Friday, October 22, 2010

Kenosis: Giving Up Our Identities

What is our identity? Some of us are many things… Father, son, mother, daughter, pastor, factory worker, manager, Christian, atheist, gay, straight, single, married, male, female… you get the point. We are all defined by something or some things, whether it is who we are, what we do, or what we have done. We all have an identity.

These identities that we carry around with us often unite us with others… others who are similar to us or have been through some of the same things we have, or to those who hold the same beliefs as we do. However, our identities also separate us from people and produce what is sometimes called “the other”. You know, those people who are not like us and who may even be considered our enemies because of their different identities, nationalities, and/or beliefs.

As Christians, how are we to deal with those who are different known as “the other.” Sadly, many times we feel that certain races, certain nationalities, certain social classes, and of course, certain religious beliefs are good reasons to separate ourselves from one another.

Paul addresses some of these same kinds of issues in the book of Galatians when he says,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ.”

What Paul says here is that all of our identities seem to disappear in Christ Jesus. In Christ we give up our identities… who we are. When we come to the table of Christ, we are not coming as many different denominations or as conservatives and liberals…instead we come to the table with something in common, the body and blood of Christ. We give up our identity; this process is often referred to as Kenosis and is something that directly relates us to Christ.

Kenosis is the word used in Philippians 2:6-7 which says.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness...”

through the incarnation, God himself gave up his identity to become like one of us.

So next time we are tempted to separate ourselves from those who are different than we are or from those who simply have different beliefs than we do, may we remember that we are all one in Christ Jesus and through Him have all things in common.

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