What Defines You?

By John Risner

January 1, 2018

What defines you? Democrat or Republican? Mac or PC? Batman or Spiderman? Maybe it is the clothes you wear or your favorite team. As a follower of Jesus, your relationship with Him should be your defining characteristic.

In Matthew 15 Jesus confronts the Pharisees for holding on to traditions rather than the commands of God. He says, “these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8).

The Pharisees had accused Jesus’ disciples of not washing their hands before they ate. Maybe you’re thinking, “I am with the Pharisees on this one! People should wash before eating!”

But the hand washing they are talking about is a ceremonial ritual. It was a symbolic cleansing and the Pharisees had taken the tradition and made it like a law. They were so serious about it that if a rabbi failed to wash he could be excommunicated. Fired. Kicked out. Shunned.

There was once a rabbi in prison who used his ration of water for ceremonial cleansing instead of drinking. He nearly died of thirst…. and he was regarded as a great hero.

What makes us unclean is not our personal hygiene, it’s our sin! It’s not our dirty hands that defile us. What truly defiles a person is the evil that resides in our hearts. But God changes that.

Your life should be defined by what God has done in you. You are forgiven and redeemed. You are loved and pursued. You are valued and treasured. You are righteous and clean. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Don’t allow the world to define you. Instead, give Christ the freedom to define your life. When you do, your life will radiate the gospel and point to the ultimate superhero.

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