Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bourne Again Identity

In Matt Damon's "The Bourne Identity," he plays an amnesic assassin who is trying to determine who he is after a failed attempt to complete a mission.  The protagonist, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), spends three movies retracing his steps in order to get to the bottom of his past.  Now, there are many people in the world who are also  attempting to determine what their true identity is in this world.  Although this may very from culture to culture or person to person, one thing that should be absolute is the identity of those who label themselves as Christians.  Although we are all different and unique to God's kingdom in our own way, there are a few things that we should have in common if we identify with Christ.  This series of devotionals will give a few of the things I feel are important to identify with if you live the LIFE of the saved.

#1. The Love: 1 John 4:8 "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." When it comes to identity, one thing that is important to recognize is that others should be able to see the love in you. Why would someone think you belong to God if u are never kind, compassionate, patient or gentle with them? If you are constantly treating others poorly you aren't loving them and John is pretty clear about what it means if you don't love. One of my favorite church sayings is that "you may be the only Bible that someone reads." It is something that is so true that we must keep it in mind because if we identify with Christ, we shouldn't tarnish the Word that others see because of the way we treat them. Love others.

#2.The Image: This first point came as I prepared for my interview today. I realized that I was putting a lot of work into ironing, cutting my hair and going over my lesson plan in the mirror.  I am so concerned with how the interviewers will perceive me today, that I did something I haven't done in years...ironed my clothes the night before.  However, as I began to think I came to the conclusion that we as Christians should put this much work into how others in and out of the church perceive us when it comes to our everyday lifestyle.  We walk around as representatives of our Father to all those who see us and at any particular moment can either minister or manipulate the image that others have of God.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:3 "I try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way I act and so no one can find fault in my ministry." This should be our goal everyday as we are walking billboards for Christ.  When we are among unbelievers, we should stand out and when we are among fellow believers, there should be evidence of the Spirit living in us.  Colossians 3:7-10 "You used to wall in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage malice, slander, and filthy language from you lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off our old self with its practices 10 and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the IMAGE OF ITS CREATOR."* Take a minute and examine yourself today and ask yourself, "Do I look like a child of God?"  If you are truly born again, you should identify with the image.

#3. The Faith: 2 Corinthians 13:5 "examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless of course you faith he test?"  If we identify with Christ it should be apparent in your faith.  Faith is mentioned often in the Bible as a requirement to be a Christian.  think about it, our entire relationship with God is based on faith; faith that He exists, faith that Jesus was his son, faith that he died on the cross for our sins and is coming back again.  If we can't identify with Christ-like faith, then it is improbable that we have the relationship with God we think we do.  In fact, Hebrews 11;6 says "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."  So do as Paul says and "test yourself."  Where is your faith?  If you were to be given a pop quiz on faith, would the results show that Christ is in you?  Think about it, it's part of your Bourne Again Identity.

#4. The Evangelism: Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..."  This is the last thing Jesus says to us before he ascended into heaven in the books of Matthew and Mark.  Matthew, however, literally ends after this verse and I believe there is a particular reason why.  As one reads Matthew, you may come to understand that Matthew was a very logical and concise writer.  Often times, he gave the main points of what Jesus said without the fluff that came in some of the other Gospels.  I like to think that my brain works very similar to Matthews in that I believe the direct message is what is most important.  In saying that, I also believe there is a great amount of significance to this particular commandment because of where it is placed.  Often times, when someone really wants you to remember and do something, they will make it the last thing they say to you right? For instance, your teacher could lecture all day but the last thing they remind you is to do a certain reading or assignment.  Or your parents may tell you all the chores you should do before you can leave the house but then mention, "Make sure you turn off the lights before you leave."  In the same way, I believe Jesus is using the placement of this commandment to remind us that above all the things he tells us to do on a regular basis, the most important thing we must do is continue to recruit souls for his Kingdom.  Everything else comes back to this commandment.  It is hard to save souls if you aren't loving, living right or are without faith right? So the other parts of our Identity serve one greater purpose above all else, and that is the uplifting of Christ's kingdom.  So if you aren't making an effort to bring others to Christ, is not the rest of your Identity almost pointless?  Not to say that you MUST save a soul a day, but you ought to minister to someone somehow in any opportunity you get.  You must take advantage of every chance you get to share the love of Christ with someone else and even if you are not the one to save them, plant the seeds that will begin to grow into their own relationship with Christ.  There is a reason this passage is known as "The Great Commission;" it is our responsibility to our Identity as Christians to make an apparent effort to save souls on a regular basis.

*Read more of Colossians 3 on what it looks like to be born again.