A new series of Who Do You Think You Are is on TV at the moment. If you’ve never seen it before, it consists of celebrities looking into their family tree, seeking to discover interesting things about their immediate ancestors. Interestingly, in this week’s episode, a BBC news presenter discovered that her 5x great grandparents were Christian dissenters from Birmingham who suffered persecution for choosing not to be part of the established church.
Whilst I find it a fantastic programme, the general title can seem to suggest that who we are is in some way down to who our ancestors were and what they did. There’s probably some truth in this. I am part English, part Scottish and part Polish and I suspect I’m influenced in some way by all three!
The title could also lead you to believe that you’ll only find your true identity by understanding your family line. However the Bible tells us that identity is found in a different way. One of the Apostle Paul’s favourites phrases was that we are ‘In Christ’. It means that our identity is now found in Jesus. Because he is accepted and loved by God the Father, if you’re a Christian, you now know that acceptance and love.
And so being ‘In Christ’ is our next Sunday morning series, starting this week!
Knowing we are in Christ will lead us to think and live differently too. Paul says in Colossians 3:1, ‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God’.
At the end of this month, our good friends Don and Lisa Smith will be visiting us from the USA. They’ll be spending a week being amongst us as a church as well as serving us in all sorts of ways. On Saturday 1st April they will host a morning to equip all of us to play our part for God in the local church and in our communities. I think there is a link between this and our upcoming series on being in Christ. Because we know who we are in Christ, we are free to be passionate about setting our hearts and our lives on eternal, kingdom things!
As I think about 2018, one of my prayers is that we continue to be a people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who draw ever closer to God through reading, understanding and putting into practice all He has revealed to us in the Bible.
It’s usually this time of year when people reflect on the past year, their successes and challenges, and everything else that comes with them. However, this article is not going to be that.