I’m a mixed up British Asian guy. I’m a Christian too. I write and produce songs for artists and head up a national young people’s organisation called Naujavan (which means ‘young people/youth’ in Hindi). I’m definitely British. I’m definitely Asian. I think and talk a lot about vision. I’m interested in strategy. I’m engaged and due to be married later this year. I chose my wife-to-be, but have plenty of friends who didn’t choose theirs. I play indoor football every Monday night. My mum speaks Gujarati and my dad speaks Punjabi. They both speak English. I only speak English. Most people assume I’m an extrovert. I’m definitely not. I find myself wearing all these different hats and I’m undecided if my head was designed to fit them all.
With such a sprawling set of headings that appear to frame me, that looming question of ‘who am I?’ resurfaces more than I’d like. Even without the cultural smash that is my life, I’m aware we all suffer with that distant, yet aching crisis of identity.
I wonder if you’re like me? So often defined by title, role, position, religion, family, culture, past and future, that in the end most of these labels have lost their meaning in part or even fully. Or perhaps you cling to those labels to find some sense of truth? What does saying, ‘I’m a Christian’ even represent anyway?
Ephesians 2:19 says: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” True identity is so simply seen in this one sentence. No matter who you are or where you came from, you’re at home with God and His people. The verse before says we have access to the father through Jesus, by the Spirit. God, Himself, is a community and we get to be part of that. In fact it’s even more mind-blowing – I was undoubtedly made for Him, to be part of that very community. Suddenly I think I’ve found my place.
I love that the early Church was known as ‘The Way’. I love that it wasn’t just a title, but a brand new identity adopted and owned by all who believed. It went beyond job title or status and transformed the religious hype of the day.
Does our faith in Jesus act as our ultimate definition? It goes further than calling myself a Christian. We’ve all met Christians who haven’t actually grasped its meaning at all. Sometimes labels are dangerous in definition, banding together the not-actually with the real deal. For those of other faiths, in Britain particularly, this is so misleading that it can actually undermine Jesus, almost directly linking Him to the messed-up, selfish and greedy culture that’s all around. What a misuse of all it was designed to represent.
If we are to be labelled anything, label us… loved. From that place, we can hope to see real unity as we work together using the unique position and gifts God has given us. Without fail these words inspire me to know whose I am and what I was made for:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Dear God, help me to live like I belong to you. Help me to know I’m yours, and to reflect your light to all I meet today. Amen.