Identity in Christ Through Success and Failure
By: Lindsey Whitmore
If I could write just one sentence on this topic, it would be that our success is not found in our job, economic status, degrees, promotions, or personal or family achievements but solely in how well we allow ourselves to become like the Son, Christ Jesus, while we are living here on earth. However, one sentence is not enough because we have a hard time accepting simple truths. We must be reminded often. We must, at times, be convinced. God tells us all we need is to believe – believe in Who He is and who He says we are as His children.
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
Proverbs 3:1-4 ESV
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3 NIV
I write this in full knowledge of this truth and in full confession that it has been a struggle at times. I have felt the tug of pride swell up in me at being given a ‘proper title’ at work, as well as the feelings of being less than when telling someone I do not work, but instead stay home with my children. I have felt the nagging voice of failure when I do well in something but am not acknowledged for it. I have felt the overwhelming sense of failure when my child gets caught doing something naughty, as if his personal choices are a reflection of my parenting. This is forgetting that we are called to train our children and that we cannot control their free will.
Where does this come from? I believe this stems from my worldly view that tells me my success is tethered to my title. Worse, my identity is entangled in what I do, or don't do, versus Who I belong to.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 ESV
We must keep before us that we are just sojourners passing through this world. Our confidence is not wrapped up in how much money we make, what car we drive, how talented or not talented we are, but in our new identity that is rooted in Christ. He alone must be our source for confidence and security knowing that He is not asking us to be perfect, but to allow Him to make us perfect. There is no failure for those found in Christ.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 ESV
I recently heard a wise saying, “We learn from our mistakes, but we grow from our obedience.” I believe this sums up how we should view our temporary failures. They are opportunities to learn who we are and what we are made of. Robert Kiyosaki once said, “Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” Success, therefore, is how well we grow up in our maturity in Christ. It is how well we are able to take on His personhood, for His glory, not our own, through the One He left to help us, Holy Spirit. Success is saying YES to Jesus and NO to self. Self could mean our wants, happiness, knowledge, passions…the list goes on.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
James 4:10 ESV
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 NIV
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:4 ESV
Today, may we take a moment to realign our thinking to that of God’s, so as to live with the confidence that comes from above, the peace that surpasses all understanding, and the knowledge that we cannot fail when we have been chosen to be on the winning team!