Reading Reflection:

Who Am I?, Jerry Bridges (CruciformPress, 2012) Who the heck am I? A daughter, a wife, a friend, a mom, a sister…a fitness-lover, a blogger, a reader, a talker…somewhat dorky, but too cool to care…Sure, some of the above describes me. Where I really get disturbed is when I try to define what kind of friend, wife, mom, and daughter I’ve been, what kind I want to be, how I’ve miserably failed, or even worse, how I pridefully think I may be rocking at it all. Obviously I left out the most important answer that defines all the others. My identity is in Christ. This changes how I look at myself and my whole world. Jerry Bridges gives a great little study of what this really means in this short, 95 page book. It is a great reassurance for the believer desiring to grow in grace, as well as a proper motivator. According to Bridges, Paul used expressions relating to how we are “in Christ” more than 160 times in his letters. That may indicate our constant need to be reminded of this reality as believers. For some reason, I know I can too easily deceive myself with my so-called achievements for God. Inevitably, the crash and burn from failure and frustration reveal what I was really building my tower on.
On a good day we may get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off and have a refreshing quiet time. Events of the day generally fall out the right way and we encounter no significant sin issues. A bad day is just the opposite. We oversleep, skip our quiet time, muddle through a difficult day, and struggle all day long with sinful thoughts (resentment, envy, frustration, lust, etc.). On which of those days would you become more expectant of God’s blessing or answers to prayer? Your answer to that question reveals whether you are living by works, or the gospel. Our default setting is to live by our works. But let me repeat a statement that I made to a group of college students some twenty years ago that is still valid and speaks to the good day and bad day scenarios: Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace. Every day of our lives should be a day of relating to God on the basis of his grace alone, for every day of our lives we are not yet perfect (92).
The fact that my identity resides in Christ helps me to turn my narcissistic gaze from myself, to the One who is holy and has accomplished my salvation. He is also the One who is perfecting my sanctification. I can torture myself with whether I am doing a good enough job each day, whether I measure up as the Christian wife, mom, and friend. While it’s important to evaluate our “walk,” our eyes need to be on the captain of our faith, the One who walked before us. The more I look to him, the more I become my true self.