I come from a long line of hard workers. My grandpa built a drywall business from the ground up. Hard work and a handshake that was more difficult to break than a contract secured him the best clientele in the city. He retired more than once and only his failing health forced him to sell his business for the final time, not long before the Lord called him home.
I grew up admiring him, and the work ethic he displayed shaped my father’s sense of responsibility and desire to work hard, which was passed on to my siblings and me. And this has become a double-edged sword for me, because while I work hard; rising before the rest of my family and going to be long after I have put the kids down to sleep, I never feel like I do enough.
Last year, while listening to a series of sermons by my dad, I realized that I was identifying myself with the wrong person! My identity was secure in who I was:
Not dependent on anyone else
But much of this was rooted in another side of me that isn’t so admirable:
Refusal to ask anyone for help.
I was proud of my unique character mix of sanguine/melancholy :: introvert/extrovert. Fun loving and yet introspective. Always ready for a good laugh and yet easily wounded. A people lover and a lover of solitude. The “up” side of me makes me fun to be around and the “down” side of me (the side where “introspection” can literally cause me to contemplate myself into oblivion) makes me creative.
But Jesus came to set us free from these identifiers. In Luke He told us that if we want to be His disciple we must allow ourselves to be so completely swallowed up in Him that we lose our earthly identity and become exactly like Him.
So that we no longer identity ourselves with being German, Italian, Irish or Scandinavian…we identify ourselves with Jesus!!
We no longer identify ourselves as being a victim of abuse, a former addict, or a self-made man…we identify ourselves with Jesus!!
We no longer identify ourselves by our careers, our earthly heritage or our past wise or unwise choices
Because the cross changed all of that!
That is the message of the cross.
A new identity
A new name
A new heritage
A new start
But in order to experience the freedom of the cross, we must learn to carry our cross.
But what does this mean?
The cross can be summed up in one simple statement that Jesus taught us:
Not my will, but thine be done.
If we want to live in the freedom of a new identity, we must be willing to sacrifice our own will and identity. We must be willing to die to ourselves, lay down our lives, so that we are able to receive the new identity Christ has for us – in Him.
As Good Friday quickly approaches, may we look to the cross as a symbol of not only death, but freedom and may we make the choice this year to crucify our earthly identity, bury it with Christ, so that He may cause a His life to rise in us so that with each passing day we become more like Him!
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Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an Associates of Practical Theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.
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