Yesterday at church I was sitting near the front. A place I am often found first because if I am up front, I am less distracted by my friends and the people around me. Also because there are always seats up front when I come in late. During the greeting part, my pastor came up to me, since I was up front, and asked me, "what are you?" Since it was Halloween I thought he meant what was my costume going to be.
Turns out he was asking what am I? As in what is the core of who I am. Since I was not expecting such a deep question I floundered for a second and the went with the obvious. "I'm a follower of Jesus," I said. Immediately after the words were out of my mouth, actually as the words were forming on my tongue, they felt false. I knew in that moment that while the "correct" answer might be that I am a follower of Christ, it was not really true. It is not the essence of my being or the deepest definition of who I am.
I may want to be a follower of Jesus but my life is evidence to the fact that I am not most of the time. I want to claim being sold out for Christ but I like comfort, warmth and safety a little too much. My every action shows me really shows me being a follower of Jesus only a percentage of the time.
But even more than my actions giving me away, the truth is that my identity is based not on my actions but on my being. Not on what I do but who I am. And to that question I answer confidently and gratefully that I am a child of God, loved and redeemed. That is the very essence of my identity. Being a Jesus follower is something I try to do because He first loved me. But I am first and foremost a child of God, living in the grace He has extended to me.