ARKeeping Your IdentityHave you ever thought about the value of your Christian identity? In your daily living, how does God fit in with your work, your studies, your friends, and your lifestyle?This article talks about the importance of knowing our Christian roots, and how we need to live a Christian's life in this world. Drawing from biblical examples and modern day experiences, the author encourages us to value our Christian heritage, to separate ourselves from the world, and to influence others positively. Though this may not be easy, we need to strive to let others see Christ in us.
I caught myself talking the other day and, to my horror, I
realized that I sounded like one of my middle school students. Spending time day
in and day out with thirteen and fourteen-year-olds is somehow rubbing off on
me. I'm also losing my Scottish accent little by little and acquiring more of
an American accent. This isn't a bad thing, but losing my accent makes me feel
like I'm losing part of my identity. I've been trying very hard to maintain
my accent, but it's been a struggle.
Likewise, as Christians, we spend most of our day with friends and
classmates. We need to constantly examine our speech and conduct so that we do
not adopt worldly attributes and lose our Christian identity. Here are a few
tips on maintaining our Christian identity at school or at work.
Know Our Roots
We all have an identity. We know who our parents are, what our nationality
is, and where we come from. Some people, to better understand their lineage,
delve even deeper into their roots and study the genealogy of their family.
Knowing our lineage helps us understand who we are today. As Christians, it
is vital that we know our roots and spiritual lineage. So what is our spiritual
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His
own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you
out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Pet 2:9)
Our spiritual lineage stems from being "a chosen generation." We
have obtained mercy, we have been justified and purified, and we are now the
temple of God (1 Pet 1:12; Gal 4:7; 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19-20). Our spiritual lineage
was established when our Lord Jesus Christ turned us from "darkness to
light, and from the power of Satan to God" so that we may "receive
forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith
in [Him]" (Acts 26:18).
Our spiritual lineage makes us Christians today. It is important that we know
what our spiritual lineage stands for and that we live up to our identity as
Nehemiah 7 records how God asked Nehemiah to register by family those
"who came back from the captivity" (Neh 7:6). Among those who returned
were three families of priests who were unable to identify "their father's
house nor their lineage" (Neh 7:61). As a result, "they were excluded
from the priesthood as defiled" (Neh 7:64).
Not knowing our heritage may cost us our spiritual priesthood, as it did
these three priestly families in the Old Testament.
When I finished high school, I was very excited because I was about to embark
on the next stage of life¡Xuniversity. To my dismay, my exam results did not
permit me to go to the university of my choice, so I took a "gap year"
and spent that time working and studying.
In retrospect, I realize that it was God's will that I did not go to
university that year, although it took me a while to grasp this. The extra year
allowed me to understand my relationship with God better and pinpoint the state
of my faith. At eighteen, my faith was still immature and I wasn't ready to
handle life away from home. God knew better, and He kept me at home another year
to establish my faith and to clearly identify my spiritual roots. Without that
year, it would have been extremely difficult for me to uphold my faith at
Keep Ourselves Pure
Nowadays drugs, sex, and alcohol seem to be the norms of student life and of
society in general. Many people use these addictions to drown their sorrow, seek
happiness, or escape the emptiness of their lives. They have lost their
identity, not knowing who they are and what they are doing.
As Christians, our beliefs and values often run contrary to society's
norms. But we cannot allow the diminishing values of society to make us
compromise our faith. Instead we need to firmly fix our eyes on Jesus and keep
ourselves from evil.
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will not know wickedness. (Ps 101:3-4)
While Joseph was in Egypt, he held firm to his beliefs and stayed true to his
spiritual lineage. Although he was tempted by Potiphar's wife, he did not give
in to physical gratification. He knew that the temporary satisfaction would
eventually lead to his spiritual demise.
Daniel also lived in a foreign land filled with delicacies and all things
pleasing to the eye, but he did not conform to their indulgences. Instead, he
determined to keep himself pure and refused to defile himself with the king's
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with
the portion of the king's delicacies, not with the wine which he drank;
therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile
himself. (Dan 1:8)
Daniel dared to be different, to stand out. In order to keep ourselves pure,
we too need to have this daring attitude¡Xto stand out, to be different, and to
uphold God's principles.
There are some youths I know who have mixed in with the wrong crowd. If I did
not know them personally, I would not have known that they were Christians. They
have adopted the worldly ways of their friends¡Xthey smoke, dye their hair, and
date around. Many of them do this because all their friends are doing it, and
they don't want to be different.
It is vitally important that we choose our friends wisely and that we do not
end up in the wrong crowd. "The righteous should choose
his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray" (Prov 12:26). Our friends could be the weight that tips our balance in the right or
Be a Positive Influence
I notice that my colleagues never curse in front of me, and when they do,
they apologize for doing so. Knowing that I am a Christian and that I do not
curse has somehow rubbed off on them. They respect my beliefs and principles,
and they do their best to act likewise when I am around. I'm sure that many
other Christians have experienced similar situations.
We need to uphold our identity in a way that glorifies the Heavenly Father.
We should never allow worldly identities to rub off on us. Rather, we should
allow our Christian identity to be a positive influence on the people around us.
Jesus teaches us, "Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Mt 5:16).
To ensure that we are not compromising our Christian identity and instead
shining the light of Christ, we need to constantly examine ourselves. Do
wholesome words come out of our mouth? Do we use our mouth to bless or to curse?
Does our conduct reflect Christ? Do we dress modestly or provocatively? James
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these
things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter
from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a
grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. Who is
wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works
are done in the meekness of wisdom. (Jas 3: 10-13)
There was a sister whose spiritual live was revived through the positive
influence of church brothers and sisters. This sister had a very busy social
life when she was in high school. Wild parties, loud music, bad company, and a
flashy dress sense ruled her life. She was caught up in a life where her true
identity in Christ was slowly withering away.
When this sister entered university, she began to change. She started to
attend church services more frequently and established close friendships with
church youths. They reflected Christ in them, which slowly rubbed off on her.
This sister now truly lives for Christ and continues to bear much fruit for Him.
During her university years, she stood her ground as a true Christian soldier.
This ultimately allowed her to hold on to her faith and keep her spiritual
Another sister used to stand at the door after lectures to see if anyone was
interested in studying the Bible with her. Most people weren't interested,
since they were rushing off to a party or some other social event. But this
sister was persistent. She had determined to share the gospel with others, and
she stood firm in her determination. She knew her identity, understood her
beliefs, appreciated the value of her life.
Jesus said, " Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs
among wolves." (Lk 10:3) We are indeed lamb among wolves. We need to be as
pure as doves and wise as serpents. We need to show that we belong to Christ.
Do not conform to the world. Instead, dare to be different.
In order to cling to our Christian identity, we might need to break with the
norm and even make some sacrifices. It definitely isn't easy upholding our
beliefs in a crooked world. But since we know our heritage, it's important
that we uphold our spiritual lineage and stand our ground. "It's not
always easy to fight the good fight, but it is always good, and it is always
May the Lord continue to guard our hearts and minds and guide us all in our
endeavors to cling to Him, and to leave behind a beautiful Christian legacy.