Somewhere on the road of trying to find my identity in Christ I have been met with a dangerous temptation to find my identity in a new Christian stereotype. I’m a young adult, I live in Nashville, I sing, I’m helping with a church plant, and I think I have just enough Instagram followers to fit into this new trendy breed of believers (though I don’t have a Hebrew tattoo yet). As cliché as it may be, often my sweetest moments with Jesus are when I’m praying via a Moleskine journal, hand-crafted coffee mug in hand, all while Hillsong United and Elevation Worship blast from my iHome.

Hear me out. Followers of Jesus can drink good coffee and listen to good music and even have “sick” tattoos. But if all of that was stripped away, would it change anything? I’m burdened to think that in many cases, it would. It is so easy to say we find our identity in Christ when we are really seeking our identity in a Christian brand of cool. We hide behind an identity that society accepts rather than simply hiding in Christ.

It is not a sin to be hip, but I want to challenge us to think about what utter surrender to Jesus Christ looks like.

What if Jesus called you to kill the cool?

What if Jesus called you to minister in a place where you couldn’t post Instagram photos with cute kids? What if Jesus called you to a church home where the pastor’s sermons weren’t available as podcasts? What if the body of believers Christ surrounded you with were unschooled people and not a sanctified version of_ Mumford and Sons_? What if being a follower of Jesus meant you had less or no Twitter followers? Is Jesus really all you need?

I absolutely love John the Baptist and I love even more what Christ said about him. Here is the man God used to prepare the way for the Savior and this man is a freak from the wilderness. John the Baptist was not cool, and to be honest Christ himself doesn’t sound like such a trend setter either:

He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him (Isaiah 53:2-4).

Jesus doesn’t need your cool for his Kingdom. He doesn’t need us to be famous to make himself famous. Jesus works beautifully through our brokenness and completely through our surrender.

We can keep having our Bible studies at Starbucks and keep rocking those flannels, but we need to find our identity in Christ alone. He is the only solid foundation. And when he calls us to surrender something — anything —, we should just do it. Jesus is worth everything.

updated November 2021

Photo Credit: Octavio Fossatti