Reading Philippians 3:12-14 this past weekend I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. I noticed when Paul says “Forgetting what is behind”. A big part of what he is forgetting is who the world says he is. His identity before Christ was one wrapped in achievement, what he could do, not whose he was.
Before Christ, Paul was successful by his culture’s standard. In Paul’s own words, in Philippians 3:5, he was “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee”. He was – the man.
Yet when Christ took up residence in Paul’s heart he became a child of God. Then none of his achievement based identity mattered to him anymore. His one focus became following Christ. His mind was set on eternity.
I so resonate with Paul. On the outside, I did it all right. I got good grades, worked hard, went to college, gained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and then my MBA. I became a leader in my mid-twenties and by the time I turned thirty I reached all of my career goals.
And then…I feel apart because I didn’t know who I was.
I only knew what I should do to be considered successful in this world. Yet when I reached that success it did not fulfill me. But I was stuck because if I wasn’t achieving something – I was no one. And being no one scared me more than being unfulfilled.
God showed me when you don’t know who you are you don’t know how to be.
To show you how God shifted my identity below is an expert from a counseling session back in 2010.
My worth is in what I can do, how I can help others and what I can accomplish in 24 hours. With Christ’s help I can do even more perhaps BE a superhero of productivity! When I don’t do everything on my list, everything that I think I can do and everything I have promised, I am nothing. Then I procrastinate and can’t even do the small things. All I want to do is crawl under a rock. On the outside I am strong, I am independent, I am accomplished but on the inside I am weak, I am lost, I am lonely, I am empty, I am tired, I have no joy and I am exhausted. I am the things that I do. Actions are who I am therefore I cannot fail at anything because I will BE nothing.
I am a child of God. Because I am His child He loves me. Nothing I do can make Him love me more. He loves me as I am.
Like Paul, with my new identity rooted in Christ, most days, what I once valued – I no longer care about. When God changed my heart He grounded me in Him.
Like Paul, and everyone reading this, I am a daily work in progress. There are days where I fall off the boat and where I fail but I have given Christ my heart and He always picks me back up and we continue the journey.
Do you receive this today? Do you receive your identity as a child of the one true God?
My prayer for you today is that you know whose you are as you seek how to BE. And that God’s word is louder than anything else you hear. That you know you are His. You are enough right now as you are.