So I’m having coffee a couple weeks ago with a friend from my neighborhood. My friend is new to Christianity. He’s been checking it out. He and his family started going to another church in the Cities at the beginning of this year, and I’m expecting, that at some point, he and I are going to talk more about the importance of identity.
We’ve had three or four really solid conversations in the past about our identity as humans, and as men, and about how we are so tempted to make our identity bound up in our performance. And when we do that, it usually goes two ways. We either wrap ourselves up in our struggles — we tend to define ourselves, and see ourselves through the things that we don’t do well.
Or we wrap ourselves up in our successes — and we tend to define ourselves by the things we think we’re good at, and that other people think we’re good at. And we all have these, failures and successes, and the problem is that when we find our identity in either of these, it just won’t last. Our identity, our sense of being and worth, it has to be rooted in something unchanging, and something given to us, not controlled by us.
And so it has to be from God. Our identity is first and foremost that we are created and loved by God. It’s that he made us for himself as humans in his image, and he rescued us for himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — and that’s who we are. We are humans created and loved by God. We are people in Christ. That is our identity.
So I’m thinking we’re going to go there, and then my friends says, “Hey, man, I got baptized a couple weeks ago. I’m a Christian now.”
And I’m stoked by this, and so I’m asking him all about it, and we’re still drinking our coffee, and he said that he really loves going to corporate worship on Sunday mornings, and he says to me, “Yeah, Sunday mornings to me just feel like I hit the reset button for the rest of the week.”
I think that is a perfect way to put it. And there I am, learning from my friend, and that’s how this work. When we follow Jesus we get to learn from one another, no matter where we are on the journey. This is like hitting the reset button. This gathering is where we come up for air, together, and refocus our hearts, together, on Jesus and what he’s done. And I want us to do that now. So learning from my friend, and new brother in Christ, I want us to hit reset this morning. And there’s no better way to do that than to confess our sins to God and be reminded of his forgiveness. So pray with me:
Prayer of Confession
Father, you tell us in your Word that our strength is found in you. You tell us our strength is found in quietness and trust. And yet, we confess, that too often we’ve lived in chaos and self-reliance. We have turned from you to do things our own way, and without you, we have made a mess of our hearts. So forgive us please, Father, for our sins. Forgive us for all the ways we have sinned against you, in the things that we have done and the things that we have not done. And move us now, we ask, from coldness of heart and wandering minds, to steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, even as we confess our sins to you in silence.
Assurance of Pardon
Well, church, because you are created and loved by God, because Jesus died for you and was raised for you, and because you have been united to him by faith, you have confessed your sins this morning, and…
By the authority of Jesus Christ, and as a minister of his gospel I therefore declare to you his entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks be to God!