One of the toughest parts of middle school and high school is learning to find your niche, or more importantly, your identity. Growing up, there are all different kinds of groups you could belong to: the jocks, the cheerleaders, the nerds, and so on. Our identities as human beings are so easily categorized. But even more so, those kinds of identities are not so easily attained. You have to work for it. For example, in order to be a “jock”, you must learn a sport, wear a uniform, and work with a team. And soon enough, the identities that we take on begin to shape who we are as people.
This week at Jr. High 1, our speaker, Jeff Brower, has been talking about the importance of finding our identity in Christ. To me, this is the important message for the group of Jr. High campers that are here at Delanco Camp this week. Many of them are starting high school this fall, where finding your identity is a shifting, difficult task.
But essentially, I think that this message is universal. I mean, aren’t we all still searching a little? It’s important to remember that in order to find identity in Christ, we must first put off the things of this world. In his message last night, Jeff used this example: Say you worked for McDonalds. You wear the hat, the shirt, and it’s clear that you work for McDonalds. Now, say that one day you decided to go and work for Chick-Fil-A instead. They’ll give you a new uniform and everything, but it’s useless unless you first cast aside your McDonald’s uniform.
The same goes with finding ourselves in Christ. This week, we are learning to “unstick” ourselves from this messy, sinful world that easily entangles us. And we learned Sunday night that the only way out is through Jesus Christ who died on the cross. We must put off the things of the world to find ourselves in Christ. We looked at Colossians 3 last night, and it’s easily one of my favorite passages.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all things such as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is Gentle or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Beat with each other and forgive one another if anyone has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
It’s important to remember that we need to get “unstuck” from the world to truly follow Christ. That’s what He calls us to do: follow him and not the sinful nature of the world. In fact, He calls us for more: to simply love.