…though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable…Philippians 3:4-7
These are the apostle Paul’s words to the believers in Philippi. If anyone is an example of chasing identity through performance, Paul is the man. His early life found him rigidly performing as a Pharisee of the highest standing. That is until he encountered Jesus Christ. You can read about his experience in Acts 9. From this point forward, his entire life and focus changed.
…but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.Philippians 3:7-9
What does your list of accomplishments sound like? I know I kept a running tally of all mine and from that place, I attempted to form an identity. But it never quite worked for me. You see, someone would come along that was just one step better, funnier, more qualified or competitive…and I dropped back. So I worked harder…until I didn’t anymore.
Like Paul, I encountered Jesus. I wasn’t struck by a bright light and blinded for three days, but I experienced him just the same. His words to me changed my life. But that’s for tomorrow.