One of the less expected facts of personal and social life is that those who try the hardest to clothe themselves from an identity usually have the least of it. I’m thinking of people who join certain groups, buy certain cars and wear certain clothes. We can seek to build an identity by hanging these things off our person but the more we identify our self with these externalities the less real identity we have. In any identity that is not Christ, our real identity disappears and what remains is a ghost of our real selves.
REALITY IS CHRIST
To start with a real sense of being because we are established in being because Christ is our life is a great advantage. Not many start this way. It’s something we learn as we progress into rebirth and more rebirths in Christ as a person instead of Christ as a ‘christianity.’
One of the heaviest burdens we can carry is the attempt to gather self-worth through our work. This is the garden of the hollow men and the orchard of workaholics. Anyone who envisages themselves as worthy because they are themselves is ahead of those who have busied themselves constructing a self from externalities. When we know in our hearts that we are always enough in Christ we are ready to embark on a vocation that will bring joy to ourselves and life to others. When Christ is our life we are situated to have a Sabbath life because we have found rest for human restlessness.
DON’T SMOTHER YOUR SONSHIP
You will be more a real person if your identity is you rather than if your identity is your accomplishments. You are more purely yourself without embellishments and your accomplishments are more filled with spirit and life when you are who you are in a personal Jesus. Christianity is an externality that will not make you alive or you. Christ your life is the Reality who will make you who you are as a life-giver.
The simplicity of the incarnation is that the Spirit of Christ manifests as Bob and June.
GAINED THE WORLD AND LOST THE SELF
The tragedy of many who are ‘accomplished’ is the loss of the self. This certainly is not so with all the accomplished. But it is so with those for whom the core of their being is a self-made construction of achievement and religion.
The fact is – if we are formed in religion or a belief system we may not be formed in Christ. We may have drops of life due to grace but not the rivers that are available to all.
One cannot attempt to construct an identity through belonging to anything less than Jesus. Should this ‘belonging’ accrue from Christ alone we are free to receive an underived and unpolluted version of Jesus. We are talking of ‘this gospel’ that Paul promoted. As a result we can expect to be a robust version of our real selves.
Richard Rohr writes, “When you see people protecting their small tribes and self-constructed identities as if they were lasting or inherently meaningful, you know that they’ve not yet experienced substantial reality. When you allow the flow of substantial reality through your life, you are a.. person in the truest sense of the word, a universal person living beyond these tiny boundaries that human beings love to create. Paul puts it creatively: “Our citizenship is in heaven.” (1)
Living in a misplaced identity we can make much of being in the Body of Christ without ever really being one with God or one with humanity. We are not a universal person because we have not participated in the universal Christ.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 1905-1909). SPCK. Kindle Edition.