A couple of weeks ago, I was driving behind a big truck on the interstate. I was trying to explain to my girls how, when I was little, you could get a trucker’s attention, pump your arm up and down and they would blow the big horn for you. Does anyone else remember that? We ended up beside the truck and the girls tried to get the driver’s attention. He was talking on his cell phone, glanced briefly at the girls and went back to his conversation.
Growing up, I can never remember that happening. Truckers always honked the horn for kids in cars. As a trucker’s daughter, I couldn’t help but wonder what has changed and here is what I think. Driving a truck used to be more than an occupation. It was more than something a person did. It was who they were. It was an identity. A culture. It had its own lingo and music. I had more than my fair share of meals at truck stops with mini jukeboxes on the tables and claw machines in the lobbies. Ah, memories.
I can’t help but think about this change as I watch people making resolutions to do better this year. As Christians, we want to read more Scripture, memorize more verses, pray more, etc. Don’t get me wrong; those are wonderful things and we should certainly strive to grow in those areas. We set ourselves up for failure, however, when we make it about doing more things.
When our faith is just something we do, it becomes something we can just as easily not do. But, when our faith is who we are – when it is as essential as our next breath – well, that changes everything.
Let’s pretend you were Paul and you were introducing yourself to a church. You could say something like, ” I’ve made many mission trips. I’ve written many important letters. I’ve lived a life of boldness and bravery.” Those were all things Paul had done, but that was not who Paul was.
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus… – Romans 1:1
What about James? James was the brother of the Messiah. He lived under the same roof as the Son of God. Surely, when introducing yourself, you might mention that. But that was not who James was.
James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ… – James 1:1
Simeon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ… – 2 Peter 1:1
Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ… Jude 1:1
Over and over again, men and women found their very identity in Christ. They came from various walks of life. They had different missions and mission fields. They knew the Scriptures. They prayed. They tried. They failed. They tried again. But their faith was never something they did on the side. It was all consuming.
Let us be that way. The world tries to make Christ something you can do on the side. The reality is, however, that Christ is all or he is nothing and there is no in between.
You and I – we are slaves of Christ. Regardless of what else we do or have or accomplish, nothing will ever be more important than that.