If you were to ask yourself the question, “Who Am I?” what would you answer?
I would be tempted to answer as follows: I am a Japanese American man from the Ishida clan; I am a husband, father and grandfather; I am a pastor and part-time coach. I suppose there are other things I could say, but I would be satisfied with the answer as being thorough enough.
The only problem with my response is that it wouldn’t be correct. Everything I shared would describe me, but not define me.
Back in the 1980’s, after returning from a missionary trip to Japan, I realized that I wasn’t really Japanese or really American. I came to the refreshing conclusion that my primary identity was in Jesus and all else was secondary. Everything else described me, but knowing Jesus defined me. I am first and foremost, a follower of Christ.
Paul described it this way.
“If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” Philippians 3:4-7
Paul’s description of himself was as good as there was in his day. But he counted it as loss for the sake of knowing Jesus. This was his way of saying that knowing Jesus defined him while everything else described him.
Paul probably summed it up the best in Galatians 2:20 when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”
This would be the cry of my heart that it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
Will you join me in this exclamation?
Something to think about…