Thursday, February 23, 2012

Understanding Our Identity

Throughout the years, I've been amazed at how many things are out there that distract us away from our identity. We have discovered multiple ways to detach ourselves away from a focus on God. We have found it more satisfying to immerse ourselves in material things that will not last. We are so easily swayed by the latest craze. The best fit. The most popular solution. And, above all, what helps us feel better about ourselves. All of these avenues of self-discovery have shifted our hearts away from our greatest purpose: to seek the glory of God. And with that, we've turned our backs on trusting God. We've decided that there are better things we can look to than a savior who died so that we might be made blameless before a holy God. Who defeated the grave so that we might have life, and have it everlasting. We have fashioned for ourselves our own personal identification cards. We are confident that they give us meaning. We chase after them when life gets too difficult to manage. Some of them are quite colorful. You may already know most of them: Drugs,Alcohol,Sex,Porn Addiction,Pride. The list could stretch on for miles but I'm sure you get the picture. You know how effective this has made us for the Kingdom? About as productive as a wet match in a dark cave. The goal of this thought piece is to encourage a return to our roots. To see an inner self-assessment of where our hearts truly lie. To help promote a strong foundation in a Christ-centered identity.

To lay bare the reality that most of us who call ourselves Christians, though we know all the catchy bible verses, sing all the modern worship songs, believe all the right Reformed ideas; that the heartbeat of our lives doesn't reveal us as identified in Christ as we'd like to think we are.

So, let's dig for those roots.

- I'm not talking about connectable-muddy sticks hidden deep beneath the ground that grow trees.

- I'm talking about the biblical truth of Jesus Christ as the foundation of what gives us meaning.

The foundation that explains who we are. Where we're found. Why we exist.

I am reminded of Matthew 7:24-27, where Jesus is wrapping up his Sermon on the Mount to the crowds that have gathered to hear him teach. By utilizing the metaphors of two houses, (one built on rock, the other on sand), Jesus is explaining the importance of finding and placing our firm foundation in him. In trusting him, no matter what comes our way in our lives.

The wise man builds his house out of rock. He began with the knowledge that a solid foundation is crucial in being able to weather the storms that inevitably will come. The foolish man builds his house out of sand. Even the most minor of disturbances sends his foundation crumbling to the ground. He did not understand the importance of laying a framework in a foundation that will last.

To make a long, drawn-out explanation short, this is the point: The wise man obeys the words of Christ and finds his identity only in Him alone. The foolish man convinces himself there's another way. Our faith cannot be grounded in our emotions, our experiences, or in anything that points towards us, or what we can make happen on our own. Why? Because those things change over time. They are not constant. They do not provide the answers to obstacles that we do not have the power to overcome. But a strong identity rooted in Christ, will stand the test of anything. And that type of identity will never yield to pain or circumstance. We must understand that we do not have the ability to reason what is good and make a consistent effort to do it. Nothing good comes from going your own way. In thinking that you can follow Christ with your whole life, and at the same time identify yourself with a lifestyle you've created. An identity placed in anything other than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will only ever be a false sense of security developed by a prideful person. As God's creation, we are called to be identified in Christ. To live in the image of God. If, to you, that looks like something different than the daily pursuit of holiness, then I can pretty much guarantee that the image you're trying to identify with isn't from God. It's a fabrication from the world. An empty promise. An attractive lie. A foundation that is destined to fail. And an identity that is about as identifiable to a follower of Christ as a Slim-Fast label taped to a McDonald's milkshake. It's a false advertisement and it doesn't show you as found in Christ. May we see that our hearts will forever be restless until they rest in Him.

Return to your roots. Examine your heart. Do you trust Him like you claim you do? Do you identify with the Savior that made you alive when you were dead in your sin? Do you think there's something better out there? If so, the first thing you need to do is identify yourself as the problem. And recognize an unwavering faith in Christ as the solution. Build your identity upon the solid rock of Christ. The world will try to tell you it can promise you everything you think you want. The world will even attempt to give you what you think can satisfy. But the words of the world are sinking sand. Your savior is the sure-footed solid ground. Understand who you're found in, and where you're called to stand. Build there. And remain forever.