I attended training last week for my job. The facilitator started the day by asking us to introduce ourselves and share what identities we brought with us. As individuals first shared their names and work titles, the most common identities named included “Advocate” and “Educator.” I noticed that some people struggled with the question and did not answer by naming an identity. My identity at the training was “Advocate” for the system-impacted individuals in our society.
What other identities do we have?
God names three in 2 Timothy 2:1-7. Today we consider each one as we reflect on how we lived our lives last week. We are all these identities simultaneously every minute, but one can come to the forefront to guide us with whatever we are facing in each particular moment. Though I was also all three of these identities at training this week, Advocate was at the forefront in that moment of introduction.
Reflecting on our last week, did we live out our identity as a “soldier” well?
- Did we wake up and put on God’s armor along with our clothes?
- Were we cognizant of fighting for the Kingdom of God throughout the day instead of our personal agendas?
- Did we slip over into enemy territory by believing a lie and acting on what was not true?
- Did we live with purpose and not get entangled in unnecessary side issues and activities?
5And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.
My daughter is an athlete, and how she lives her life makes that obvious. She works out, signs up to play for teams every season, and competes year-round. You may not be an athlete in sports, but what about asking these questions as we consider our last week?
- Can people tell we are in spiritual training by watching our life’s activities?
- Are we living a life of discipline and habit. Though chaos occurs, is it clear our lives have some anchors in keeping focused on God and relying on His strength and wisdom?
- Are we consuming God’s Word like we are consuming food?
- Are we praying consistently and fervently? Is prayer in our schedule?
- Can people tell from our schedule that we are pursuing first the Kingdom of God?
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)
Today, I pair this with Ecclesiastes 11:6: Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
A farmer plants seeds at the right time each year then let’s God do His work, causing them to grow, or not grow. The growing decisions have always belonged to God, not us. Yes, the farmer watches weather, fertilizes the land, but also lives knowing that God is growing the seeds in unseen places. The farmer trusts that God is in charge and makes trips to the fields with hope. As we reflect on last week, did we plant seeds for God to grow?
- Are we trying to make the seeds grow, or trusting God will do so?
- Are we planting seeds for God’s story (God’s truth, God’s perspective), or our story (you are like a god trying manipulate results)?
- Are we okay knowing that some of our seeds will grow and others will not, that some will grow immensely and others only moderately?
- Are our seeds planted in self-effort and for worldly favor, or sown in faith for the God who sees in secret?
How did we do?
Whatever the answers, there is no shame. Praise God for the victories, confess to God the mistakes, make adjustments, and keep pressing onward. Personally, as I reflected on these questions, I lived out my identity as a farmer the best. Soldier came in second, and athlete came in last. Like you, I will praise God for the grace He provided to be a farmer (in my case), and confess my failings as a solider and athlete. I went to my computer before my bible on most mornings (soldier failing), and I gave up on my anchor plans to take care of my physical body almost each day. If I want to serve the Lord and people for as long as possible, I need to follow the rules (athlete failing). After praise and confession, like you, I will grab hold of Philippians 3:12: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)
What other identities do we have?
God used Freedom in Christ ministries to change my life by helping me live out what is true of me as a child of God. For example, I am forgiven (Colossians 1:14), I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20), I am an ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20), and I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You get the idea. Imagine if we lived out our true identities instead of what the world says our identities are or the people in our lives label us as.
We would change the world.
Picture Explanation: The men I celebrate on Father’s day.
Speaking of grappling with the realities of how God views us and our identities in Christ: If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study in 2023, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and contact me by email. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity!
Disclaimer: No part of my work derives from using A.I. in any way. The thoughts and writing are my own.
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