“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
--2 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV)
Neil Anderson wrote, “The most important belief we possess is true knowledge of who God is. The second most important belief is who we are as children of God...”
Earlier this summer, thanks to the generosity of our DBA, I was blessed to be able to take an 8-week sabbatical to rest, refresh and recalibrate. In 39 years of ministry I had never taken a sabbatical, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Here comes some confession—the first few days of the sabbatical I was actually depressed. It was like I didn’t know who I was when I wasn’t working and I was dismayed to discover that I felt distant from God when I wasn’t doing acts of service for Him. As I wrestled with those emotions, I had to confess that, in spite of preaching grace for nearly 40 years, my walk with God was still tied too much to works.
About halfway through the sabbatical, I was able to spend two weeks at a friend’s cabin by Trump Lake in northeast Wisconsin. During my time there I continued to wrestle with the fact that my spiritual life was typified more by activity for God than communion with God.
That’s an occupational hazard for those of us in ministry, isn’t it? If we’re not careful, we settle for being servants instead of embracing our rightful places as sons and daughters. Pretty soon, if we’re not careful, our entire identity is tied up in what we do FOR God instead of who we are IN God. In the words of John Eldredge, our “very identity is synonymous with activity.”
At some point perhaps I can talk more about how I wrestled with this issue by Trump Lake. However, for now suffice it to say that though I still intend to serve God with all my heart, my identity will be wrapped up in the fact that, by grace, I am a child of God.
By all means serve the Lord with all your heart and strength but allow that service to flow from the loving heart of a son or daughter. And may your identity always spring from who you are in Christ and not what you do for Him.