Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Identity Inspired by Intimacy

I have decided to start blogging. Something I never thought would really sound appealing to me since I do not usually like to write or type or anything. But I have really felt an urge to start “journaling” and just writing down what God is doing in my life and teaching me. This blog is ultimately just an outlet for me to write down the things I am going through and learning, but if others happen to read and are encouraged by what I write, then that is even better. But if you are reading, know that whatever is said here is not necessarily some divine revelation that God has put before me, but rather it is a compilation of a lot of things I have recently been told by pastors and worship leaders at camp or friends and through personal bible study. I believe to be a good learner of life you have to “steal” ideas and thoughts and apply them to your life and that is one of my goals here.

In my life, I have always been known as a good kid and probably would go as far as saying “the goody-goody” who never really had done anything wrong. I was raised by great parents who brought me up in a very strong Christian home and Christian church. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and I am truly blessed to have been raised in the environment I was. But I think that I missed the point about what it meant to be a Christ-follower. Often times, particularly growing up in the Bible belt, I saw Christianity as being a list that I followed and if I did those things then I must be alright. I knew that it was by grace I had been saved and not of works but that just was not how I lived my life most of the time. And so what should have been a faith centered around Christ and His glory, many times was centered around myself and my glory. I have heard it explained like this: Husbands have a certain amount of things that they are generally just expected to do as a husband. A list of ways that they are supposed to show their wife they love her. If the marriage is all based off of a list and things that he is “supposed” to do, then very quickly the appeal to do that and the joy in pleasing his wife will disappear.  But when the husband is active in the relationship and has communion with his wife, an intimate relationship develops. And through this, the husband finds himself almost accidentally doing the things that he would have done if he were just doing the list! But the difference now is that the works come from having an intimate relationship with his wife which makes him want to serve and love her. In that same way, I have often done that in my relationship with God. I have made a list of the things that I thought I was supposed to do (or not do) to be a good Christian. Whether it was going to church and saying “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” or not drinking, smoking, and having sex. I believed that if I did those things then I was set. But all I was doing was making God smaller and myself bigger. I said that my sin that I struggled with was not that big of a deal and God really didn’t think I was that bad. I mean I followed the list. I was better than that guy over there. That should get me some bonus points, right? But I was missing a deep, intimate relationship with the Father. I rarely dug into His Word to find life because I thought I was good enough. But what I finally came to realize was, that once I started having daily communion with the Father and actively seeking His Will for my life, I have found myself doing the exact same things that were on the list but it is for a completely different purpose. No longer am I doing this as a way of self-glorification, but it is to glorify the Father and see His Kingdom advanced. As this relationship grows deeper and more intimate, my desire to serve and love Him continues to grow. And so now those things that are on the list happen almost by accident as I look to glorify Him in all that I do. And my sin and struggles seem less and less tempting to me as I draw closer to Him. I can remember that through Christ I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37) and nothing can separate from the love of God (Romans 8:39). So as I begin this new school year, I am going in with the perspective of glorifying Christ and not myself. Because my identity is in Him, and nothing good that I do can be done outside of His power in me.

I know that this was really long winded and probably could have been said in a much more concise way, but this is what is going on in my life today. I no longer want to find my identity found in organizations, people, and certainly not my sin, but I want to find it in Christ. I want to be found in Christ and to make Him known to others. And I want that intimate relationship with the Father. He is the only thing on this earth that can satisfy, and I constantly need to drink more from the fountain of life, Scripture. We all need to get in His Word and we will all find ourselves living with an identity that is inspired by intimacy.

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