One of the more frequent questions among men that will be asked is “what do you do for a living?” Go to a party or any kind of get together with a bunch of grown men, and I can guarantee you that the question will come up. Some are proud to say what they do for a living and some may be ashamed. For example, if a doctor or attorney is asked by another man what he does for a living, I am certain that he will be unashamed to announce his occupation because it is a position that carries status, power and lots of money. On the flip side, we may have a man who flips burgers at McDonalds for a living, and if he is asked the question about what he does for a living, then the answer may come with shame because it is a job that is usually frowned upon in this society. It is not a high paying job and does not come with a lot of status in capitalistic America. The reasons why I bring up this point is because of the identity crisis that we have placed upon ourselves in our society. I am not saying that you should not be proud about the position that you hold, if you are a doctor or a lawyer you should definitely be proud of yourself because you worked hard to achieve that position, and if you aspire to be in a occupation that comes with a high status then you should work hard to achieve it. But we placed a bondage upon ourselves because we have labeled ourselves based on our current situations. If you have placed your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, your identity should not be placed in whatever position you have in this life. Our identity should be in him alone, and that is fantastic news. Let me tell you why!
Identity in Christ
The New Testament in our Bible was written during a time when Jewish people were under Roman oppression. If you go back and look at world history you will see that the Romans dominated the Earth for over 1500 years. Think about that! This Roman kingdom would eventually fall after the 1500 years, but even in the midst of that 1500 years, the kingdom of God continues to expand across the world. It just goes to show that despite what kingdom comes in the world, it will never thwart the kingdom of God. This is why, as American citizens, we should not placed our trust in America, we place our trust in God. This is another topic of its own, but It was during these times, during the Roman reign over the world, a Messiah that was predicted in the Jewish scriptures by the name of Jesus from the city of Nazareth stepped on the scene. His name became famous because he was healing the sick and the poor and preaching the message of the kingdom of God. He was preaching a message of love and service in a culture that was so contradictory of that. Many Romans and Jewish people seen and heard of this Jesus. A lot of religious people were threatened by Jesus because they did not want him to be the God in the Old Testament scriptures that he claimed himself to be. If so it would prove the Pharisee’s theology to be completely wrong, and we all know that religious and prideful people hate to be wrong and see other folks set free. Some of the Romans began to be threated because they did not want Jesus, who claimed to be a king, to compete against their Roman kingdom. It was during this time when it was easy to identify yourself as a slave under Roman authority or a citizen of Rome who dominated the rest of the world. People were rapidly giving their lives to Jesus Christ, but they still did not feel valuable while being stuck under Roman oppression and in an unfortunate position. The Apostle Paul, who was formally known as a Pharisee, was someone who hated the message of freedom that the Gospel preached about. He was someone who sought out to persecute and kill any Christian. He believed a person would be made right with God by obeying the Law in the Old Testament. But in just seconds, the Apostle Paul, then known as Saul of Tarsus, life would be changed when he saw the resurrected Lord on the road to Damascus. Jesus spoke to Paul and said “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” From this point, the Apostle’s life would be changed and he would place his calling and identity in Jesus Christ. He turned his zeal and passion for Judaism to Christianity and would become the greatest missionary and most influential man the world has ever seen.
During Paul’s ministry, he would write letters to the early churches and encourage them in the Lord. In his letter to the church in Galatia, he is letting the Christians know who to identify themselves with so that they can be set free from the slavery and bondage of their society. In Galatians 3:27-28 he says “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” How many of us feel like we are under some sort of slavery or bondage in something? It could be at our jobs, financial crisis or anything else. The world is telling us how to label ourselves, but the Apostle Paul is trying to make it clear to this church that their perspective is wrong. Satan is temporarily god of this world, and he runs a system that can be deceptive (2 Cor 4:4). Paul wants the early Christians to know that the scriptures are truth, it is what Jesus prayed to the Father for us to realize so that we can be set free from this world of darkness (John 17:17). They failed to understand who they are and what they have coming for them in the future. When we are in Christ, it does not matter where we come from, our identity is in him alone. You may have someone tell you that you will never get out of the current situation that you are in, but our good Master, Jesus Christ, has the final say-so and if he says you are something else then that settles it. This is good news, no longer does a person have to be ashamed of what they do for a living , what they did in the past or what race they are. When a person is told their whole life that they are a nobody and will never accomplish anything, they will start to believe what they have been told and began to act like it. It is why you will see a person act the way they do because their dad and mom may have acted that way. It becomes a generational issue because it is all they have seen and know, but a person who has put their trust in Christ is a son or daughter of God. You know that the Bible says that you are a future king and queen, and when a person is able to get that in their spirit it is when they will become free and act like who they really are.
There is a line in the movie “Risen” that highlights our freedom in Christ. Clavius, the Roman warrior, demands that a Jewish woman tells her where Jesus is, and then he will set her free. She responds by saying “I’m already free.” I hope and pray that we can all be free in this life by placing our faith in Jesus, despite what may come our way. The Lord has a crown waiting for you.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”