Living for Christ as a Youth Day 1: Rooted in Christ
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, ESV)
“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
(Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)
Would you call yourself “involved” when it comes to school? I don’t just mean you show up for classes (or log onto Zoom—thanks Covid), do your work, and any projects. By involved, I mean sports, clubs, organizations, shooting for the top grades, etc. If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding “YES!” Throughout my time in school, I was involved in sports, honor societies, clubs, and programs, and I always wanted to excel in each area. What if I told you that these activities don’t define who you are? If you are a Christian, your identity is rooted in one thing alone: Jesus Christ.
Now before I get more into the study, I do want to explain that I have absolutely nothing against being involved in different activities at school. The sports and organizations I have been a part of helped me to form lasting relationships and build skills that I’ll forever be thankful for. I hope that after this study you won’t decide to quit any sports or organizations, and blame me for it. Just understand that these things don’t define you.
Let me explain what I mean by saying our identity is rooted in Jesus Christ. When someone says, “Tell me about yourself,” I’m sure there are many things that come to mind: our hobbies, our past, the way we look, who we are related to, and so on. It’s not always easy to define who we are; we compare ourselves and wonder if we measure up. For me, it always seemed like there was always someone better at my sport, someone smarter—and the list goes on. Can I tell you something? There is someone who knows you far better than you know yourself—the One who created you.
In Psalm 139, we read, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (v.13). God, in His infinite grace and mercy, formed each of us, and He did it in an intentional manner. This same God who formed our body inside our mother’s womb has loved and cared for us each step of the way. You might be thinking, Well, how do you know that? The people who love us show it by their words, but even more so by their actions. God showed His love for us in His actions as well. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God didn’t stop at sending His Son; the plan was for us to spend an eternity in Heaven once our time here on earth is over. Also, once we have received salvation, we are given the Holy Spirit. He is there to guide us, and once we receive Him, we are never alone, even if sometimes we might feel that way. John 14:26 refers to the Holy Spirit as a “helper” because He helps to strengthen us and deepen our relationship with Christ.
Now that we’ve established how to have a relationship with Jesus, I can explain why our identity is tied to Him. When we define our identity in our school involvement, looks, or achievements, we are always going to be disappointed. It doesn’t have to be this way; when our identity is rooted in Christ, we are given joy, peace, and freedom from the expectations of ourselves and those around us. In Galatians 2:20 we read, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” When we are saved, our old, sinful self has now passed away, and we begin a new life free from the chains of sin because of Jesus’ victory over sin and death at the cross and His resurrection. We are no longer defined by our past; we are free to serve Him and live as new creatures.