Identity Before Effort: 3 Ways to Find Ourselves in Christ in the Midst of a Busy World

Unfortunately, too often we cannot seem to make the time to read His love letter to us. It gets pushed to the back of our daily priorities.

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In a previous post, I discussed the various dangers of always being busy. One of the major problems I shared is that it hinders our relationship with God, and we can even begin to find our identity in the work we are doing, rather than in Christ. This is a problem which must be overcome!

Busy or not, as a Christian, it is in Jesus alone where we must find our identity. It is so easy for other things in our lives to slip in and claim that role, we must remind ourselves daily of who we are in Christ because of what He has done on our behalf. The way we do that is by cultivating our relationship with Him, so that He can transform us into His image.

I want to share three daily spiritual disciplines you can begin practicing today, that will help you find your identity in Christ alone. (While these should be regular practices, we should also remember that this is a relationship we are cultivating, not just another item on our to-do list.)

A DAILY ROUTINE OF PRAYER

There is an old cliche that has been used by Christians for longer than I’ve been alive. It says, “Christianity is not just a religion, it’s a relationship.” Unfortunately, this little statement has not settled in for too many of us.

We are supposed to enjoy the presence of the Lord, daily, and have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Too often, however, our prayer life dwindles down to confessions of guilt and giving the Lord our list of needs. In the worst case, prayer gets limited to a ritual blessing before a meal! Instead of taking time to simply be with Him, our prayer life becomes part of a religious practice that gets checked off a to-do list or brings guilt when we forget.

If we are going to find our identity in Christ, this must change! We must learn how to be with Him, to hear Him speaking, and to rest in His presence. He will take the lead in the relationship if we will simply give Him time in our busy schedule. Just like husbands and wives begin to be shaped by one another as a result of time together, we, too, will begin to be shaped by our relationship with Him.

If most of us would be honest, it isn’t even a lack of time that hinders our prayer life. It is a lack of priority. I am my own proof of this statement. Some mornings I wake up with a worship song in my heart, and begin the day with prayer, before my feet touch the floor. Other days, I grab my phone to turn off the alarm, and I immediately go to Facebook and emails to see what I missed during the night.

Until we get the relationship right, our identity will continue to be determined by all the other things we give our time to.

A DAILY TIME IN THE WORD

A friend of mine said something back in high school that has stuck with me for years. “The Bible is God’s love letter to us, written in blood.” If that statement is true, then we should want to know the scriptures by heart.

As I think back to the days of dating my wife, Liz, we were separated by a six-hour drive. We couldn’t always be together, and it is impossible to stay on the phone constantly, so a lot of our communication happened via text messages, email and social media messengers.

You can bet that when my phone sent a notification that there was a new message from Liz, it didn’t take long for me to read every word. It did not matter what I was doing at the time, my first priority would shift to finding out what she had to say.

In the same way, if God has written the Bible for us to know Him and His love for us, then we should read it. We should study it. We should know it from front to back and want to know it even more. This isn’t because the Bible takes the place of an active relationship with the Lord, but because it enhances it. Through the Scriptures, we learn everything He wants to reveal to the church in every generation.

Unfortunately, too often we cannot seem to make the time to read His love letter to us. It gets pushed to the back of our daily priorities; exchanged for everything else vying for our attention.

The truth is, however, that not only does the Bible reveal the Lord to us, but it also reveals who we are in Him. If we are going to keep our identity grounded in who Jesus says we are, and not in everything else we do, then we must take time every day to read His message to us!

A DAILY AFFIRMATION OF WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST

One final practice that will help us to keep our identity grounded in Christ is to habitually remind ourselves, every day, of who He has called us to be. When we get busy, it is easy to forget, so make it a priority to help yourself remember.

“I am a child of God, walking in holiness, and living for the Kingdom of God!”

“I am loved by my creator.”

“I am forgiven of every sin and freed to walk in righteousness.”

“I am made to love.”

“I am called to serve.”

There are so many truths we believe, yet do not live out because we lose them among the distractions. Make a list. Read them every morning and night. Post them where you will see them. Send yourself an email at night, so that it’s the first thing you see at your desk in the morning. Set reminders on your phone to pop up before that stressful meeting. Listen to music or podcasts that keep your focus on Him throughout the day.

However you decide to do so, you must remind yourself every single day of who you are in Christ. Do not let the busyness of life sneak in and steal it away.

I promise, as we practice these disciplines and live out who we are in Christ, it will begin to change the way we interact with our busyness. We will learn to work from our position as sons and daughters of God, rather than being consumed by the ever-expanding to-do list.

What other practices do you do to remind yourself of your identity in Him? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

 

Featured Image by Ben White

This is an updated edition of a post originally published on anthonyingram.com.

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About the Author

Anthony Scott Ingram is a Spirit-filled Christian, husband, father, writer, teacher, podcaster, missionary, and the Apostolic Overseer of Sozo Ministries International. You can find him online at AnthonyIngram.com