In my previous post I wrote about the fact that the true christian life is built on a powerful sense of the gospel identity. The true christian message is not about getting your best life now, or about following this or that specific step or rule. This concept sets the christian message apart from the messages of this world. In addition to that, when I live with this mentality it is truly remarkable to see how powerfully it equips and strengthens my christian walk.
As I observe how this plays out in my life I start to gain more insight into the true problem of my heart, and how the true solution is achieved. We are, by nature, identity seekers. You can see this in life anywhere you go – people seek to identify with something, to belong, to be defined and directed by their surroundings.
When the New Testament speaks of salvation, it does not just speak of a ‘get outta hell free’ ticket. Rather, it speaks of a whole definition of life. It speaks of the fact that our final and ultimate solution and identity is found only in the mind and heart of the one who made us – and he does not hide it from us.
I find that the source of a lot of the struggles that I get myself into is the fact that I let seek (or allow) my identity to be built by other sources. I let my circumstance define me. I let my weaknesses define me. I let my desires or joys define me. I let the people around me define me. And from there on things start to slide downhill.
This is the fundamental need that the christian gospel meets head on – the message of Christ seeks to challenge our concept of self identity, to show its fallacy, and to recreate it in all that Christ has done. This is why the gospel targets the heart at its foundational need.
It is truly amazing to observe how powerfully my mind and heart are redirected back on track I return my mind to the gospel, and let that be the lens through which I see all other things. Yes indeed, I do need to be redirected at times with specific steps and instructions. But the overwhelming majority of my incorrect actions step from a false understanding of my identity. Too easily do I forget who I am made to be in Christ. Yet as I am returned and realigned in the gospel, I am constantly gaining a deeper and clearer understanding of it, and my identity in it.
The psalmist echo’s this idea in his evaluation of the surrounding world in comparison to what he’s got in God:
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:23-26)