My job. My ministry. My children. My salary. My clothes. My friends. My extensive resume. My theological prowess. My good behavior. My acquaintances. My family name. My position of leadership. My years of experience. My health. My car(s). My talents. And the list could go on…
What do you look to in order to determine your identity? In life, what gives you a sense of significance and security? Unless we are carefully diligent we can succumb to the the world’s mode of determining our self-worth based upon personal achievement. Before we know it, our sense of meaning becomes wrapped up in our own accomplishments. And, the truth is, when we are striving to stand upon our own works, we are sinfully striving to stand upon a foundation that can crumble at any moment.
As Edward Mote was travelling to work one morning, around 1834, he desired to write a hymn on “The Gracious Experience of a Christian”. By the day’s end he had completed four verses. The very first line of that hymn reads
“My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”
Mote was touching upon what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:4-9:
“If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more…But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 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 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—“
You see, the Scriptures declare that it is not what you have done that determines your ultimate identity, but what Christ has done for you. Who God the Father declares you to be in Christ Jesus is the most important thing about you! The reality of your gracious position in Christ is an immovable foundation upon which you can stand secure.
Thus, when my health wanes, when plans fail, when I lose my job, when finances are tight, when my abilities are criticized, or in the light of gracious success—whatever the case may be—I can still joyfully sing, “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.”