I was at my parents house a few weeks ago and as I got up to leave I said these words.
"Right, Uncle James had better go home now"
It occurred to me at that point that neither my niece or nephew was present :) After everyone had enjoyed a short 'laugh at James' session I left.
However since that moment I've been thinking about what I said. What would posses me to refer to myself as 'Uncle James' to my Mother, Father and Brother?
I guess the answer is that being an uncle has become so significantly a part of my identity that I have come to think of myself in that role. This practice might sound a little strange but think about it. People like my mother have 'Mum' as their primary identity, my Grandmother thinks of her self as 'Nana', and I have (without a lot of conscious thought) taken on the identity of uncle.
I have other identities too, for example My brother likes to call me Jeeves. This may sound strange but I love that nick name because (for me at least) if conjures up the image of the efficient servant, always striving to do that best for his master. That's an identity I try to build into my persona, into my actions. I want to be, a servant of Jesus, a servant of others, and some who helps others to achieve their best.
Other times we take on identities that are not good for us, 'geek', 'fool'. Now I like to refer to myself as a 'professional computer geek' and I think it is important to recognise our status as sinners, in our need for God's forgiveness, and certainly at times I've been a fool. But if we take those kinds of 'names' or identities upon ourselves they can hurt us.
Anyway, It's kind of cool to see a new part of my identity forming. When I add a new facet my identity it shows that I'm growing as a person. In the future I hope to add more, Husband, Father, Pastor (well in someways I already am), etc.
This got me thinking, as Christians there are 'identities' we should be taking upon ourselves.
The first one that came to mind was that we are 'priests' (assuming you follow the prodestant view of the priesthood of all believers). Just as I have to grow in understanding how to be an uncle to my niece and nephew (and to my other nephew who is on his way) we should learn to become and accept the identity put on us through Christ. As 'priests' we are able to pray for others, talk to God, offer ourselves as a living sacrifice etc.
A friend of mine shared last night how they had (on a missions trip no less!) been told they couldn't prayer for people, that praying for others was for the elders! Those words had stuck with them for a long time, making them shy away from publicly praying for other believers. A vital part of their Identity was missing, I think they realise that now and are stepping into their priesthood, Exciting times!
Can you think of other 'identities' we should take on as Christians?
Hints: See Cat's side bar, Matt 19:14, Eph 5:24-25 (now that's a weird one for a guy to accept!)