Identity

By Rev Don Rivers

Do people know who we are? If we race, they see the logos, sponsors and the team colors, but do they ever see us? How do people identify us? How will we be known? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We spend much of our time in racing trying to establish an identity. This identity can be a number, a sponsor or even a color. Let’s see if I am right. Let’s try some word association, say the first thing that comes to your mind. Number eight, number three, number twenty-four, Napa, Lowes, STP, the color red, black. Sometimes our identity is so ingrained that it is tagged to something; Petty blue.

I remember one Sunday morning during a pit party at Thompson Speedway. Dan and I were talking with nine-time NASCAR Champion and Hall of Fame member Mike Stefanik. People were milling around getting autographs and taking pictures but we were not hindered in our conversation. In all the commotion we sat there and talked about everything under the sun. How could a championship driver have so much time on his hands during an autograph session? He was missing something, his car. Mike was seated on the wall without his car to identify him. He made the comment, “I guess I am nothing without my car.”

At a race show I once watched as people lined up several hours before a Cup driver was scheduled to sign autographs. They devoted hours standing in line to get that coveted signature. I thought they must really know this person they are willing to wait hours to talk briefly with. Then came a true indicator of identity. The driver had to walk past a large part of this line to get to the place he would be sitting. I watched as he walked by in plain view, within arm’s reach of the crowd. They didn’t even notice. Why, because he was dressed in street clothes. He wasn’t dressed in anything that his fans could identify him with. Some thought they recognized him, but they weren’t sure if it was really him.

Would we recognize Christ if we saw Him? Would we know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was Him? Christ asked this question of his disciples,

Mathew 16:13-17; When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

There are many who cannot identify Jesus. They find some explanation other than the correct one. Maybe it is because we do not want to admit we need the saving grace Jesus offers. Sometimes we ignore the things in our life that we don’t want to face. We all need the forgiveness that Jesus offers. Do you know who Jesus is? You can.

Romans 10:9-10; That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

I encourage you to consider who Jesus is and take him up on his offer of grace and forgiveness. He can and will change your life. Ask the many that have, they will share with you the difference He has made in their lives.

For some of us though who have accepted that gift the question remains, would people identify us with Jesus? You see there is a two-fold process on the road to being identified as one who belongs to Christ. The first part is accepting the gift that God offers in the sacrifice Jesus made. Then the process of learning and doing begins. The transformation of our lives into someone who reflects the character of God.

Do others see the character of Jesus in the way we live our lives?  Do people see Jesus in us? I have heard it put this way, if being a Christian was a crime would there be enough evidence to convict us? We have to realize that we may be the only Jesus someone might see. We should try to live in such a way as to represent Jesus. We need to live in a way that will bring Him glory and praise. We need to look at our life honestly and critique our actions. Who would others identify us with, Jesus or someone else? Why?

When we reflect the nature of God, we are attractive, others want the peace, joy, satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from the relationship we have with God. We are all on the same road but in different places. The more we walk with Him the more our lives reflect Him. The more we reflect Him the more we see the blessings of goodness He prepares for us.

Scripture tells us what we should look like. My favorite way to remember this is to think of a donut box. Let me explain, there was a recovering alcoholic who turned his life over to Christ. He owned Bess Eaton Donut Shops based in Rhode Island. He wanted the world to know about Christ so he printed scripture in the shape of donuts on his donut boxes. Every time I needed to remember whom I should resemble I would remember that donut box. As you might have figured out, I did have to visit that donut shop once in a while and of course the boxes come full.

The Scripture he used to help us remember the character of the Jesus was,

Galatians 5:22-23, … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

We live our lives always being compared to something or someone. For those who have just now turned their life over to Jesus you must commit to know him. What we gain in that knowledge will begin to show in our lives as the fruit of the Spirit and show how he is changing the direction of our lives. For those of us who belong to Christ we must make every effort to show the love that Jesus has for us to others. We must develop the character of Jesus. Our identity is found in Him.

I leave us with this challenge; let others see Jesus in us, identify yourself as one who has decided to follow Jesus. Live your life in such a way as to leave no doubt who Jesus is and who you belong to. Identify yourself with Jesus.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

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