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when we decide to become a disciple of Jesus, we receive his name and our identity is found in him

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…and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.


As humans, we desire for our lives to matter. It’s a good desire and a natural one, at that. We bear the image of God and we were created for meaning and purpose. However, that good desire sometimes drives us to destructive places – it has since the beginning. Genesis 11 recounts humanity’s attempt to build a tower reaching to heaven, and it tells us why people were attempting such a feat. Humanity cries, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Let us make a name for ourselves. It’s an ancient story, but modern humanity has the same longing. We desire our days on earth to have lasting meaning and we need our lives to matter. Unfortunately, the way we often chase that yearning is to make a name for ourselves.

The Apostle Paul knew this path well. He made a name for himself in Judaism as the leading Pharisee of his day and next in line to lead the movement. Yet, when he met Jesus, everything changed. The things he thought were for his profit and good, he considered loss for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:8). Paul goes on to tell the Philippian church how he deals with his desire to ‘make a name,’ by proclaiming he is “found in him.” Paul’s life is now enveloped into the life of Christ. Righteousness, purpose, and power flow from the fact that he participates in the life of the Divine.

“In Him,” is a phrase Paul uses 164 times in his letters to the churches. It appears to have been his favorite way to describe those who follow Jesus. Nowadays, we refer to people who follow Jesus as ‘Christians,’ but the Scriptures only use the term ‘Christians’ three times in the entire Bible. “In Him” is an expression Paul chooses to describe the essence of what being a Jesus follower is all about. The term helps us see that when we decide to become a disciple of Jesus, we receive his name and our identity is found in him!

Ironically, in receiving Christ’s name, we find what it means to become our truest self. C.S. Lewis makes this point beautifully when he writes, “Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.” Maybe we get lost because we’re looking to be found in the building of Babel or in the making of our own name, rather than bowing at the feet of the Savior. The way of humanity is to “find yourself,” but the invitation from God is to “lose yourself” and find everything you long for in the arms of the Almighty. Listen to the song Find Me by Jonathan and Melissa Hessler and pray along with the lyrics.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Ryan Paulson

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