Walking Out Our Identity

Written by: Matt Howard

Just over 4 years 6 months 3 days ago, my wife and I said hello to the greatest little miracle in the world. We called her Penelope Jane. A 6lb. 7oz. human was placed in my arms as someone I don’t know called me something completely new…

dad.

Dad, that has a ring to it. There is something about that title, and what comes with that title, that has changed and rearranged my life. There are those of you who are reading this recalling your own memories of these moments. Please don’t “turn me off” at this point.  Finish the post first.

Being given a new title in any capacity is an exciting thing. In many cases it comes with significant pluses that help impact our lives for the better.  Yet, there is also a component of a name change that doesn’t get spoken of as much. It’s called responsibility.  For me, being called “dad” brought a terrific smile to my face, yet it also brought terror.  This name brings with it a whole new level of responsibility, a level that I’m not sure I was ready to have attained at this point in my life. I found that this little girl quite literally walks the way I walk. (That would be with my hands behind my back and my right hand clasped around my left wrist.) It’s kind of humorous to watch, I’ll be walking and she’ll follow me doing the exact same thing. I love her, immensely.

Without going too far down the rabbit trail of fatherhood, let me make my point.  There are many times throughout life where we encounter name change. (Read “identity” change).  Grade schooler. Middle School student. Collegian. Graduate. Father. Mother. Manager. Burger Flipper. All of these, and anything else not named, are changes in our identity. They mold us and shape us into something different than we were before.  And there comes an increase in responsibility with each different level attained as well.

Jesus gives each one of us a new identity the day we call on Him as savior.  Scripture tells us that we are called “heirs.” That title brings with it a lot of great things. It also brings a responsibility. You see, and heir is more than just one who carries the name of the one who sits on the throne. An heir is an ambassador of the throne. Every word, every action, every non-action reflects either positively or negatively on the throne.

Let’s roll this a little further up the hill. For those called to ministry, we get an even further defined identity. We are called out, set apart for specific service to the King of King and Lord of Lords. Not only do we carry the responsibility of representing Jesus well, we also have to teach others to do it well. We are called to point towards the only one who is worthy of praise. We are called to not only discover what it means to live a life of giving glory to God, but to help others discover that incredible gift as well. I don’t know about you, but at times I feel wholly inadequate in that task. That is until the Holy Spirit reminds me of a truth I so easily seem to forget. As a heir, I have access to an intimacy with Jesus that can and will fill me with His power. He has equipped me with a collegiate education and training through conferences like the Experience Conference to keep me focused.

Let’s be ambassadors that spread the hope and grace of Jesus Christ every where we go! Remember, whether we know it or not, there is always someone watching how we walk throughout this life.