Do Worldly Successes Define You?

Basing your identity on Christ, not your achievements

How would you feel if you were one—or all—of the following: a Medical student, an employee of the year, a millionaire? Would being any of these things change the way you feel about yourself? Often, we’d like for these successful titles to define us since successes give us something to feel good about. But if who we are is what we succeed in, does it mean we are a failure when we fail to achieve something?

Base who you are on the unchanging
Think about it: If we base our lives on what can be changed, then the foundation of our lives is not stable. Once the foundation shifts, our lives would also be shaken. If our identity is decided by our successes, then it is also determined by our failures. Hence, the solution is to not find our self-worth in either. This isn’t about ignoring what we have or have not accomplished. Rather, it’s about placing our value as a person on what is eternal.

God is the one who created us, and the One in whom we find the deepest measure of fulfilment and pleasure. When we base our self-worth and self-esteem on the unchangeable Word of God—when we believe who God says we are—then the foundation of our lives would be securely grounded on the Rock that is higher (Psalm 61:2).

Who we are in God
And what does God say about us? He says that as Christians, our truest identity is in His Son, Jesus. We are children of God (John 1:12, Ephesians 1:5) who are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). And because we are hidden with Christ (Colossians 3:3), we are free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2) and can never be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35). Not only that, we are now called to be Spirit-filled witnesses of Jesus because each of us is a temple in which the Holy Spirit lives (1 Corinthians 3:16). God calls us His co-workers in His kingdom (Mark 16:20; 2 Corinthians 6:1) and we are seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6).

We become what we behold
In light of our new identity in Jesus, we can see our achievements in the proper perspective. Yes, achievements are part of us, but they are not us. In God’s kingdom, success is being able to boast that we understand and know the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24) and becoming more and more conformed to the image of His Son. We do this by worshipping and beholding Him daily (2 Corinthians 3:18). However, if we choose to worship and behold something other than God, we will also be transformed in its image. The Bible tells us that those who worship idols will become like them (Psalm 115:4-8; Psalm 135:15-18).

Therefore, what we worship decides our identity. Ask yourself what the most important thing in your life is, and you will know what you truly worship. If there is something that you cherish more than God, then that thing has become an idol to you.

Focus on being, not doing
Also, what we do will constantly change, but who we are never will. When we understand that it is who we are, and not what we do, that ultimately matters, we can learn how to rest in God’s presence. We should lose ourselves not in doing, but in being in Him and becoming like Him.

Give yourself up
Ultimately, resting in Jesus means surrendering all we have to Him. That can sound like a frightening thing because it means we have to release control over who we are. But Jesus is not really the Lord of our lives if He isn’t the Lord over every single part of our lives, including our identity. Let us stand firm on our identity in Him, safely let go and let Him take over, because He is a good and trustworthy God who will never fail us. 

©2016 Whole Life. All rights reserved.

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