, Muskogee, OK

October 21, 2013

Identity is more than what you look like

By Barrett Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— Fort Gibson is unique in that even though our world has changed in many ways, our little town has held on to its identity as a fort, or a place to find refuge.

You can also drive through Muskogee and see many old buildings and businesses that take you back in time to the old days.

You could say our area has been blessed to overflowing. The question is whether we will continue to improve our community, or go the way that so many other cities and towns across America have gone, resulting in lifestyles and community standards that are not family friendly.

It is also important for us as Christians to hold on to our identity and take seriously our responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ to others.

One of the biggest problems God’s children, the Israelites, had in the Old Testament is that they lost their identity. This happened as time passed by and they began to intermarry with non-believers and even worship their false gods.

Often, this would happen after God blessed the Jewish people with military victories in new lands.

But instead of destroying the enemy and everything they owned as God ordered, they would disobey by sparing certain people and items of value they wanted to keep for themselves.

This not only resulted in intermarriage with pagans, but God’s people often wound up altering their own religious beliefs, which also altered their commitment to God.

For decades now, technology has been changing the way our society operates, both in method and in speed.

We have become sophisticated in ways that past generations could have barely imagined. Even tractors these days have air conditioning, radios, and comfortable seats!

Local communities and plain ole folks like us have access to new frontiers around the world.

Progress is a great gift, and we must be good stewards of what we have been blessed with. God never intended for his people to sit still all of the time. He wants us to use our time wisely, grow our talents, and find ways of creatively making a Godly impact on people.

However, it is important for God’s people to remain obedient to His word if we expect to have a proper relationship with Him (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).

Just because we have the ability to do everything faster and more efficient does not mean that all change is for the better, especially if we change who we are at the core.

It is still important for individuals and families to use God’s word as our measuring stick instead of justifying worldliness based on what society has said is appropriate.

At the end of the day, we must all remember where blessings come from.

David was not perfect by any means, but he knew the source of all good things.

He said, “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge.

He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm18:1-2).” God still wants to be that fortress and refuge in whom we can find our identity even today.

Have a great week!