Recently, I put a call out to a few of the bloggers that I interact with, and asked them to write a post for Choose to Trust about some perspective on identity in Christ.
The first to respond was Beth Steffaniak who blogs over at Messy Marriage (be sure to check her site out). On here site, she is very open about the path her marriage has taken in an effort to help others.
Beth is a friend whom I had the pleasure meeting a couple years ago when she and her husband were in Orlando for a conference. Her article is about the struggle we all have with validation; seeking to have our self validated outside of Christ.
I hope you enjoy her perspective on identity.
A Status-Focused Trap
I must confess that it’s really easy for me to look for validation from others. In a practical kind of way this makes sense, since as a blogger a lot of what I do has to be “liked” in order for it to spread. Even beyond that, I feel like there’s a certain validation that I need so that I can tell if what I’m doing or the direction I’m going is a good and helpful one.
Sadly, this can be a trap. I can get all caught up in looking at my stats, likes, retweets, or comments on my blog, Facebook or Twitter—just to name a few of the platforms I try to leverage! The list can be endless, if I let it! And the opportunities to be discouraged by the lack of engagement are endless too . . . if I let it!
But my life, my identity as well as my contribution cannot be summed up by the size of, or engagement with, my platform!
After all, no people-focused pursuit can provide the validation we long for!
I think Jesus really cares about who you and I turn to for validation. I say that because I’ve recently finished an in-depth study of the gospel of Matthew and that’s just one of many important “take-aways” that I gleaned from my studies.
If I used the same lens to look at Jesus’ impact during His brief time here on earth, I would see that His “status” was often “disliked” and His “platform” was “unfriended” by many that He sought to reach. Ultimately, His platform was used against Him. They even plastered His domain name—“King of the Jews”—above His head as they crucified Him before His mocking and disenfranchised “audience” or “tribe.”
Was Christ’s identity altered or diminished because of what others did to Him on that horrible, but beautifully redemptive day?
Not a chance!
In fact, if anything, it exalted Him and His platform to one that has endured and prevailed through the ages—regardless of how many people have waged holy wars, persecuted or martyred His followers, or tried to drown out and disparage His message.
In the same way, my true identity as a believer is not dependent upon people—especially not upon what they think of me. As a believer, I have this incredible opportunity and privilege to claim a perfect and heavenly validation by the God of the universe! Christ validated me when He died on the cross—extending to me not only forgiveness, but co-heir status (see Romans 8:17) with Him through my faith in His completed work!
Do I really think someone’s opinion can add to that, when Jesus said, “It is finished”?
If we look to anyone other than God for our validation, in our idolatry we end up spiritually sick, hopelessly hypocritical, painfully prideful and, at the end of the day, empty.
But when I look at my position and identity through God’s eyes, then I see that I lack nothing! Now that’s a status I not only “like” but love!
Who or what have you looked to that has lead to more emptiness and frustration?
What are some things we can do to keep our eyes on the Lord and the validation He alone can provide?
Scott works with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. He is a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.
Services offered are one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact Scott.