Last weekend the five of us went to a party for Nate’s baseball team, the mighty, playoff-bound AA Royals! It was a lovely afternoon and we enjoyed hanging out with the other Royals families, but the highlight for me was the repeated phrase, “Nate’s Brother.” Not a single boy on Nate’s team appeared to know Will’s name. And he didn’t seem to mind answering to “Nate’s Brother.” Seems fair since it is almost always Nate who is the one recognized by association. In fact, he is so resigned to it, I’ve heard Nate proudly introduce himself as “Will Jackson’s Brother.”
But I don’t think any of us — even Nate — want to live in another’s shadow. We want our own identity, our own recognition. We want to be valued for our uniqueness, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. But on the other hand, it’s undeniable that relationships impact who we are. Nate is fully Nate because he is a little brother and a big brother, and because he has all kinds of relationships that have shaped and molded him in varying degrees. We are made for community, and there is a social component to our identity. I am who I am, in part, because of those I’ve lived with and encountered in life.
Of course one encounter is more important than all the others. Only this relationship is transformational, both now and eternally. No person, no thing, no event could ever influence who I am like knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am imperfect. I am a work in progress. But I am His and He is mine. He loves me perfectly all day, every day, and even though I could never earn His love, I can never lose it either.
1 Corinthians 1:30 says that Christ is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. I hope you recognize your own need for these three things, and that you know these are never acquired through striving nor effort. Instead they are freely given to those who humbly admit they fall short (Romans 3:23).
We may all be known for our relationships: I’m a daughter, a little sister, a wife, a mother, a cousin, a grand-daughter, a niece, an aunt, and a friend. But most of all my identity is wrapped up in Jesus Christ, who came to earth to show me how to live, and who died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins, so that I can live eternally with Him (John 3:16).
And I may know YOU as a friend, a family member, or just an occasional reader. I may not even know you at all. But I pray our relationship is eternal — that we are brothers and sisters in Christ!