One time when I was having dinner with a friend, this question came to my mind: “where do you get your identity from?”

It dawned on me that Christians strangle their walk with God because they get their identity in who they are, not whose they are.

I write this as a hypocrite. As much as I’d like to find my identity in Christ holistically, it just doesn’t work that way in my present state. For instance, I find solace in thinking. I enjoy it… and because I do, I harvest a certain degree of praise when I write them down. This has become both a gift and a snare. Gift in that it gratifies me. Praise in its purest form gives the recipient joy. It feels great to be praised. No wonder children are encouraged all the more to do the things they’re praised for. The snare is though… that since one is praised for what he does, he is tempted thus to identify himself in himself rather than in Christ.

I am a Christian, not a Julian (or Juliusian). My identity is found in Christ, not myself. It is in identifying me with myself that I stumble. I would do things for my glory, not God’s. I would put on a facade in praising God, yet in the back struggling to let go. Wrong. Very very wrong.

The thought of asking “where do you get your identity from?” is self incriminating. I ended up teaching myself in asking that question to my friend. My only hope is that I taught myself enough to apply the concept faithfully.

Three thoughts came to my mind on how one can root his identity is in Christ:

- God-confidence, not self-confidence. This may strike as odd. I have learned along the way, and am still learning, that even in doing the things I’m good at, I would stop and pray, “God, teach me all over again to do these things…” reminding myself that God is wiser than my best wisdom. My confidence is found in God’s providence and teachings, not my personal evaluations. I learn a lot by asking God first. Yes, atheists may find this absurd. In the same way you can’t explain to a deaf person what the sound of good music is, you can’t explain God’s promptings to men desensitized from it.

- God-centered decision making. I believe the Bible gives clear guidelines in clothing (1 Cor 11), alcohol consumption (Romans 14), piracy (Romans 2), and homosexuality (1 Cor 9) among others. Here’s what I find: mentors who wish to gratify themselves rather than God yet still call themselves Christians will be forced to reinterpret the Bible in the areas where it condemns their actions. If one chooses to filter God’s word in light of his actions rather than filter his actions in light of God’s word, he thus finds his identify in himself rather than Christ. What Paul wrote against the Cretans may as well be applied to them. “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” (Titus 1:16) Good mentors identify with Christ through God centered decision making.

- God-Lordship modeling. Christ is not just our savior. He is also our Lord. See, even if Jesus refuses save men, he is still the Lord. But if he is not the Lord, he will never be the Savior. Only an offended Lord is worthy to save men of sins. Christians consider Jesus as their savior, not so much as Lord. Unless and until the mentor can model Goldy principles to his mentees, he is setting them up for destruction. Jesus said that whoever refuses to bear his cross is not worthy of Him (Luke 14:27). I discovered over the years that people follow actions more than words. Our good deeds are contagious. Yet our sins are even more compelling. It is perhaps why, in the words of Paul, he wrote, “follow my example as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

 

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