Faith Focus: Advent | Christ defines us

"Jesus replied, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.'" -Matthew 16:17-18 (NIV)

In this season of Advent, it behooves us to ask: What or who defines us? Are you defined by your past, your circumstances, or what people say about you?

You are not defined by your circumstance; you are defined by God's covenant. You are not defined by your failures; you are defined by his forgiveness. You are not even defined by what you do for God; you are defined by what God already did for you.

Christ defines you. You are defined by the Father, the Son and by the Holy Spirit. We must respond with clarity, conviction and courage to the following:

We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
We are people of the word (1 Kings 8:56).
We are disciples, witnesses and Christ followers (Matthew 28:16-20).
We are prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11).
We are children of the cross (Romans 8:17).
We are redeemed of the Lord (Psalm 107:2).
We are forgiven and free (Luke 23-24).
We are called and chosen (1 Peter 2:9).

We are the church of Jesus Christ, and the gates of hell shall not, cannot and will not prevail against us! Why? Because Christ defines us.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He also serves as senior pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, Calif., where he resides with his wife of 24 years, Eva, and their three children.

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