When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be a professional baseball player. Whether it was watching the Texas Rangers or playing in various leagues throughout the year, I lived for baseball. Simply put, baseball had become a significant part of who I was, and I was trying to find satisfaction and significance based on what I could do on the baseball diamond.
This was a symptom of a deeper issue: My life was rooted in achievement. I found my identity in what I could earn.
As I look back on this season of my life, I draw many parallels to the life I lived and the life I am now striving to live as a devoted follower of Jesus. I still struggle from an identity crisis from time to time, wanting to achieve a status as a successful, likable or smart person. Sometimes I feel like I am stuck in a pattern of sin that defines who I am. However, now I can have confidence my identity is not rooted in those things.
Instead, my identity comes from my crucified Messiah. But what does that mean? How can I, as a broken sinner, have my identity tethered to the perfect and holy Christ? Well, my friends, that is what the good news of the Gospel is all about. The king of the universe, God, of all there ever has been, all there is, and all there ever will be, loved us enough to die for us. Because of this, when we put our faith in him, we have a new identity. We do not have to work for it. It cannot be earned.
I no longer have to be weighed down by my sin and my shame because my Lord went to the cross for that. When you put your faith in Jesus, what is true of Christ has become true of you.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
What a joy and relief this is for my soul! I no longer have to seek satisfaction from what I can earn in this world. I can live in the freedom of the Gospel because when I put my faith in Jesus, the starting point was actually the final destination. He has gone before me, called me out of the darkness, and given me a new name. My identity has been determined by my Messiah, and now, I can live my life rooted in him.
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7
Written by Kaiden Johnson, church engagement officer for Buckner International.