What defines you?


What's the very first word that comes to mind when asked, "What defines you?"

Husband? Wife? Father? Mother? Son? Daughter? Brother? Sister? Friend? Student? Minister? Volunteer? Sports? Hobbies? Cancer? Or simply...Christ?

If you asked what defined me 24 years ago, I would've said "work". If you asked me again a few years later, I would've said, "mother". If you waited another couple of years and asked me again, I'd say "Bible study teacher". And if for some reason you were still curious and asked me 10 years after that, I would've said "help-meet". If you asked me only five years ago, I'd tell you "diseased".

But if you asked me now, I'd tell you simply..."Christ".

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love...which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."
~Ephesians 1:3-4, 8-10 (ESV)

As you can see, my life used to be discombobulated since Christ was not preeminent in my daily living. I neglected God's divine order of things: God first, spouse second, children (equally) third, loving and serving other Christians fourth, extended unbelieving family members fifth, and vocation last.

"Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them."
~Psalm 111:2 (ESV)

Don't get me wrong, being a good employee or employer, serving others well, being a student of the Word, being a husband, wife, mother, etc., in themselves are not sinful. But we can make them sinful by giving any of these things the preeminent position that only Christ is due; and God calls this, idolatry (Ex 20:3, Gal 1:10).

Sadly, I'm not the only Christian who's been deceived by what or who defines me. I'm seeing a destructive and heartbreaking trend within the church that affects our homes—too much focus on what we're doing: parenting, ministry, Bible studies, programs, and more; and too little focus remembering Who we're doing it for.

"Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service to Him....The great enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ in the present day is the conception of practical work that has not come from the New Testament, but from the systems of this world in which endless energy and activities are insisted upon, but no private life with God...The central thing about the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to Himself, not public usefulness to men."
~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Making anyone or anything our main focus and goal in life is a pernicious activity and leads to:
  • Husbands neglecting to love their wives as Christ loved His Bride—the Church by: sacrificing his time and desires so he can study the Word; being equipped to properly teach and lead her in sound doctrine so she's not deceived by her emotions or false teachings. This also enables him to lovingly rebuke her when necessary, for any ungodly behaviors or attitudes she exhibits; all the while, honoring her as the weaker vessel (Eph 5:25-28, 1 Peter 3:7).
  • Wives refusing to biblically submit to their husbands in everything by honoring their husbands in private or public, resisting to nag him, and seeing his needs more important than hers with a cheerful, humble, respectful and loving attitude; seeking to do good to him and not harm all the days of his life (Eph 5:22-24, Col 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1-6, Proverbs 31:11-12).
  • Both husbands and wives should diligently study the Scriptures, so together, they can effectively disciple their own children rather than expect the ministers at church, homeschool curriculum or co-op to do it. God provided ministers, teachers and other resources to come alongside parents to help us, not replace us. The commandment to train up children in the love and admonition of the Lord was given to parents (Deut 6:5-9; Proverbs 1:8-9, 3:11-12, 13:24, 23:12-14, 29:17).
  • Children ignoring God's command by disrespecting and rebelling against parents (1 Sam 15:23a), foolishly and immaturely assuming in their short span of years, they know vastly more than their parents (Proverbs 23:22). Not to say, parents can't learn a thing or two from their children, but humility is fast becoming an endangered quality in young people. No parent is perfect, but to continually play the blame game for malcontent attitudes towards authority doesn't prove you're an adult, it only proves, like a toddler, you're still screaming, "Mine! I do it!" (Deut 12:28, Eph 6:1-3)
You see, when we allow our pride to prevail, our priorities get mixed up. Subsequently, we're led to the deception that what others say about us and/or what we think we've "accomplished" has earned us the right to blessings, honor and praise, rather than giving this due worship to Christ our King; making us idolaters who worship ourselves, our reptuation, our work, or position in life. Conversely, our "failures" don't and shouldn't define us either.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory...Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
~Colossians 3:1-4, 16

If you're at a place in your life, where you're like me a couple of decades ago or even just a five years ago, I urge you to do what I did; repent, open your Bible, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand all that God is trying to teach you through His Word (1 Cor 2:12-13). Then ask our Father to open the eyes of your heart so you can see every opportunity He's given you each day, to live it (Ex 16:4, 19-20; Eph 2:10).

"Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O LORD my God, Your wondrous deeds and Your thoughts toward us; none can compare with You! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told."
~Psalm 40:4-5