Dave Kraft in his book Leaders Who Last wisely states, “As a leader, everything I am and everything I do needs to be anchored in my identity with Christ. Leadership begins and ends with a clear understanding of the gospel and being rooted in the grace of Jesus Christ as a free gift.”
I struggle with this. I want to put the proverbial cart before the horse and derive my identity from my doing of ministry. I like to think of myself as a youth leader, as a good youth leader. I like to get my sense of self-worth out of performing well and have people give me praise (disguised as compliments) to build up my confidence. I struggle with identifying myself outside of my job as a youth leader. I struggle to answer the question, “Who am I?” without spouting off a list of things that I do.
But that’s backwards. My ministry should flow out of who I am. And the work Jesus did should define who I am, not the works that I do. I am a child of God. I am redeemed. I am an ambassador of Christ. I am a coheir with Christ. I am justified. I am made whole. I am clean through the washing of water with the Word. Praise Jesus for the work that he does and continues to do in me.
My ministry is a celebration of Jesus’ work in my life and in the lives of the students I lead. It’s so easy to miss that.
So here are some practical tips to anchoring your identity in Christ:
- Pray for yourself and for your own growth. Be selfish when you pray. I ask God simply to help me take one step closer to him each day. Lord, what step do you want me to make today?
- Spend time in God’s Word for you, not for this week’s lesson. This is so important that I often miss it. The first thing I need to do in the morning is read God’s Word for me. I even start off by praying, Lord, let your Word speak to me this morning, not for anyone else but me. I read and highlight the verses that stick out to me. Then I pray for the text to be applied to my life. Sometimes I have deep revelations. Most of the time I don’t, but I thank God for his Word and trust it to be working in my life.
I’m pretty selfish when it comes to my morning prayer and Bible reading. I think we need to be. If we rely too much on our own power, we’ll eventually fail.
What About You?
What are some ways you anchor your identity in Christ?
(Photo Credit: Nana B Agyei)