Missional Man Podcast
Tools for the modern Christian man.

Ep#012: John Bohannon, Identity & Legalism

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Summary & Intro

john bohannon

John Bohannon – Christ-follower, hubby, daddy of two (boy and a girl), ex-legalist, lover of Christian hip hop, fellow Rand Paul enthusiast, political thinker, Financial Advisor and Investment Manager, business owner and entrepreneur, idea guy and all around great, goofy fun guy to hang with.

Recap & Synopsis

Listen this week as John Bohannon and I  discuss identity and legalism: finding your identity based on your performance or adherence to rules and laws instead of Jesus. John and I became good friends and helped lead a church plant in southern Georgia for about 3 years. During that time, John and I both were made aware of and set free from a lot of legalism and performance-based Christian living. John opens up very transparently about his own struggle through legalism from his conversion to his current relationship with Jesus. Our conversation is fun and filled with encouragement. I know you’ll leave encouraged and empowered to say “no” to the law of God and the lie of working hard to please God and instead walk in the love and already acceptance of the Father based on Jesus and what He did, not what we do.

*The following are my favorite top quotes from John and I. Use them freely and widely, but please offer credit where credit is due. Thanks.


I find my identity in other peoples’ approval of me. It always mattered to me what people thought. I defined who I was by what other people thought of me. When you put your value in other people, that junk is gonna fall short anytime.

It’s taking those opportunities to secure your identity in God and running wild with it.

Where in the Bible does it say, “as long as you’re reading a chapter in Matthew a day you’ll be loved by God.” It doesn’t exist. But we attach these rules to ourselves everyday.

Ultimately in our society we are judged by what we create or accomplish, for better or worse.

Whenever you believe that your level of acceptance of other people, of God or in general is to perform well, that’s gonna wreak havoc on anybody.

It’s a beautiful thing when you don’t have to fear other people’s opinions, actions or what they think of you.

It surprises me all the time when I let anger define me or let those things define my life. Or in business when I deal with clients and think “aw I shouldn’t have said that, it was stupid.”

On the one hand we look at stories like the life of David, but we look at these guys and look at them as demigods, men closest to God. But when you look at their stories and the life they lived you realize these guys are similar to us. They struggled and sinned and doubted. If we were to look at David and define him by the things that he did, we would look at him totally differently instead of as “a man after God’s own heart”. Why do we treat men in the Bible different and give them more grace to fail then ourselves? (Jonathan)

One of my favorite passages in the Bible of all time is Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

The only reason we even begin to fight and get heated and angry and separate ourselves from brothers and sisters over these topics is because we define ourselves by these subjects instead of the one who wrote about them.

Within our Christian subculture as a Church we are just as guilty of A) replacing God with something else or B) defining our identity in what we do or what we believe. I believe ABC and so that’s who I am. The last time I checked the Church is not an institution but a body. Not an organization but an organism. A people. (Jonathan)



Action Round (1 Take-away & 1 Action-Item)

1 TA (One take-away for YOU to think about)

To celebrate your salvation well and on a regular basis. Celebrate along with God and what He’s done. Free yourself to be happy with joy over your salvation. Even if God is disciplining me, if things don’t seem to be going right, if my thought pattern is continuing to go back to God then I’m a child of God. Be happy.

1 AI (One action-item for YOU to go do.)

Don’t be afraid to have people over and throw a party. For men, making friends is a big part of it. Open yourself up to somebody you trust. Be yourself around somebody you trust who points you to Christ. Waiting won’t make it happen. Go and make friends. Be a good friend to somebody first.


John on Facebook

Favorite Resource on this Topic

At the end of the day, the only thing I’ve ever found that causes me to recenter and come back to the reality of Christ is: the Bible. Read it, meditate for a minute, listen to and for God, interact with the Holy Spirit and let it sink in a bit. It’s amazing to see how the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to things and people in your life.

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