For decades, I worked diligently to present myself as the perfect professional. Which means that I focused on always giving a flawless first impression, and continuously worked to control what I allowed others to see. Consequently, my professional image became my identity. Maintaining this perfection was exhausting, expensive, and fleeting, always focused on accomplishing the next “big thing.” I never took the time to enjoy that day’s accomplishments because they were never enough.
Like most men, I measured my worth and my identity by my work, my wallet, my women, and my wheels. They had to be perfect, too, which is one of the reasons why none of my relationships lasted. I was never present, even in my own home, always thinking about what I needed to be doing to prove my worth. My “MAN”-ufactured worth!
Sound familiar? For far too many men, this was our model growing up of what it takes to be a successful man. However, it was never enough; no matter how successful we were, it was never sufficient. Which also meant that “I” was never enough!
That’s what happens when the basis of our identity is “MAN”-ufactured worth.” Where life is all about what you do, not who you are. Your job, your promotions, your bank account, your new car, new boat, or a new bike, the list goes on and on. Manufactured worth is based upon the endless list of things we do, which is frustrating and futile.
Consequently, for decades, I falsely believed that family and friends loved me because of what I could and would do for them. What I failed to understand was that whom I was uniquely created to be is what drew my family and friends to me. They loved my heart more than my help. I was the only one who couldn’t see that who I was is far more valuable than any “thing” I did.
That’s why Christ focused on changing our hearts because without His transformational grace and love, our relationship with him would become nothing more than another “to do” list, trying to earn his love.
However, we cannot do this on our own; our heart, and thus, our identity needs to be in Christ. That’s why hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, God the Father wrote: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26.
A new heart and new spirit must be given to us by God. We could not and cannot do it ourselves, no matter how hard we work, how many bible verses we memorize, or how much we accomplish.
He nurtures a new heart and new spirit in us through His Word. Therefore being in His Word daily is vital to our identity, because it is through God’s word that his heart and his spirit grows within us. Our true identity and worth are only found in Him.
“9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” Colossians 1:9-11 (NIV)
God can create anything, anytime, anywhere from anything. He doesn’t need anything manufactured by us to give us worth. So put down your “to do” list and pick up God “to be” list, which is found in His word.
“Be loved by God, the Father.”
“Be forgiven by His saving grace,”
“Be restored by His sustaining grace,”
“Be transformed by His wisdom and word,”
“Be strengthened in His abiding presence and peace,”
“Be alive in Christ,”
“Be still and know your Father, who chose you to be his is beloved son and daughter.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
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