Do You Know Who I Am?
Matthew 3:9,10 Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father”…
I recall the pride I felt when I was first issued a pager back in residency. I had become someone important. That pager was my bat-signal and I was about to be the hero. Endless midnight phone calls about constipation and insomnia quickly killed that dream, but the pride of being a physician was not so easily extinguished.
Pride can turn many good things bad. I am not saying it is wrong to find meaning in being a physician, but it is defective to use that pride as my source of meaning in this life. My affirmation for who I am is not to be found in my appearance, occupation, income, popularity or approval of others. I often however, allow the approval or disapproval of others make or break my day.
Worldly approval is aimed at feeding the desires of my flesh nature. My need to be attractive, wealthy, popular, successful and interesting is not born of a desire to please God but rather to please man and elevate myself. John says that I am not to find my meaning in some earthly title. Rather, my ultimate purpose is to come through my identity in God. I have this daily choice to pursue my meaning through the destructive, shifting value of the world or I can find it in the unshakable, everlasting God who loves me and gave himself for me.
When I am frustrated by my lack for performance or value, I am focused on the world and my flesh. Only in focusing my life on God can I accept the grace that He gives freely. My worth in being his child is not something that I could ever earn by my good behavior as I could never be good enough to deserve it. It is paradoxically in accepting my complete lack of worth that I can understand my true worth. God loves me and I am his child. That is who I am and it is the most important thing about me.
John says I am not to find my faith and meaning in earthly titles that feed my pride but have no ultimate worth. I am not to be dependent on the affirmation of others for my meaning and value. When I am focused on my appearance, earthly success, income, popularity and pride, I am focused on me, producing a fruit of destruction. When I am focused on God however, I produce a crop of life and thus, will come to know the highest purpose and meaning I could know in this life.