Often times I meet new people, as all of us do, either at work, school or just out and about. I find it interesting how we identify ourselves to the new people we meet, the questions we often ask of them and the questions they might ask of us.
Recently, my wife Maryna and I met some folks from out of town who are attending the Alaska Christian College in Soldotna. The greeting conversations went something like this: “Hi my name is Mark, what’s your name?”; “Where are you from,”; “How do you like Soldotna?”; and, “What is your major and what are you going to do after you complete your schooling here at Alaska Christian College?”
This is how the conversation went with several people who were waiting the table we were sitting at, at an Alaska Christian College function.
The answers varied of course, at whatever level the people we talked to wanted to allow us to know information about them. I find that if the table was turned, how much would I allow these people to know me?
If I meet someone while out fishing, the level of communication seems to always be connected to the “out of doors.” The other person will usually reveal themselves to me in an “out of doors” manner as well. Eventually I will ask, “Where are you from?”, and they will usually answer where they are from, with a reply question at me, “And where are you from?”
How much we reveal to an outsider at first contact is generally surface information for obvious reasons, maybe we are not so trusting of strangers, which is healthy, or maybe the person reminds us of someone we certainly don’t trust, so our information varies depending on how comfortable we are with the stranger we are meeting.
When I was a young man in my first year of college back in the late ‘60s, a common question that came up was, “Who are you, where are you from?”, and the answer might have been, “I’m here in college to find myself, or what my purpose in life is.” That seemed like a safe and truthful answer to me at the time.
In the Christian Spiritual aspect of our life, we may ask the same questions, “Who am I in Christ, and what is my purpose in this life as a believer in Christ?” Or, “Who do I identify myself with as a Christian?” For example, when we identify ourselves as a Christian to another Christian, the question of “Where are you from?” applies to what church are you attending or have been attending.
When I first started meeting with the local Kiros Prison Ministry team, at our first meeting, the meeting started out with that same greeting, tell each other in the group, “what church we attended and why we were there at the meeting.” There was always a moment of wonder of how much each person there wanted to tell the others about themselves, and then a brief introduction of who each thought of themselves as a Christian, what church they attended and “Why was I there?”
Today, I find that all of us are confronted by a very serious question of “Who really am I as a Christian,” not to each other, but to God Himself. God already knows the truth to the question, only now, He wants us to confront the truth to His question, “Really, who are you in Christ?” “Are you really a Christian and what makes you think so?”
I believe now, the answer is found in, how well do I know Christ? If I am a Christian, I shouldn’t have to tell anyone about how I identify with Christ. I should have an intimate relationship that should be obvious without saying so. But, to God, who has known us since before we were concieved in the womb of our mothers, ( Psalm 139) He certainly is looking for a truthful answer from us as to how we relate to our Christianity.
Questions pop up in my mind, “who is most influential in my Christian walk?” “Do I live to please God, to submitt to God’s will, to love God?” Or, “Do I cling to God only when I want something from God such as fix this relationship with someone, bless me with prosperity or something as important as “heal me God from this disease or mend my marriage Lord, or please save me from hell’s fire when I die God!”
Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians, 2 chapter and verses 1 through 12, just what we should be careful of in our Christian walk, and believe it or not, it’s not being fearful of anything except ourselves. He does say, giving us a big help, “Be not deceived.” Where else have we heard, “Be not deceived?” Didn’t Jesus say, “Be not deceived,” back in Matthew 24: 4.
Beloved, didn’t Jesus also say, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me, ( Jesus.)
If we are a Christian, we should be different from others in the world. We are followers of the Truth. We Love Truth. The Truth is what influences us, makes us free, free indeed. We identify ourselves with raw, undeniable Truth. We are motivated by Truth to be Holy as our God is Holy. That is the American way. Our lives depend on Truth.
So, Who am I as a Christian should be more like, Christ is in me more than I am to myself.
Finally, If you were arrested today for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you as a Christian?
Mark Conway is a Christian Evangelist living with his wife Maryna in Sterling. They can be reached on their website, www.endtimedays.org.