A Reflection based on Bishop Dr. David Oginde’s talk, “A Christ-Centered Identity”
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” “You have said so,” Jesus replied.
Matthew 26:59-60; 62-64
The jury already had a sentence – death! The only ingredient that bothered this kangaroo court was that Jesus had not answered to any charge. The Sanhedrin was in a frenzy of sampling various false witnesses, but none was fit for their grand scheme. Jesus watched this circus, not seeing anything worthy of a response. However, when the High Priest made an accusation on His identity, Jesus gave the mob what they needed. Jesus was clear on who He was, and He was ready to die for it. That night, it was clear that Christ would die, not for anything He had done, but because of who He was. This reality struck me as Bishop Oginde shared a message themed ‘A Christ Centered Life’ – the fact that Jesus was very clear on who He was (and is) and that His identity enabled Him to serve and to die on the cross. Tim Keller says that identity is like a stack of cards, with various experiences battling to be at the top. The task for a Christian, Tim says, is to ensure that our identity as Christians is at the top of the stack.
I became a Christian when I was in Primary School. I was 9 years old. I limped along with my Christianity until high school where I faced a major identity crisis. I was in an all-boys boarding school. I wanted the approval of my fellow adolescents. The rules of fitting in required that I be liked by girls from the neighboring girl schools. To be seen having conversations with girls, and to be counted a celebrity was the highest achievement. I wanted to be that boy. This however conflicted my Christian identity in several ways:
In school, I was a good orator and I had been awarded for my stage performances – this meant that I was famous. However, I came from the village and that was the best turn-off for most of the ‘cool’ girls. So, I had to lie and make up stories about our home in the city. Getting the attention of the ‘cool’ girls also meant talking in a certain way, dancing to some songs in a certain way, flirting…and the long list of silly things that an adolescent boy could do to get female attention.
Every time after a school event that involved interacting with girls, I found myself repenting for telling lies or doing something that contradicted my faith. I was battling with my identity.
I sobered up at some point in high school when I began reading my Bible systematically and praying. I got the courage to stop looking for girls’ attention and even wrote a letter to one of the girls that I frequently interacted with. In that letter I told her that I was a Christian and apologized for acting in a contrary manner – that was my first love letter! As my mentor and I reflected on this reality, I saw the truth that was eluding me as a Christian adolescent and the value that was nurtured through this experience. The world wanted me to get the attention of all women, yet God knew that all I needed was the attention and attraction of one woman.
At the right time, God presented me with this amazing lady with whom I share life – she is all and the only woman’s attention I need. And now, I am more aware that my identity is secure in Jesus Christ, who has helped me to recognize that one woman loving me is indeed contentment!
This post has been written by Vincent Ombaka, a member of the 2019 Cohort, Hesabika Mentorship Program