Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
—2 Corinthians 5:17
WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE, WHETHER AT SOME SOCIAL GATHERING or in meeting someone for the first time. Barely past introducing ourselves to one another comes four words that can frame quite a loaded question: What do you do? Whether assumed or presumed—and depending on the scenario and the conversationalists—the answer to What do you do? can convey or be received in unspoken measure as this is who I am.
In a society and world that bases human worth according to what we do, the lines separating achievement from the bigger question of who we are quickly blur—likely because it’s far easier to answer what we do than who we are. Consider this response found on an online blog: “I believe that who you are defines what you do. If you are extremely caring and giving, you may volunteer in a soup kitchen. If you love math, you may work in finance. If you love sports, you may be an athlete.”
One problem answering the who I am of our identity with this is what I do is that it doesn’t account for the inevitable, unexpected, and unanticipated twists and turns of life that bring change, often sudden and drastic. We may lose a loved one, a great job, our health, our money and possessions, or a myriad of other things. If we find our self-worth was exclusively built on the vapor of life, how will we define our life then?
Followers of Christ are not immune to the wrestling of our identity. “The great tragedy today is that we don’t have enough Christians who know who they are,” says pastor and author Tony Evans. “They may be genuine believers, but their faith is just another addition to their portfolio. When it comes to the bottom line, they define themselves in terms of their name, their job, their possessions, or the people they know.”
It can take a lifetime of constantly recalculating our identity GPS away from the shifting demands and expectations of others, society, or our own internal dialogue, to the true north identity found in Christ alone. Among the many attributes of our identity in Christ, we each, as His followers, are chosen, forgiven, redeemed, adopted, and a joint heir of God’s eternal Kingdom. And a new creation.
The Gotquestion.org website points out that there are two different meanings to the dual occurrences of the word “new” in the 2 Corinthians 5:17 passage above. As in “new creation,” the Greek word neos “refers to something that has just been made, but there are already many others in existence just like it.” But as our personal “old has passed away,” the use of the Greek word kainos in “the new has come” means “something just made which is unlike anything else in existence.”
It is in Christ alone that we find the identity that He intends us to operate and live in. We are made an entirely new creation, an entirely new person—not just someone refurbished or retooled. It is being in Christ alone that the waves of disappointment, the circumstances of life, the op/ed of others, and the powers of hell can never take away.
Thank you for stepping into your identity as an ambassador for God in your life and service, particularly as an OCF prayer warrior. Happy New Year!