Defining Yourself in Christ

For Lord’s Day, August 25, 2013
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Dear Saints,

I was blessed to read in my devotions recently the following verse:   … ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:23). It reminded me who I am and Whose I am.  This knowledge identifies me. This knowledge defines my life. So it identifies you, brother. So it defines your life, sister.

Knowing our identity in our true Master helps us live a life that defines ourselves and masters our circumstances — even the terrible ones.

In last Lord’s Day’s evening sermon, I mentioned two people whose past tragedies are incredible to consider, and whose present and future focus are inspirational to emulate.

First, do you remember the story about the three women who were rescued from a decade of captivity in Cleveland, Ohio?  One of the women, Michelle Knight, said this to her wicked captor (now himself in captivity) through a media interview (here): “I will overcome all of this that happened … From this moment on I won’t let you define me or affect who I am.”

What an incredible resolve to not let her horrendous history define her future and how she will face living it.

Similarly, a man called “The Shark” recently swam 22 miles over a period of 51 hours on Lake Michigan towing bricks behind him to raise money for Habitat for Humanity and give hope to Detroit (watch it here). Remarkably, Jim Dreyer, who does this a lot, said he goes through great anxiety before each swim. Why? He nearly drowned as a 3-year-old before his sister rescued him at his family’s cottage.  He said he began to face his greatest fear in life of open water at age 32 with beginner swimming lessons, “figuring every obstacle I face in life will seem that much smaller after you face your biggest fear.”

Two years later, Mr. Dreyer swam across Lake Michigan and set his first of what is now 17 world records!  He says each time he swims he still feels the fear of reliving not being able to breathe.  But he offered this empowering wisdom: “Instead of being controlled by the fear, I learned to control it.”

What an incredible resolve to live a victorious life that does not minimize his painful memory, but channels it.

These stories are good examples of how we need to define how we live our lives as Christ’s and as God’s. Paul says it like this:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Mr. Dreyer said his swim for Detroit was also to portray a message: “We don’t have to sink with the weight of our burdens.”

Amen! How much more so for we who are in covenantal union with the Lord Jesus Christ and are thus defined by Him and His rule on Mt. Zion as we speak (Revelation 14:1). We don’t have to let our circumstances define us. Instead, we can define ourselves by how we work through our circumstances.

Beloved, remember to identify with Christ and define yourself and your life by His abundant eternal life given to you now in this life. And remember to live it.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant