Finding Our Identity in Jesus

You are what you love.

Foundations for a Christian Worldview: Begin Here (3)

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5.17-19

Who are you?
Our age is in the throes of an identity crisis. People are desperately trying to find out who they are and what they want to be; they are looking for some group or movement with which they can establish an agreeable identity, and they’re doing whatever it takes to maximize that identity, whether through outrageous self-expression, political activism, or group events of various kinds.

Everybody is desperately seeking an identity.

Nutritionists tell us, “You are what you eat.” Given the junk food that features large in the diets of many of us, that shouldn’t encourage us.

Clothiers and fashion moguls counter, “You are what you wear,” as if fashion could somehow make us more authentic. Or respectable. Or admired.

Automobile dealers want us to think, “You are what you drive.” Strap on one of these beauties, friend, and hit the road with smiles.

Others simply insist, “You are what you feel,” and what you feel is free to change as often or in as many ways as you like.

God knows we need a sound identity. He says, “You are what you love.” Jesus said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. And when we keep the commandments of Jesus, we become like Him. 

God has rooted our identity as followers of Christ, and the Christian worldview which grows out of that identity, squarely and firmly in the books of Moses, the Law of God.

Jesus, worldview, and the Law
We must not separate Jesus from the Christian worldview. Christian worldview is not about changing culture or resisting social ills or fighting for Biblical morality. The devil is happy for us to speak widely and launch all kinds of initiatives in these arenas; he’ll even help us gain many admiring followers, and allow some of our efforts to “succeed.”

As long as Jesus remains in the background. The devil failed three times to dethrone Jesus in the wilderness, but that doesn’t mean he’s given up. He’s just looking for unwary dupes to carry out his scheme.

Many Christian worldview advocates today – pastors, pop theologians, bloggers, and others – are like Colonel Nicholson in the film, The Bridge on the River Kwai. Like Nicholson, they’re determined to silence, and if possible, embarrass the enemy by building a “proper bridge”, setting aside the higher duty of resistance and loyalty to country, just to score points against their oppressors. The bridges of today’s worldview mavens take the form of clever commentaries on this issue or event; high-profile auguring for that judge or candidate, or outrage over some moral setback; expensive training programs that make a lot of noise but generally lead nowhere; and rallies and road trips to support this or that law – in the process of which, there is a good bit of dressing down their opponents and looking for all the world like leaders.

Their arguments, photo ops, and staged events look solid and sound impressive to their followers. But if they have left off the larger cause of seeing Jesus, knowing Jesus, loving Jesus, and filling the world with Jesus, they may look and sound impressive, but they are merely building bridges for the enemy to use in his campaign against the throne of Christ.

We need all those bridges and more, but we need to make sure that all the bridges we build derive from, lead to, and transport Jesus to the world.

We must not separate Jesus from Christian worldview. Nor should we separate Jesus from the Law of God, or loving Jesus from obeying the Law. It’s a mistake to think this way, one that is sure to short-circuit our efforts to learn and live a Christian worldview, and to establish our identity as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. If we love Jesus, if we identify with Jesus as Christians, if we hope to become like Him and to live a true and world-changing Christian worldview, then we must fulfill the Law and the Prophets in our own lives.

Strength beyond our strength
We do not rely on our own strength in this effort to articulate and live a Christian worldview. We cannot become like Jesus merely by wanting to, or giving it our best shot. God has given us His Spirit for the express purpose of teaching us His commandments, thereby showing us His glory, and thus transforming us into the very image of Jesus His Son, and so empowering us to live the Good Life (Ezek. 36.26, 27; 2 Cor. 3.12-18; Phil. 2.12, 13; Eph. 3.20; Acts 1.8). The Spirit of God works with the Word of God, as we see in the first verses of Scripture and the Law (Gen. 1.1-3). We tap into the strength of the Spirit for Christian worldview when, beginning with the Law of God, we work to establish our identity as new creations in Jesus Christ.

We should expect that, as we grow in understanding and living the Christian worldview, our lives will look less like what we’ve always known and more like what we’re learning to love: Jesus. And since Jesus spoke so highly of the Law of God, commending it as a means to greatness in His Kingdom, we need to make sure our attitude toward, devotion to, and daily diet includes a healthy and regular serving of the books of Moses (cf. Ps. 1). 

In this initial study in our series on Christian worldview, we’ll be focusing on the Law of God – like Jesus Himself did. As we do, we expect the worldview of God’s Law to establish a template for all thinking about Christian worldview, and our identity within that worldview to take clearer and more consistent shape toward the likeness of Him from Whom, through Whom, and to Whom are all things, and to Whom belongs all glory forever (Rom. 11.36).

For reflection
1. Do you agree that people today are in the throes of an identity crisis? Explain. Why is this an excellent time for getting more clarity on our Christian worldview?

2. Jesus was very clear on how He regarded the Law (Matt. 5.17-29; 22.34-40). Why are we today not as clear?

3. Meditate on Psalm 1. How can you bring more “day and night” feeding on God’s Law into your life? Why should you?

Next steps – Transformation: What can you do to add more reading and meditation in God’s Law to your spiritual disciplines? Find one thing you will begin to do daily, then share that with a friend.

The Christian worldview focuses on Jesus. Do you know Him? Our book, 
To Know Him, can help you answer that question confidently, and equip you to tell others about Jesus as well. Order your copy by clicking here.

At The Ailbe Seminary, all our courses are designed to help you grow in your Christian worldview. Watch this brief video (click here) to get an overview of our curriculum, and to see again the place of Jesus in the Christian worldview.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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