#004: Where is my identity?

What is the basis of your identity? In our American, individualistic culture people often associate their identity with their possessions. Thus the saying, “keeping up with the Joneses.”

1 Timothy 6:17, Identity, Riches

But who said the Joneses were happy? And for that matter how is keeping up with them going to make you happy? True happiness comes when our identity is based on something more valuable than the possessions of this earth that will rust and rot away.

Paul wrote to his young mentee Timothy, encouraging him to be on the lookout for those whose focus was material gain rather than the Kingdom. “The love of money,” he said, “is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Money is not evil in and of itself. After all money is an inanimate object. It is the love of money that can lead us away from God. Having set forth the issue Paul goes on to teach Timothy how he should live his life, and the example he should set for others.

11  But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
12  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
13  I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
14  to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15  which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16  who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (
1 Timothy 6:11-16 ESV) 

What the Christian should flee (v 11)?

Greed, a desire for riches and things is the root of all sin (vv 8-10).

What the Christian should pursue (v 11)?

Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

What the Christian should hold onto (v 12)?

Hold onto your faith and the promise of eternity.

What is the result (vv13-16)?

  1. The present promise of Christ (v 13)
  2. The future promise of Christ’s return (v 14)
  3. The timing is God’s sovereign choice (vv 15-16)

Application

In our individualistic, consumer-centric world we need to be especially cognizant of our values. Are we content with the necessities, as Paul was, or do we strive to keep up with the neighbors? The temptation to get just a little more exists in the marketplace just as much as it is in our personal lives. Many a bad decision in the marketplace was made because someone made a greedy decision, “for just a little bit more.” Avoiding this “love of money” helps avoid making bad financial decisions, as we learn to be content with what we have–at home and at work!

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you been tempted at times to place your identity in the things of this earth? How do you manage those times when the temptation to “keep up with the Jonsses” comes along?

 

Category: Personal Development | Priorities

 

#003: Resolutions and the New Year!

The Holidays are behind us and the New Year brings us a fresh new start!

Resolutions

For many that means making New Year’s resolutions. Sadly, studies show that 80% of people will have failed at keeping their resolutions by the end of January, and only 8% will keep their resolutions through the year.

I think our failure to make and keep resolutions stems from two factors: 1) some of our resolutions are not God’s will for our lives, and 2) we try to keep our resolutions through our own power!

Jonathan Edwards (the pastor from the 1700’s, not the seagull) established some 70 resolutions, not for just a year, but for his life. His resolutions covered such things as his life mission, good works, relationships, character, spiritual life, and even time management. The opening line of his list of resolutions reads, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”

Edwards recognized that his resolutions needed to be in God’s will, and he needed God’s power to keep them! Here’s Edwards first resolution, “Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.”

God does have a plan for your life and His plan is perfect, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11.

If you have been frustrated in the past by making resolutions you didn’t keep, make this the year that you seek God’s perfect will for your life, and then like Edwards, make your resolutions, resolutions for life.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome! Have you struggled with New Year’s resolutions? If you were successful with a resolution what do you attributed your success to?

Category: Personal Development | Priorities