From the Pastor

Identity

Who am I?  That is one of the most fundamental questions of our lives.  Think about how we try to answer that question.  We answer it by our occupations, families, the towns we grew up in, and even our hobbies.  We try to answer that question by the groups we affiliate with, our political party, or even the college football team we cheer for.  But all of these are wholly inadequate as a basis for our identity.  Consider this article about Arnold Schwarzenegger from Newsweek in April of 2011:

“Life at 63, for Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a titanic clash between human frailty and dazzling possibility.  “I feel terrific about where I am in my life when I look back at what I’ve accomplished,” [he said], “but I feel [horrible] when I look at myself in the mirror.”

“It’s a jolt to hear Schwarzenegger—a five-time Mr. Universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia before he was Conan the Barbarian, the Terminator, and ultimately Governor—musing about his own decay …. Still strapping in shirtsleeves, a fine specimen of aging movie star….”

“I’m not competing, I’m not ripping off my shirt and trying to sell the body,” he tells me.  “But when I stand in front of a mirror and really look, I wonder: What the [heck] happened here?”

[W]hen he was 50, Schwarzenegger had surgery to replace a defective aortic valve …. At some point in the next several years, the valve will wear out, and surgeons will split his chest open to install a new one.  “It does quite a number on you for quite some time because even though you’re strong-willed, you know from now on you’re damaged goods.”  He adds with a chuckle: “As with most things, I live in denial” (Lloyd Grove, “Arnold’s Wild Road Trip,” Newsweek (4-25-11).

Schwarzenegger is like many of us who base our identity on something fleeting; we end up broken and searching.

The apostle Paul urged the Christians at Philippi to base their identity on Christ.  He did this because he knew what it was like to establish your identity on other things.  After listing all his earthly and religious credentials, he says, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8a, NLT).

Paul reminds us that if we want to find real joy and contentment, we must base our identity on Christ and what he has done for us, and that is enough.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Alan