by Andrew Jewell
Identity is a funny thing. It can lead us into places of great security or great insecurity. Many a philosopher has encouraged the acolyte to weigh the gravity of their own identity before starting their long journey into understanding the deeper mysteries of life.
As Christians we are assured that our identity, who we are at our core rests in Jesus Christ. But as human beings it is easy to listen to the voice of the secular world and seek out who we are simply in ourselves, as if the two can be separated.
‘Give of who you are, not simply of what you have. As who you are is in Him and in Him is who you are..’ ~ Andrew Jewell
My argument would be that who we are cannot be separated from our identity in Christ, you and I were chosen, predestined to be set apart and bought with a price. Paul draws clearly to this in his 1st letter to the Corinthians;
‘You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for by Christ]; then do not yield yourselves up to become [in your own estimation] slaves to men [but consider yourselves slaves to Christ].’ (1 Cor 7:23*)
Why then do we choose to often give of what we have instead of who we are?
To clarify, much of the focus in this world is on giving out of what we have to give, not just material possessions but also time, skills and talent. But as Christians shouldn’t our focus rather be on what He has to give through us? Giving of ourselves means to also give of the Father, by the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ.
We in and of ourselves alone have finite reserves, we only have so much energy, so much money, so much time. Does it not make more sense then to give freely of the Father’s resources of abundance. Of a Creator God that is not limited by time, of the riches of heaven and of the gifts of love.
So why make this point? In my day job as a counsellor I see a lot of tired people, people tired of giving beyond their resources to hold a relationship together, go that extra mile at work or simply be a good parent. Their reserves are low and they are near to breaking.
Even as Christians we fall into the same traps of trying to give out of our own identity. To handle problems on our own, give more, work more, spend more time, develop self, exercise, meditate, pray… and the list goes on.
But I wonder what happens when we turn our focus to the Father. To tap into His resources to not only sustain us, but guide us as to how we spend what resources we have, to help us prioritise and walk in conscious Faith.
What happens when instead of helping the stranger on the street because we feel broken for them, we help them because we are allowing God to minister to them?
What happens when we are too exhausted to pray if we allow God to pray for and with us?
And what happens when instead of flogging ourselves at work we instead pour that energy into seeking the Father’s will for us in our work?
It is in these times that find our true identity, our inheritance in Christ and the riches of heaven. Not apart from us, but in us because of Who’s we are and Who’s we choose to be.
‘God starts where we stop’
I often speak of the fact that God starts where we stop because His strength endures long after ours has faded.
I wonder what would happen if we decided to stop in our own strength sooner and made a place for God to start?