I think a lot can be said about us by how we identify ourselves. Are we identified by our profession, social status, gender, intelligence, accomplishments, ministry, political affiliation. . . or by the new identity the Father has given us in Jesus? Maybe there is no other identity apart from this one. Jesus says, “So therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.” We tend to think that our identity is something that belongs to us. If it does then He is asking us to give it up, and to give up ourselves. But when we become “slaves to Christ” our true identity isn’t entirely lost, instead it is fully enveloped in His. So from here I’ll begin by saying that I am Ryan, a disciple and slave of Jesus Christ.
I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where I met my wife Sarah. This is where we started our lives together, until the wandering began. After moving to Delaware we moved back to Maryland, then to Oklahoma, then to California, then to Maine, then to Virginia, and then back to Maryland again. We have four children: Eve, Honora, Peter and Paul, each of them born in a different state. The house where we now live makes the 14th in 10 years of marriage. This nomadic life of ours gives new meaning to these verses from Hebrews, speaking of Abraham, “. . .like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, . . he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:9,10). Now if Abraham felt this way about the Promised Land, I suppose we should feel even more like sojourners wherever we live. The writer of Hebrews says this of the faithful, “they acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” I accept this as part of my identity, and I intend for that to be the identity of these writings.