Just Thinking: Doodles to Noodle Over

Devotional

“Christian” is a noun, not an adjective.

How would your view of yourself and others change if you stopped using the word “Christian” as an adjective? 

Do you define your identity in what you have or what you do instead of your life in Christ? 

Think about it this way. One person says, “I’m a Christian artist,” another says, “I’m a Christian businessman,” or they say, “I’m a Christian teacher", "Christian wife", or "Christian dad”. The list could go on. In all these statements, each person is still seeking identity primarily with a particular role or vocation… rather than who they are in Christ.  

Let’s say that being a teacher is your core identity. It could be devastating when, for some reason, you’re not able to teach anymore. How many businessmen, even Christian businessmen, lose a sense of purpose, meaning or worth when they retire because they're no longer working in the same capacity? If you make marital status your core identity, the death of your spouse or a marriage breakdown can be even more devastating than it already is because your core identity has been placed in something temporary and unstable.

All of these things (jobs, skills, status) form part of our identity, of course, but can you see that it’s problematic to make your job or any other temporary thing your core identity?

Even in the church, we can find ourselves separating into cliques and groups that we can personally identify with, rather than becoming a community that’s united by our core identity in Christ.

“Christian” is a name given to those who are “in Christ.” Christ came and died for us to rescue us from having our identities built on shifting sands. Instead, He invites us to find our lasting identity in Him — the “Rock of Ages”.

In fact, Jesus is the only identity through which we enjoy true unity as believers too. Unity is Jesus's prayer for God's children. Christ has rescued us from identity idolatry that we might find belonging in his body — the Church — in the unity of faith. 

Could we experience 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 more fully if we used Christian as a noun instead? What if we referred to ourselves as “artistic Christians,” “entrepreneurial Christians,” “pastoral Christians,” “married Christians,” or “single Christians” instead?