I've spent this summer writing to you about identity, but all of my devotionals thus far have been "discouraging" in nature. By that, I simply mean that I'm trying to help you lose confidence in defining yourself horizontally ("I am my family, job, marriage, children, possessions, appearance, friendships, career, successes, or position).
Today, and for the next three weeks as I finish this series, I want to focus on the same topic but with an "encouraging" tone. I want to help us consider the benefits of pursuing and placing our identity vertically, in God.
The great Christian thinker John Calvin taught, "There is no knowing that does not begin with knowing God." In other words, it's only when we have God in his proper place and are celebrating who he is that we can ever truly know ourselves.
In my experience, there are three pillars of "knowing God" that are fundamental to how we define ourselves. We need to know - and more importantly, worship - God as Creator, Sovereign, and Savior in order to find our true biblical identity.
Finding Identity in God as Creator
To have a sense of identity that will not fail us when we're buffeted by the guaranteed storms of this life, we must start at the beginning and recognize that we were made by God.
David captures it so well. "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance..." (Psalm 139: 13-16a)
What powerful and amazing words! Every part of the fabric of your personhood was carefully knit together by God’s creative hands. There was no part of you that was hidden from him. He carefully examined every aspect of your unformed body before you were born.
The color of your eyes, the shape of your body, your intellectual and physical gifts, your hair, your voice, your personality, the color of your skin, the size of your feet, and more — all of your hardwiring is the result of God’s glorious creative ability. There were no accidents, no glitches, no thoughtless moments.
Now, this should be familiar to us all. We probably "know" these truths about God as Creator. But do we worship him for it? Sadly, I've experienced that while many of us worship God as Creator on Sunday, we curse his work during the week. Most of us harbor dissatisfaction with who God made us to be.
The short ones want to be taller; the tall ones want to be shorter. The intellectuals secretly wish to be athletic; the mechanically minded people secretly wish they could be more musical. The serious person wishes, just for once, that he could be the life of the party, and the guy who was given the gift to think and to teach wishes he could have been more administrative.
There are times in all of our lives when we secretly wish we could rise to the throne of Creator and remake ourselves in the image of what we would like to be. So many of our struggles are a result of us thinking that we're smarter than God. "If only I had been made ______, my life would have been better."
Let me remind and encourage you today - the world, and you, are in the best of hands . Whenever we try to take over, we end up making a mess. God never made a mistake. And that includes who you are, down to your pinky toe. Rest in your body and make the most of the gifts God gave specifically to you.
Paul David Tripp
- How is John Calvin's statement relevant to your mundane, everyday life decisions?
- Have you harbored, or are you harboring, dissatisfaction with how God created you physically?
- Have you harbored, or are you harboring, dissatisfaction with how God gifted you intellectually and spiritually?
- What can happen when we celebrate how we've been made instead of grumbling about how we haven't be made?