Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read Day 31. I heard the word wisdom defined as ‘An understanding of how reality works and the ability to navigate it well.’ I think this is an accurate definition and something that God instills in us, through trials over a period of a lifetime. There is such a tension in working with high school youth and observing their journey, through the wisdom gained of my own journey and a better understanding of God. I am able to witness things that tend to ‘wreck’ someone’s life in high school---the ending of a week-long relationship with a ‘soul-mate’, getting a used car, not being invited to a party, having a curfew earlier than their BFF, or only having an iPhone 3G. I joke a little and know that we struggle with things like this beyond high school as well. So much of this boils down to a question of identity. There is such pressure in high school that is related to establishing or just not ruining your identity! Am I good enough? Do I matter? Does anyone like me? Why do my parents not treat me like an adult? Actions become very calculated to portray and establish the identity we want or that we think others want in us. These questions haunt adults as well and if we don’t get confident in our identity, we will spend the remainder of our life grasping at things for identity that ultimately cannot give us security.
Our faith journey is no different. We abuse God’s abilities when we need them and He is basically a back-up plan when we run out of options or can’t solve something on our own. Devries says that ‘Perhaps one of the greatest tools of Satan has been the lie that we are “merely sinners saved by grace.”’ I think that’s a challenging statement and that it has truth to it. To me, it’s the difference in believing in a propositional truth, instead of receiving an all-consuming identity that births us as a key player in God’s redemption plan for humanity. (Remember---the story of God does not center around us, but centers on Him!!) The expressions of identity through being a New Creation, Bride of Christ, and Brother & Sister of Christ moves beyond mental acknowledgment of sins forgiven and confers identity to all who trust in Him. This guides and drives a lifestyle in the face of opposition in the world!
This identity is received and lived out in humility trusting our gracious Father. I think once we really grasp the extent of God’s love shown through the gift of His Son, it radically alters how walk through every day. It gives us priority, perspective, and purpose. We move from using God to being used by God! Then, prayer flows from this identity given to us and is not just a vacuum grasping at straws to get us through life. It reorients how we pray for our self, our family, and those around us. We typically move from selfish to selfless prayers, trusting in the grace, mercy, and provision of God.
Do you diminish the true story of Christ and the identity that He offers? Have you noticed a drastic switch in where your identity comes from as you came to faith or matured in your faith? Do you believe you are a crucial part of the body of Christ? How would you know if you were using God or being used by God? Does 1 of the 3 identities Devries references resonate the most with you?
I would love feedback on your identity and how your life and prayer life has shifted, because of who you are in Christ.