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“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons” Philippians 1:1
Well I didn’t get very far. Right off the bat in verse one I noticed that Paul refers to he and Timothy as “servants of Christ Jesus.” A quick skim of all the New Testament letters Paul wrote and there is no doubt where he finds his identity. He calls himself an “apostle” seven times (1, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1, 2 Timothy), once he is a “prisoner for Christ Jesus” (Philemon), and three times he is a “servant of Christ Jesus” (Romans, Philippians, and Titus). Paul’s identity is so hidden in Christ that when he refers to himself, he’s no longer just “Paul” anymore. He was called out and transformed by God on the Damascus Road. So transformed in fact that from then on he’d be “Paul, a servant of,” “Paul, an apostle of,” or “Paul, a prisoner of,” Christ Jesus.
The question I have for you then is, “How do you identify yourself?” Another way of asking it is, “Where do you find your identity?” Did you know there is a right answer to that question and a wrong one? What comes to mind when you first think about the answers to these questions?
Maybe your occupation came to mind or the fact that you’re a mom or dad. It could’ve been a hobby if you’re a mountain climber, surfer, artist, or cook. Of course there is nothing wrong with any of these things. But as Christians our identity goes much deeper than this.
According to Colossians 3:1-4 we have died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Furthermore, it says that Christ IS our life. This is how intricately tied with Jesus we are. This is your identity. Everything else about you finds it’s meaning and purpose in Him alone.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 says that we ought not consider anyone according to the flesh any longer. The old has passed away and the new has come and it all happened (here He is again) “through Christ who reconciled us to Himself.”
Hopefully the first and most important thing you consider about yourself is that you are a Christian, a child of the Living God, co-heir with Christ, and a brother or sister in a royal priesthood. Ultimately, this is who you are. Don’t believe the lies of the devil that convince you you’re a worthless nobody or somehow inadequate to be named among God’s children.
Notice to whom Paul addresses his Letter to the Philippians…”to the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.” These people were ordinary, everyday Christians just like you and me and they were considered saints. Sure they were carpenters, farmers, and businessmen, but they were saints. You are a saint. Why? Because we are so hidden in Christ that His righteousness is imputed to us. The only way to real sainthood is through Jesus! (Sorry, Mr.’s John and McCartney)
I’ll leave you with Galatians 2:20. This is your identity; this is who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Be all those other things that make up who you are, but remember first and centrally as Paul the apostle, prisoner and servant of Jesus Christ said,
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
*How do you identify yourself?