This past Sunday, we started studying the Gospel of Mark in our student small groups. As I walked around and checked on them, talking about chapter 1, I heard a few questions asked by the students’ leaders: What is the Gospel? Why is it good news? Who are you because of Jesus? It was great to hear some of our students process those questions. And they had some great answers.
While I feel like I have a good answer, myself, to the first two questions, I have found myself still focusing on that third question. Who am I because of Jesus? If the Gospel is, in fact, the really good news that we believe it is, what does that mean for me—both now and in the future?
Here is what I’ve come up with so far: I am a sinner, saved by God’s grace, and called to be on mission for Him.
When left to my own devices, I often mess up and choose my own selfish gain. If it wasn’t for God, I would constantly put myself first over God, family, and others. Even with God, subsequent sinful decisions often come from those thoughts. I am a sinner, but…
I’m so grateful for God’s grace. He could have left me in my sinfulness. He could have let me suffer all of the consequences of that sin. He could have punished me. But He didn’t! He stepped into our world, to become like one of us, and to take my punishment for me.
God didn’t just save me, but He gave me a new purpose—a greater purpose. My life is no longer about me; it’s about loving Him and others. Specifically, He has called me to do this in the area of student ministry, which means I get the amazing privilege of working with teenagers and their families. Every time I stop to consider what I get to do, I am amazed. And God allows me to pursue this as a career. Really!? Wow!!
I think the Apostle Paul has an amazing summary of who we are because of Jesus:
“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
No matter what happens in the world, no matter if things go my way or not, this is who I am in Jesus. And that’s the only thing that does matter. This is especially helpful to hold onto in times like the present. Pandemics, political tension, ongoing racism, and so much more can easily cause someone a gigantic amount of anxiety and more. And I’m not going to say that doesn’t affect me, because it does; but in all of it, I am anchored in something greater and beyond myself.
I don’t know where you are and what led you to read this specific blog post today. But I want to encourage you to consider who Jesus is and who you are because of Him. Even if you have considered yourself a Christian for a long time and working in ministry, it’s still a very important question to ponder. And if you don’t consider yourself a Christian, please feel free to reach out if any of this has made you think, especially if you have questions.