I am a Baltimore Ravens fan – not quite confident in Flacco, but a little bit in love with Reed and will wake up at 4am just to watch them play in playoff games.
I am a Green Day fan – still got a bit of a crush on Billie Joe after all these years, and can’t help but laugh at the funny faces Tre pulls while he plays.
I am a Neil Gaiman fan – will smile every time I think about the book Stardust and giggle as Death is personified as a teenage girl in Sandman, just because it’s a little bit awkward and a whole lot funny.
I am a Converse fan – wearing them almost daily in all sorts of colours, and completely unable to throw them away even when they have holes in the bottom because, let’s face it, shoes look better when duct tape holds them together, right? m
These are some ways we identify ourselves. We identify ourselves with our loyalty to certain labels and franchises. It’s just what we do. Think about earlier in the year when Melbourne Storm was caught out for going way over the salary cap – do you remember the reactions? They were so strong, either hatred towards the team and a readiness to condemn them to the football comparison of hell or a stoic defence of them in spite of what had happened. Identity was either bruised if you were a fan, or solidified if you weren’t, because it showed that who you allied yourself with was by far superior to the Storm.
We are so ready to identify ourselves by these things. We are so ready to stand up for them. Passion goes into conversation about sports and music. Excitement goes into talking about the latest game or album. We build up these things and we wear jerseys like badges of pride, we listen to music a little bit too loud so the person sitting next to us on the train can hear a trace of what we’re listening to (except if it’s Glee, then it’s softer to hide my shame…).
Yet, while we’re throwing our energy into hating the Storm or loving the Storm, or if we’re rambling about the new Neil Gaiman book and how he gets better at writing over time (which he does, by the way), we miss out on something. We start to slip down the slide of being citizens of this world, caught up in the neon lights and distractions that it has to offer instead of being citizens of the Kingdom. We lose a bit of our passion for God because he just doesn’t understand us like Green Day do. We lose a bit of our excitement because Jesus didn’t intercept a pass near the Steeler’s end zone and then get a touchdown for the Ravens, did he? But Ed Reed did.
I have been challenged lately to place my identity where it really matters. It is hard, because often the world is able to distract me from my worries when God would ask me to give them to Him so he could help me through them. It is hard, because God would ask me to be still and know that He is in control, when I just want to write a to-do list and go through it and hope that changes the world.
My identity is in God. My identity lies in being loved by God and being called as a saint. Paul wrote to the Romans, and as he identified them, he wrote ‘loved by God and called as saints.’ He didn’t mean the New Orleans football team, by the way. He meant that these people he is writing to… the Christians in Rome, and identified by being loved by God and by being called as his pure, cleansed, holy people… his saints.
I want that God to be my passion. I want God to define me.
Loved by God. Called as a saint.