Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
One way or another, all of us want to know our identity. During my youth, it was common for people to head off, normally in a VW Vanagon or a bug, to “find themselves.” Now it seems a little more common for people to go on a service trip somewhere, maybe as a humanitarian or conservation worker. We want to get in touch with our values. We want to find out what motivates us. We’d like to know what we can do without and what we actually seem to need. We want to know what touches us.
There’s another quest for identity that many engage in. Actually, we don’t engage in it so much as we find it waiting for us in a dark alley, ready to jump us and go through our pockets. It happens to most people when they are in their thirties or forties. They suddenly find themselves confronted by their parents when they look in the mirror or when they listen to themselves talking. It takes us by surprise. But we regularly find ourselves being very like those we are related to. Our parents have a good deal to do with who we are.
In Galatians 4 the apostle speaks of the identity of the Christian. That identity is formed by someone else. It isn’t so much our parents as our divine parent. All Christians have been adopted by Jesus. As those adopted by him, we are sons of God. The issue of sonship is important. Within the culture, sons were the people who inherited. Daughters did not. What is the inheritance of sons? All the property, authority, and influence of the father. That’s a very big deal when the person who has inherited us is God.
The Christian is an heir of God. Once in a while we see a glimpse of that parentage in the mirror. More often, others will see it. It will certainly be a distorted image. We’re bad at reflecting the nature of God. But in the end, our identity as Christians is that of sons, adopted by God the Father. We are the heirs of all the promises of God in Christ.
How do we live out this identity? Bit by bit, we try to value what God values. We learn that as we live in the Scripture, as we engage in meaningful relationships with other Christians, as we seek to walk through life aware of the work of Jesus. Once in a while we’ll catch a glimpse of ourselves thinking like Jesus. Occasionally we will even act like he does. This will be for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor. May the Lord bless our neighbors in many ways through us, as we become more like Him.
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