*This is the first in a series of posts about identifying and living a Checkpoints life.*
This past week was my first in reading about and recognizing an area of life that I, and many men, have a problem identifying.
Many of us cannot pinpoint our identity. Having our identity is vitally important so we not only know who we are, but who we are in Christ. Beginning in adolescence, young men begin to identify with positions they hold; student, athlete, teenager, friend, et cetera. As these young men mature into adulthood, the positions change to worker, father, husband. The thinking may not change though.
We have to learn that we are not the positions we occupy. If we were to lose our position, who would we be? This is the crux of week one.
There are five subjects that need to be understood, to help us focus on our identity in Christ, and not the positions that we hold.
The first checkpoint on our mission to understanding our identity is PRIDE. It is the sin that is foundational to all others. Pride will have men doing things that are completely out of the will of God for their lives. When men are fueled to gain worldly riches for example, is it to advance the Kingdom, or show off to others? Checking the heart is important in knowing what drives the desires. Is it Christ, or self?
Once we understand that pride is the main cause of us failing to recognize our identity, every thing else is based off of it. PERFORMANCE-BASED ACCEPTANCE (PBA) is an offshoot of pride. We tend to feel better about ourselves if we do well. Society is geared toward showering accolades on those who “do good” or are good at something. Sports is an illustration of this.
If an athlete makes a winning play, they’re cheered for; if they make a game costing play, they’re derided. God is the complete opposite. He specializes in acceptance-based performance, also known as grace. There is nothing we can do for Him, but He loves us anyway. Because of this, we should strive to live according to His commandments.
FAILURE. Many fear it, but it’s presence is not a negative. Failure is an opportunity to be used by God. It could possibly be a lesson God wants to teach us…or someone else. That’s one of the wonderful things about God.
He can use us and our experiences for the benefit of others. It may be hard to understand, but failure can also be God’s way of protecting us. Some things we want to do may be harmful to us. God will put roadblocks up to make sure we fail at achieving our own desires. He, in essence, is saving us from ourselves.
When we fail at something, if we don’t recognize that God is in control of the situation, we can develop RESENTMENT. Resentment for: not achieving a desired goal, someone having what should rightly be ours, not being further along in life or a situation. It’s fueled by a lie we allow ourselves to believe. The lie is that failure is not an option. What feeds the lie? Performance-based acceptance, based on societal standards. What feeds the PBA though? Pride. It’s all like stackable blocks.
Do you wonder why resentment is such an issue? Because FALSE EXPECTATIONS feeds into it as well. Society tells us what our status should be at a given time. What kind of car we should have, the schools we should attend, even what our bodies should look like. This is a problem because we look at the world, and not what Christ says.
The Bible says our hope should be in Christ. It also says seek “the kingdom of God first”, and the rest will take care of itself. God knows what we need, so He has that covered. We need to be humble enough to let Him do what He’s going to, and not get in his way. Once we do this, we’ll also see that our identity is not based off of this world at all.
Instead, we’ll show the world that it doesn’t dictate who we are, but Jesus Christ does.