Identity “theft”

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”- Philippians 3:7

“The gospel doesn’t just free you from what other people think of you, it frees you from what you think of yourself.”- Justin Buzzard

As Tullian Tchividjian begins Chapter 7 (“Grace in Everyday Life”) of One Way Love, he observes that all of us are perfomancists in some arena, wired for control and proving.  When our identity has been skewered following our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, we most likely feel compelled to justify our existence.

Our loss of identity, Pastor Tchividjian points out, is “where the rubber of grace meets the road of everyday life in an especially palpable way.”  He then contrasts an identity based on law with one based on grace.

Identity based on law:

1.  is earned, like a paycheck

2.  is defined by our own efforts and attributes

3.  involves getting

4.  is centered on our actions

Identity based on grace:

1.  is bestowed, like a gift

2.  is based on God’s efforts and attributes

3.  involves receiving

4.  is centered on faith

Grace divests achievement, reputation, education, etc. of the weight they were never meant to bear in the first place, so they can be enjoyed and appreciated without being worshipped.

Today’s question: What did your ministry downsizing or vocation loss reveal about the primary source of your identity?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the new Short Meditation, “Our (second) best friend”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Self-forgetfulness”

About the author

Dave Henning

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