If you ask any Christian, “what defines you?”, chances are they’ll answer in harmony with other believers around the world: “Christ. It’s Christ who defines me.”
This is a good answer. This is the very best answer, in fact. But is it the real answer?
Living in our culture of competition, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the race for success and significance. Success and significance as defined by the world, that is. As believers we know that the world’s recipe for these things is a mirage. Yet it’s a very convincing mirage, because it’s one we find ourselves falling for, time and time again.
On Boundless, Allison Barron writes about the “10 Things That Don’t Define You.” In her list she names the things that vie for our attention: occupation, wealth, education, gender and race, just to name a few. But she goes even deeper: relationship status, romantic interests, health, appearance, and even emotions. It’s a thought-provoking list, to be sure; one that even the strongest, most grounded believer will have trouble ignoring. Why? Because all these 10 things all fall under one category, one main thing that competes for our attention:
It’s our flesh—the thing we feel and experience day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute—that competes with Christ. Though our flesh, and the world we live in, is a gift given to us by God Himself, it was never meant to overshadow the giver. The great, visible reality was never meant to eclipse the even greater, invisible reality of who Christ is. Barron writes,
“Though all the items on this list are part of who I am, they aren’t what define me; they aren’t why I’m valuable as a human being. When Jesus was on earth, He didn’t care about any of these things. He loved people who were poor and people who were rich, women and men, educated and uneducated.”
The truth is that though we know Christ as being the source of our identity, we have trouble living into that reality. So when your flesh seems to come front and center, remember the truth Barron reminds us of in Galatians 2:20: "For I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."
I love these closing words by Barron:
“I’m valuable because I am loved by a God whose love is never-ending. My identity is not found in any of the things above, because they won’t last; it’s based on Someone bigger than myself, who knows me and created me.”
I would encourage you to go through this list and, one by one, and pray over each of the 10 areas in your life. Crucify each of them, laying them down and allowing God to breathe new life into every single area. Because God’s goal isn’t to steal away your identity, but to transform it—making it not just beautiful, but eternal.
“And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20b
Cristina Rutkowski is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com.
Article date: August 4, 2017
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