I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
- Isaiah 61:10
If someone were asked to describe you in 10 words or less, what words would they use? What words do you hope they would use? I meet people every day who are unsure of who they are, struggling to find their identity.
Constantly, we look to our surroundings to define us. Most of us go to great lengths on a daily basis to “look” a certain way. Somehow we feel that we can be defined by designer jeans, fancy watches, or nice cars. People will think of us differently. Think of us as successful...as meaningful. There are some who say, “I don’t care about looks, I am brilliant, and I just want people to know how smart I am.” We all embrace the culture and style of the group or social class we want to be associated with. My question is, how does this fit in with being a Christian?
At most weddings, it is extremely easy to identify the bride. As long as a bride is wearing her wedding dress, it is plain to all around her that she is a bride. Her identity in that moment for all who see her is “a bride”. In this passage in Isaiah 61 and in many other Bible passages, Christians are referred to as the “bride of Christ”. If we are clothed in the garments of salvation, then our wedding dress (the most dominating part of our outward appearance) is our salvation through Jesus Christ.
Now, a bride can attempt to show her interest in other activities by wearing cleats to appear athletic or motorcycle boots to show that she is a part of the motorcycle culture. She can don glasses to appear intelligent, or wear a crown to appear as royalty. No matter how you look at it though, all of these things are vain and really silly attempts at bringing a bit of old identity into what everyone else can plainly see is the new identity. She is “a bride” no matter what boots she wears or what accessories she includes. So to, as Christians, once we are robed in the wedding dress of Christ’s righteousness and ultimately salvation, any worldly identity we strive for, only takes away from the beauty of who we are in Him.
Sometimes we pursue titles or identities that are even good ones. We want to be known as great worship leaders or great pastors. Maybe we wish to be known as a great musician or a renowned thinker. All of these can be good and noble; however, it is important to remember that first and foremost our identity is in Christ. I am a Christian who happens to be a musician. I am a Christian who happens to have the ability to speak into people’s lives. When we let Christ define us instead of our talents and abilities, He is then glorified in our lives instead of us glorying in our own abilities.
Resist the temptation to allow your interests and talents define you. Allow Christ to define you and enjoy the freedom of walking in His righteousness. There is no greater or more beautiful identity in the world than to be a follower of Jesus Christ.