This post begins a new series answering the question, “What is a Christian?” The Bible describes the identity, character, and responsibility of the Christian almost always by way of imagery because God knows the most effective way to show us who we are is to tell stories and paint word pictures. Why try to answer this question, “What is a Christian?” For three reasons: (1) to awaken your dormant imagination to how the living almighty God sees you, (2) to fill out and rebalance your sense of identity in Christ; and (3) to equip you for life’s great challenges. Theologians and cultural observers are beginning to recognize that our postmodern age is struggling with a massive crisis of identity. More and more people don’t know who they are anymore. We have forgotten where we fit into God’s stories because we’ve lost the plot to God’s Story. The Church is not immune to this identity crisis. Neither are you. I am convinced that if you don’t have a self-image informed by the whole Bible showing you who Jesus made you to be, then as we’ll see you’ll create your own identity with disastrous results. So we start this series on What is a Christian? by examining first our desire to be king and rule our own lives.
Everything about this world and your heart tempts you to believe the lie that your highest aspiration is to be king of your kingdom. Ever since the fall of Adam, all of us live as if we can take care of ourselves and we don’t need a savior, a champion to win the victory for us. Some of us spiritualize our confidence, holding onto the belief that God will protect our own kingdoms if we just mind our own business, don’t screw up too badly, and ask for God’s blessing once in a while. But when life and enemies crush your little kingdom—which always happens sooner or later—what hope is left for you, for us? Is everything you thought about your life and identity, all the hopes, dreams, blood, sweat, and tears that you invested in them, lost?
Perhaps the most famous story in the Old Testament, the account of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 answers these questions. Christians are terrorized by enemies able and ready to destroy them, but they will reign victorious by faith in God’s anointed king who triumphed in battle and is exalted as champion. See your true identity in the David and Goliath story, and know your calling as a king who serves Jesus the King of kings. Continue reading