“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
I’m usually pretty content with my life.
That is, until I see that skinny girl on the cover of a magazine.
Or I hear of someone taking a trip to the beach in the dead of winter.
Or I flip through a furniture store catalog while sitting on my scratched up sofa.
Or it’s swimsuit season.
It’s crazy how easily we can talk ourselves into wanting to be more, have more, and do more. We’re bombarded with the lie that our worldly success defines us. And we especially start to believe that lie when we let the temporary things of this world creep in where Jesus should reside instead.
The world is shiny and glittery, full of all kinds of stuff that competes for our attention on a daily basis. Without even thinking, we’re pushed to pursue contentment through the number on the scale, the size of our home, the success of our job, and the status of our earthly relationships. We turn our eyes to the world and let magazines and media and the success of others alter our expectations and dictate our moods.
And often we are let down.
Pursuing excellence in all things isn’t inherently a bad thing. The problem comes when we elevate the pursuit of worldly success above our position in Christ.
The pursuit of worldly success can create unnecessary competition.
It can promote unattainable perfection,
produce selfish discontentment,
and can lead us down destructive paths.
Worst of all, the chase to have it all in this world can cause us to worship success more than Jesus.
I’ve heard it said that what you behold is what you become.
If we’re going to turn from the lie that worldly success defines us, we must discipline ourselves instead to treasure Christ and find our true identity in Him.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” ~ Philippians 3:8
Practically this means:
We learn to treasure Christ through His Word. The Bible is an incredible love story filled with redemptive truth and reminders of God’s grace and faithfulness in our lives. Spending time in God’s Word deepens our understanding of who God is, who we are, and reminds us that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
We learn to treasure Christ by cultivating a heart of gratitude. When we spend time recognizing God’s compassionate hand of provision in our lives, we’re less likely to run after what the world defines as success. True contentment is never far from the one who recognizes that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). Our bodies, our bank accounts, and our earthly positions may change over time, but praise God that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Have you been believing the lie that your worldly success defines you?
Take a deep breath, sister, and free yourself from an expectation of performance and achievement in a world that can never satisfy.
For sure, offer your work as worship unto the Lord. Pursue excellence in the spheres of influence where He has placed you. Steward what God has given you to advance God’s Kingdom purposes on the earth, for His glory! But remember that lasting fruit comes not by striving in your own strength, but by abiding in Him. His grace Has already done it all.
No matter how the world might define you, rest in the truth that as a child of God your identity is already beautifully and firmly established in Him.
At his feet,
*Let’s talk: As a child of God, what does Ephesians 1 say about your true identity in Christ? How can you remember these truths this week?
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