Sadly, too many Australians use the word ‘hypocrite’ in association with Christians. Sometimes they speak out of hurt, sometime they speak out of ignorance, sometime they speak the truth, but whatever the reason we Christians have work to do to help them see otherwise. Not that this is something new. Throughout history, even in the pages of the New Testament, Christians have been misunderstood, abused and persecuted. It just takes on a different form in contemporary Australian society.
It’s not that we are necessarily bad people; it’s just that we often struggle to live up to the standards Jesus set us. Paul, the apostle, interprets Jesus for us and constantly urges Christians to “live a life worthy of our calling” (Ephesians 4:1).
Yesterday at Hobart Baptist we began a short series titled “Who do you think you are?” Over the next few Sundays, using Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we will focus on what it means to be “in Christ”. Paul uses this phrase 34 times in Ephesians and no less than 216 times in his writings. Clearly being “in Christ” is important for Paul.
It is important in that it not only helps us understand how God saves, but also the way we are to live as saved people. Understanding who we are help us know how to live. If Kreisler had a memory lapse and forgot who he was, he wouldn’t have remembered he could play the violin and couldn’t have proved his identity.
Sometimes Christians live like that. We forget who we are and no longer know how we should live. To easily the influences of the world through advertising or peer pressure leads us to see ourselves through our achievements, possessions or connections. It is far easier to follow trends than to follow Jesus.
But as Jesus followers, we are not to conform to the world and let it define us, but rather we are “in Christ.” This is our true self. The more we agree with God about our identity the more our behaviour reflects our God given identity. Understanding who we are is the foundation upon which to build our lives. Knowing who we are in Christ is the key to successful Christian living and to being witnesses for Jesus.
Hopefully as I write about our series, “Who do you think you are” you will be encouraged and challenged for your life “in Christ”.
Stephen L Baxter