by Bailey Jarnagin
CLEVELAND, Ga (TMNews) – Benjamin Garrison, middle school pastor at Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, Ga., and this May, the first Master’s graduate, encouraged his fellow students to drop their chains and find their true identity in the Lord during the weekly chapel service, April 7.
Garrison began his message by picking up a pair of chains and wrapping them around his wrists: “I want us to visualize this as something that is a representation of a burden. I want us to visualize this as something that we walk around with each and every day.”
Everyone has their own burden, and Garrison listed some that might be present in the audience. “We keep praying for revival,” said Garrison, “and my question is how can we have revival when we have this weight and we’re just staring at these chains?”
Garrison opened up to Colossians 3 to explain how the Apostle Paul was able to drop his chains despite all the anxiety and persecution in his life. “Today, what we’re going to be talking about is very simple,” Garrison prefaced. “It’s two words. In Christ.”
The first part of Colossians 3 reads, “If, then, you have been raised with Christ…” Garrison explained, “If you are a born again believer, not someone that just prayed a prayer, but you’ve abandoned yourself and surrendered to God, then this is what is made available to you.”
Continuing on through the passage of Scripture, Garrison shared what follows for one who has been raised in Christ. The first is to seek what is above, and the second is to set the mind on things that are above. “When you seek what is above,” stated Garrison, “you get a glimpse into who Christ is.”
Garrison listed: “He holds all authority. He has defeated death. He has defeated the world. He has defeated the evil one. He is our redeemer. He is our defender. He is our healer. He has reconciled us to God Himself. He is the God-man that has come and paid my sin and was buried and raised again. In Him is peace. In Him is life. In Him is our identity.”
Those who do not know Christ are spiritually dead and deprived of the vast goodness of God. However, one who knows Christ has been bought by His blood and is a new creation. Therefore, a believer’s identity is in Christ alone.
“Not only does Paul say seek the things above,” said Garrison, “but he also says set your mind on these things. Whatever our mind is set on, that will determine our steps.”
Garrison echoed the words of Paul and encouraged students to stop setting their minds on the things of the earth: “We have the Gospel. Our hope is not in this world. Our identity is not in this world. Our identity is not in this flesh.”
Not only are believers’ identities not in the world, but neither is their worth. “If you put your worth in this world, you will be depressed. If you put your worth in what your abilities are, you will be depressed. Put your worth in the One who sits at the right hand of God, who is the image of love, who is the image of glory,” urged Garrison.
The people to whom Paul wrote the letter Colossians were supposed to be putting their worth in Christ, yet they were persistently carrying around their burdensome chains, like so many Christians do today. Garrison reminded the audience believers are able to put to death the sin they are dragging through their new life with Christ.
“If you’ve been raised in Christ, you have a new self,” stated Garrison. “Today I want you to ask yourself, are you aligning yourself with the new self, or are you aligning yourself with the old self?”
Garrison concluded: “When you live in Christ, you become humble, you become loving, and you have a compassionate heart. If we truly know Christ then we must put on the new self, because that’s the essence of the Gospel.”
Bailey is a senior English major and a freelance writer for the college.Return to News Archive