If I asked a group of men, "who are you?", the majority would include their profession in their answer. We have deeply connected who we are with what we do.
A few years back I was hanging out with a large number of men in Kenya and one common theme stuck out to me. After introducing myself, the Kenyan men would say this:
"Hello, my name is ________ and I've been saved by the grace of Jesus Christ."
It happened so often that it literally became the most impactful part of the trip for me.
Unlike me, their identity wasn't connected to what they did, but rather, who they were in Christ.
They weren't simply carpenters, electricians, or farmers. They were sons of the Most High God. It was the truest thing about them and it impacted every other area of their life.
For the majority of us, the title of "Christian" typically falls deep on the list of things that identify us. This is most evident when we meet someone new for the first time. Within minutes, the other person knows our name, where we live, what we do for work, and possibly even a bit about our family. But rarely do they learn that we are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. That reality has yet to consume us and therefore rarely makes it's way into conversation.
As Christian husbands and fathers, we play a dangerous game when we allow anything to shape our identity outside of Christ. By doing this, we will either fall into the temptation of pride, or the unnecessary trap of inadequacy.
On one end of the spectrum we have those who take deep pride in what they do. They are shaped by their work and find great security in their job title. Their confidence comes not from who they are in Christ, but rather, who they are at work. The problem with this thinking is that it offers a false sense of security. At any moment your job could be lost or the economy could collapse. Your hope is not built on the rock of Jesus, but on sinking sand.
On the other hand we have those that feel a sense of inadequacy or worthlessness because they don't have a job that they take pride in. They sheepishly walk around as if their only value comes from the amount of money they make or the job they possess.
Equally dangerous is the fact that when we are not secure in our identity in Christ alone, we begin to subtly project that type of thinking onto our kids. We parent, motivate, and discipline based on performance and therefore subtly teach our kids that their value comes from what they do, not who they are.
Brothers, if you are placing your identity in anything other than Jesus, you are destined for failure. That yoke is too heavy. You will be succumbed to the temptation of pride or the weight of shame. Come back to Jesus. You have immeasurable value, not based on what you do, but who Jesus says you are.
He calls you son. He calls you beloved. He calls you his own.
And that is enough.
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