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Primary Identity

The other day, I was talking with a friend about how the government issued my birth
certificate, my marriage license, my social security number, and will ultimately issue my
death certificate. From the time I was born into this world, the worldly kingdom has
tried to define my identity.
 
The question of where our identity comes from is an important question for followers of
Jesus as our country and the world around us continues to change.
 
When talking with my parents, or sometimes other “Olders,” I’ve heard them reminisce
about the days when America felt like a Christian nation and held to Christian values. I
understand their comments and memories, and it sounds like a great thing, but it’s not
something to which I can relate. As a believer in Jesus, I all too often feel like an alien in
our nation.
 
However, reading Scripture seems to tell me this is a good thing. Scripture tells us that
we change our primary identity when we surrender and submit to God and are “born
again.” Now we are “citizens” of the Kingdom of God and “aliens and strangers” in the
world. (John 3:3, 1 Peter 2:11, Philippians 3:20).
 
Marvin Martin was a mentor to many in our city and wrote great wisdom on numerous
topics. I was fortunate to be able to call Marvin a mentor, and I still frequently go back
and read his writings. In writing about our true identity, Marvin wrote, “Our primary
task is to follow Jesus and help others see and enter the Kingdom of God and live
eternally with Him and all the saints – not to expend our primary energies and resources
trying to maintain a Christian culture in a so-called Christian nation.”
 
Marvin Martin goes on to say, “the temptation is to try and live in both Kingdoms and
enjoy all the rights and privileges of both. I submit, from personal history and the history
of the world, it will not work.”
 
If Marvin is correct, and I tend to believe he is, then the question of where our identity
comes from becomes of utmost importance.
 
It seems obvious to me that we are being called to move our primary allegiance from a
merely Christian Culture and a Christian Nation here on earth to the King and Kingdom
of God. When we do, our identity crisis will be resolved.
 
I have a life-long love and respect for America, yet I should have an even greater love
and respect for the King and the Kingdom of God. May the Father grant us the strength
to identify with Him, as we follow Him through whatever lies ahead.
 
Peace,
Nick