Summary: It is not so much that we find or create our identity but that we receive it... from God.
Title: Finding Your Identity
Text: Colossians 2:6-7
Thesis: It is not so much that we find or create our identity but that we receive it… from God.
Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France has proposed a decree that would ban anyone from wearing religious symbols of any kind. The decree is aimed particularly at forbidding Muslim women from wearing their traditional burqa with a full-faced veil. However the decree is broad enough that it would ban any religious symbol.
President Sarkozy’s contention is that the French people are being divided by a myriad of diverse religious expressions and therefore can no longer focus on their common identity as the people of France. Homiletics Magazine puts it, “The emphasis should be on being French first, secular second and religious a distant third, at best (but probably not at all).” The idea is that the powers that be in France want the people of France to rally around the flag… the nation being the unifying factor rather than the divisiveness of individual religious preferences. (Homiletics, July 2010, P. 31)
In the July 26, 2010 issue of Time magazine I read that there are an estimated 5 million Muslims living in France and of those 5 million, 2,000 wear the full-face Islamic burqa veil. In a country of 65, 447,324 people, 2,000 does not seem to be very many. However, on July 13 the National Assembly passed a draft law declaring that “no one can, in the public space, wear clothing intended to hide the face.” (Bobby Ghosh, The Moment, Time Magazine, July 26, 2010, p. 11)
The French are wondering what it means to be French.
The bible acknowledges the reality of the existence of our many and varied identities. The inference is that our varied identities can serve to define us and even divide us. So God’s answer to our dissimilarities is to focus on our single similarity… our identity in Christ.
Paul wrote, “You are all Children of God through faith in Christ Jesus… there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28
Similarly in Colossians he wrote, “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is in all.” Colossians 3:11
Race and ethnicity can be divisive. Socio-economic status can be divisive. Gender can be divisive. Politics can be divisive. Nationalism can be divisive. Religion can be divisive. If, as a Christians, our respective identities are rooted in race or in socio-economic status or in gender or in political affiliation or love for country or religious practice… we are people at odds with each other. God’s will is that despite the many things that distinguish us and can potentially divide us, we all find our identity in Christ.
Our text today begins with these words: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him…”
That means that we all live our lives conscious or aware of the presence of Christ in our lives. All our distinctive take a lesser role. Our lives are not defined by our wealth or poverty, our maleness or our femaleness, our race or our ethnicity and so on. We are in Christ and Christ is in us and it is our identity in Christ that defines who we are and how we think and what we do.
That’s why it is important that we find our identity in Christ who is all and is in all. That is why we are urged to continue to live in Christ by being rooted in Christ.
I. Rooted in Christ
As you have received Christ as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted… in him. Colossians 2:6-7
The first picture we have is that of a tree that is rooted deeply in the soil. Just as a tree draws its nourishment from the soil, so we draw our nourishment and strength from Christ.
We generally think of ourselves as being rooted in a place.
Remember the man named Jed, who barely kept his family fed. And then one day he out hunting for some food and up from the ground came a bubbling crude… oil that is. So ole Jed became a millionaire. He loaded up his old truck with all his earthly possessions, Granny, his daughter Ellie Mae and his nephew Jethrow and they moved to Beverly Hills, CA. Despite their posh new community and their beautiful new home and the cement pond their Tennessee roots continued to affect every aspect of their lives… the way they treated people, the kind of food they ate, their attitude toward money and possessions. Jed was firmly rooted in the hills of Tennessee and those roots gave him stability in the Hills of Beverly.