemies
While being a follower of Christ is certainly the most important relationship on this list we need to remember that being a follower of Christ is also a part of every other relationship on this list too, even number 8.
We are not defined by how others perceive us but by how God loves us,
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Gods special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light,” 1st Peter 2:9
In this world people are constantly trying to divide us and sort us into categories that work for them; black or white, Republican or Democrat, young or old, short, tall, rich poor, the list goes on and on.
Let’s make sure that as the world see us that the most obvious group to sort us into is as Followers Of Christ.
Praying for you all,
May God bless each of you as you live out your lives in such a way that there can be no doubt what your number one relationship is.
Blessings, Craig Steele