I spoke recently with a senior vice president of a local bank. During a recent job change he was asked to clear his old office and then be escorted out the door. He told me that he took a small cardboard box and put everything that belonged to him. He said to me, “as I walked out of my office door for last time and looked into my box and what little I had to show for a successful eleven-year career…. a nameplate, a plaque or two, and a few other incidental items…. I was struck with the question of my identity: who am I without a corner office and a title to go with it? When you take all that away– who am I, really?” Like my friend, we have a tendency to identify ourselves with what we do and what we have; as Christians, our identity is not based on the fluctuating circumstances of this life. Rather, our identity is based upon a vital connection with Jesus Christ– something that will never change either in this life or the one to come! Our self-worth is based upon God’s unchanging and faithful love for us, and what it means to know and be known by Him.
It is exciting to see men who are unpacking this truth and the resulting freedom it brings to their lives. People who find their identity in temporal things (positions and possessions) are in bondage to them, because if they ever loose them they’ve lost their sense of self-worth and identity. Thus, they live in constant fear rather than enjoying the freedom they’ve been offered. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us would have to admit that we are more attached to our positions and possessions for our personal identity than we should. Let us remember that what matters most is not “who” we are but “whose” we are, and that will never change!
“For YOU ARE a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a people for God’s own possession—that we may proclaim His excellencies…” (I Peter 2:10)