Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Identity Crisis?


Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…
Romans 1:1-4


I hate wearing name tags. You can't be anonymous when you have a name tag on; people just come up and introduce themselves to you. This puts me in an awkward situation because the polite thing to do is to introduce myself in return but I never quite know what to say. Do I tell them where I grew up or should I tell them about my wife or maybe talk about my career? How do I sum up who I am in 30 seconds?

That is exactly what Paul is doing in these first few verses of his letter. Picture Paul slapping on a big name tag and introducing himself to the Christians in Rome. On his name tag, right under where it says "Paul," he writes three things: 1. servant of Christ Jesus; 2. apostle (which is to say that he is a witness to the resurrection of Jesus); and 3. set apart for the Gospel of God (which is the story of Jesus). All three labels revolve around Jesus. It is as if Paul is saying, “If you want to know me you have to know Jesus. I cannot be known except in relation to Him.”

Then Paul gets so excited that he goes ahead and tells them who Christ is. He says that “according to the flesh” He was a man of the line of David but according to the Spirit He was the “Son of God in power” and was declared to be so by His resurrection.

It is interesting to note that in Rome Caesar was the “Son of God.” Caesar was commonly referred to by this title and was worshipped as a living deity. Yet, Paul is challenging the Roman Christians to put their Christianity over their citizenship as Romans. Paul is saying, “You want to know me? I am a servant of the King. Not a servant of the man that masquerades as the Son of God (Casear), but a servant of the true King who was declared to be the Son of God in power when He defeated death. Caesar does not have the power, Jesus does.”

What would it be like for your identity to be so wrapped up in Christ that people could not know you without getting to know Jesus? What if you were known as a servant of the true King first, and everything else second?

So let me give this a try: Hello, my name is Lance. I'm a servant of Jesus, a pastor called to share the good news about Jesus. Welcome to my blog.

For further reading:

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lance, I can tell through this that you are truly led and blessed by the Lord. Thank you for this it is great.

Bryan Byrd

Bo Irvin said...

Lance, thank you for the great reminder to always put on the character of Christ. Although I have definitely not done this perfectly each day I have learned that it must be on the forefront of our minds and hearts each day as we awaken to be intentional on putting on the character of Christ so not to fall into the depths of our daily environments which can be very easy to do. Thank you for the biblical thoughts and wisdom.

Beth said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, fancy! I love it...I loved the old Word on Wednesdays (back in the good old days when life was simple, I had my own room AND two of the coolest friends and youth coworkers ever) and I'm TOO excited that you're back in the WoW saddle. Praying for you!

Casey Brackney said...

This is great, Lance! I just started a blog a few weeks ago so I added you to the blogroll. Anything that gives people an easy outlet to get closer to God is great :).

Hope you're doing well!

Julie said...

Lance, thanks for the encouragement in the Word :) I love that you're doing this via blog -- what a great way to reach out to people you don't get to see every day (or month, or year). Thanks for the reminder today, my friend. Praying for you and Stacy -- and, as always, I love you two!!!

Anonymous said...

Outstanding and powerful message...God’s Word and a wonderful way to share it. Thanks for the note that it’s up and running. God bless. Gary.

Anonymous said...

What a blessing to have these blogs to read. As a teacher, father, and husband my time is always challenged. I sometimes scramble to find time. This posting is a true blessing lead by a man who is lead by the Holy Spirit!

Anonymous said...

lance,
this is great! i am so proud of what God is doing with you!
maija-lisa

Blake and Danielle said...

lance,
I am thankful that you are doing this. I have been saving the email reminders and finally got around to reading your blog (I will catch up soon). I appreciate your ability to communicate the Word. Those four verses are an intro that I would've glossed over without realizing the importance that Paul is placing on his identity in Christ.

I hope you and Stacey are well. Danielle and I love you guys and hope to see you soon.