One of the things the Lord has taught me as I grew is this little tip – Declare your Identity! Again, this is not restricted to the NYSC period alone, as you keep going into different situations in life, you will need to declare who you are and I said, first and early! Whenever you find yourself in a new environment, new compound, new place of work, new school, new hostel or even new country; wisdom is to declare your Identity first.
1Pet 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:”
I’m sure you know who you are? Let me just remind you… You’re a child of the most high, you carry the life of Christ in you, you’re a Christian. You’re to shine as light and show forth Christ-likeness. You are there to fulfil a specific purpose, your present location is not a mistake, the Lord has deliberately positioned you there for something. You’re there to write your Story! You’re to be an example in what and how you speak, in your thought and in what and how you behave; a standard for unbelievers and an example for believers alike… That’s your Identity!
So Declare it.
So beloved, it’s time to declare that identity of yours! Peter said, ‘Show forth his praises…’ Declaring is in two dimensions – Speaking and Doing. It is important to speak your Identity. It is critical to say you’re a Christian. You’ve left the environment where people know who you are. Don’t hide the fact that you’re a Christian. Say it, say it everywhere and to everyone who cares to know. Let your students know you, let fellow corpers know you, let the villagers know it, let other teachers and the school authority know you are a Christian. If they talk about going to parties, don’t just walk away, tell them you’re a Christian, you don’t do such. If they talk about helping the students cheat, tell them you’re a child of God, you can’t do it.
But you must back up your words with action! When you say, make sure you do. Saying is only an introduction, doing is a confirmation. The truth is many said before you and turned back on what they said. So declaring also means showing that you’re a Christian. Please go to work early, don’t be the one that arrives school at 9am when school opens at 7:45am. Don’t be the one the principal has to shout at and has to remind you before going to class to teach. Find out what should be done and do extra. Write your lesson notes and Plan, go to class, teach your students. Your standing against sin will be useless if you don’t live above standard. You will be callous and wicked if you say you don’t want to teach the students in the exam hall (because it’s a sin) and yet you don’t teach them well to prepare them to do their exam on their own. It doesn’t make any sense to say a guy should not touch you sexually (because it’s a sin) and yet your dressing is exposing and provocative.
Back up your words with action my dear; declaring is Saying and Doing!
Declare it First.
I discovered that several know the right thing to do, but many are waiting for who will do it first; so I appointed myself as the first to do right! The issue of declaring your stand about Christ and about norms must be done first and if need be alone. You cannot afford to wait for a group of people to do it well. Whereas company is good (especially if it’s good company), you don’t follow God as a group but as an individual. Others may be an encouragement to you, but even if you’re the only one, take your stand. Don’t connive with others to fight your school principal, don’t wait for others to do what you know is right. Go ahead and do it. This may draw persecution your way (like it did for me), others may think you’re only doing eye-service but consistency over time will prove that’s just ‘who you are’, a Christian!
Declare it Early
And this must be done early… Delay can be dangerous. Waiting till you go to church before people know you as a Christian may have spoilt many things. From the very first day, take every opportunity to declare your Identity. Let it be unmistakably clear you’re not like every other person that wear the same white and green clothes. Start from day one, Declare in your interactions, in the way you speak and act and dress, in how you relate, in everything you do… Let it be a guided way of displaying by your words and actions that you’re a child of God. It will save you a lot and settle many things for the rest of the year.
Keep Declaring it
Finally, this should become your lifestyle. Whereas declaring your Identity early helps you throughout the entire year and your stay where you are, you must be consistent with showing forth that Christlike Identity. Everywhere you go, anytime and to everyone, Declare your Identity and live by it!
May God help us. Kindly share your experience below in the comment section if you have had such an experience before.