If you fundamentally identify yourself as being in Christ—as opposed to all the other options for self-identification—you will regularly respond differently than those who closely identify with the world’s lesser alternatives. Let me offer some examples of responses that might proceed from people who view themselves fundamentally as “in” a lesser alternative rather than viewing themselves as fundamentally “in Christ.”

If you over-identify as being in college rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might justify non-involvement in a local church because you deem yourself too busy to take time away from your studies.

If you over-identify as being in sports rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might become embittered toward a coach who doesn’t give you the playing time you feel you deserve.

If you over-identify as being in theater rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might revel in the praise you receive for your acting, singing or dancing ability, rather than seeking first-and-foremost to please Christ.

If you over-identify as being in prison rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might miss the truth that God has good purposes for you wherever you are, despite anything you have done in the past.

If you over-identify as being in ministry rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might excuse your inattention to life-giving rhythms like Bible reading and prayer because you deem yourself too busy with obligatory preaching and pastoral care.

If you over-identify as being in leadership rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might fail to humble yourself before God and learn to receive God’s kingdom like a child.

If you over-identify as being in therapy rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might struggle to take responsibility for the broken parts of you that are a consequence of your own sin.

If you over-identify as being in politics rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might get lured into accepting or rejecting en toto the positions of one political party.

If you over-identify as being in love rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might choose to sleep with your boyfriend or girlfriend instead of walking a path of holiness.

If you over-identify as being in pain rather than as fundamentally in Christ, you might miss out on developing the deep trust that God wants you to develop through your suffering.

These examples illustrate the kinds of defective responses that flow out of identifying too closely with lesser identities. This little exercise also clarifies why it is so important that we come to view our primary identity—above and before every other identity—as being in Christ.

For more on daily life in Christ, see my new devotional book: How to Live an ‘In Christ’ Life: 100 Devotional Readings on Union with Christ.


This post and other resources are available at Kindle Afresh: The Blog and Website of Kenneth Berding.