I’ve spent my 25 years on this earth finding my identity and purpose in various ways – not all of them healthy. Today begins a three part series on the sources of our identity. Is it based on stuff, accomplishments, or Christ?
I used to think I mattered because of what I owned. I especially loved having things that were unique and special. My collection of bad superhero and kung-fu movies was quite extensive I also had a very large book collection – four bookshelves full – which I loved to show off. My favorite was the Aussie Bible.
Christ talks to a Man who finds his identity in a similar way. In Mark 10, the Rich Young Ruler approaches Jesus. I find it interesting that this man is identified based on his possessions – he’s rich, and everybody knows it.
Christ asks the Rich Young Ruler to do one thing in order to follow Him – sell his stuff. Christ is not asking the Man to live a life of poverty. Instead, He’s asking the Man to find his self worth not in his money and possessions, but in Christ alone.
In grappling with this task, the Rich Young Ruler walks away sad. He can’t do what Jesus asks – giving up his identity based on his stuff is just too difficult.
In the same way, giving up the identity I found in my things was hard. It didn’t mean that I had to get rid of all of my books – I still have quite the collection. Instead, it involved a change of perspective. I stopped looking at myself as an eclectic movie aficionado and book collector. With a change in perspective I began to see myself as a Follower of Christ who enjoyed books and movies.
It may seem like a subtle distinction, yet it was huge for me. After defining myself in Christ first, my behavior became more Christ-centered.
Question: Where are you finding your identity? What needs to be done to put Christ first?