The Foundational Series
VIII. Purified Identity: Purposes and Problems in Relationships
All sin appeals to us through the avenue of our earth-based identities. We get hurt because we esteem our self-worth in our identities outside Christ.
· If I find my self-worth in Jesus alone, I don't get hurt if somebody criticizes my piano playing. But if I esteem myself as a pianist and somebody criticizes me, watch out!
· If I find my self-worth in Jesus alone, I don't get upset if someone criticizes my parenting. But if I esteem myself according to my natural identity as a father or mother, and someone takes me to task, watch out!
· If a female does me wrong on a date, and I haven't subjected my identity as a male to my identity in Christ, watch out!
The problems we have in our family relationships are because we haven't yet succeeded in subjecting our blood identities to our identity in Christ. The problems we have in our fellowships are because we identify ourselves according to our lines of thought rather than in Christ. Then we take it personally when somebody questions our doctrine, and we split from them.
In all things we have to get past the place where we relate to each other primarily because we are spouses, or parents, or culturally attuned as Canadians, Americans, Southerners, or Northerners. We are to use all our earth-based relationships without abusing them, eventually shedding those identities, never reinforcing them (I Cor. 7:29-31). We must press in to learning to see one another primarily for who we are in the image of Christ.
This includes blood relationships! Because blood relationships are so intrinsic to our first nature they are the hardest identities to grow out of in our quest for purified identity. They are the hardest ones for us to see through in letting one another go into the release of new identity. The pains, separations, and strains in overcoming gender and family identities is the most severe to us.
That's why Jesus described the household as the place of greatest strife in overcoming into new identity in Himself. Yet He demands that we come to despise these identities behind one another. (Note: we are to hate the identities and the natural life that supports them, but not the personalities!) Mt 10:34-38; Lk. 14:26.
Does this sound like a hard thing? Sure is. Yet this is precisely what we have been called-out concerning -- all these identities.
Wow! This gives us a whole new perspective on the purpose for human relationship.
It gives us a true yardstick for knowing how to approach all relationships -- both those to which we are obligated by blood, and those we have the power to choose.
The purpose of all relationship is to purify new identity.
So let's judge. Let's evaluate. Let's ask questions: What am I doing with my relationships? What is my goal for my relationships? What is my goal for my relationship with my spouse, my family, my people in the Lord?
Am I capitalizing on our earth-based identities in order to purify our identities in Christ? Or am I using my faith to reinforce our old identities? What about new relationships I'm contemplating entering? If I get into this relationship, will it be to purify new identity or will it only serve to reinforce old identity?
We need to choose new relationships carefully this way-- especially new blood relationships. For example, this is why Paul is concerned about marriage (I Cor. 7). He recognizes that marriage tends to reinforce old identities based in human nature. Its tendency is to compete with the purity of our identity in Christ. So he urges caution.
When a single person such as myself contemplates marriage, he has to ask,
"Will this temporal relationship help us both purify our identity in Christ, or will it only work to reinforce our old sexual identities as man, woman, family member? Will we be able to be free to push into Christ together, or will we be sucked into a web of family identities that continually makes demands on us through our old identities, competing with our quest for purified identity?"
I urge all of us to examine all our relationships. Ask God to illumine to you the purpose for each one -- how you can use it to purify identity in Christ. How many relationships do you have for which you see no clear purpose? How many relationships of yours are working against your true identity?
Be willing for a separation to be worked out in you concerning such relationships. For relationships to which you are obligated, ask God to transform them so they will work to your purification rather than against it. And remember, no relationship -- however close or dear -- is sacred for its own sake.
written from Pleasant Valley, Prince Edward Island, Canada
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created June 19, 2015