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I'm afraid that even as Christians, many of us have forgotten who we are. We fail to worship God for who He is and what He has done, so we no longer define ourselves vertically. Instead, we seek after horizontal replacement identities that are tempting but leave us empty. I call it Identity Amnesia, and it's very dangerous.
The cure for Identity Amnesia is worship. When we truly worship God (more than just on Sundays), then we can begin to truly know who we are. So over the next three weeks, we're going to explore three pillars of worship that support a vertical identity.
Pillar 1: Vertical identity is rooted in worshiping God as Creator
You need to fully and completely recognize that you were made by God. I won't insert it here, but David captures it so well in Psalm 139:13-16. They're such 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. There were no accidents, no glitches, no thoughtless moments. Just like David, you too were "fearfully and wonderfully" made.
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 - everything! All of your hardwiring is the result of God's glorious creative ability. The "package" that created you comes from His hand.
Now, as familiar as all of this is, it's nonetheless important. I'm deeply persuaded 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 has made us to be. There are times in all of our lives when we secretly wish we could rise to the throne of creation and remake ourselves in the image of what we would like to be.
Worshiping God as Creator also means recognizing that I was made for him. If I compose and paint a painting, it belongs to me as a testament to my artistic ability. The same is true of us. If God made us, then we belong to him as a testament to his creative glory. The fact is that you and I were never meant to live for our own success and glory. Every day we're meant to live like our lives belonged to Another.
This "I belong to Another" lifestyle was meant to shape our marriages, parenting, friendship, and careers. It was meant to shape the way we approach position and possessions. As a creature, your life belongs to Another, and so your life is part of His dream.
Worshiping God as Creator also means that we exist through him. As Creator, he alone is the giver of life. True life cannot be found outside him. The Apostle Paul says, "he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else" (Acts 17: 25, 28). If he is our Creator, then he is also our Sustainer, our constant life source and incessant provider of everything we need. And the moment we look for life outside of him, we'll become enslaved to that which we think will give us life.
- How may you be failing to celebrate whom the Creator wired you to be?
- In what ways may you be "taking your life as your own?"
- This week, how can you live for Another?
- Where might you be looking for life outside of the Creator?
- What are some of the things that only Jesus Christ is able to provide (from Acts 17:25, 28)?
Paul David Tripp