I’ve realized something about myself: how I feel about myself tends to correlate with how productive I have been. Have I accomplished something positive today? Then I feel pretty good. Did I lay around on the couch eating Cheetos watching The Office for ten hours. I feel pretty terrible. As well I should.
I don’t want to contradict what I have said earlier about our identity not being rooted in what we do, but this does not mean it is not connected. We have been created to work, to act in the world. It doesn’t mean we get our identity from what we do, it means that our identity, perhaps, defines what we do. Our calling contributes to the meaningfulness of our lives.
And I am pretty sure that I was made for more than long days on the couch.
When I was in college it was kind of the rage for Christian men to want to be Braveheart, a valiant warrior who loved to kill people with his giant sword all in the name of justice and honor and love, I suppose. I knew quite a few guys who bought these massive swords and hung them in their bedrooms, man caves and probably the attic once their wives found out.
I remember sitting around and talking about how we all wanted to be great warriors for God, kill the enemy, chop some demons head off, that sort of thing. Then we realized we didn’t know hadn’t seen any demons around the subdivision and we were supposed to meet up with some guys for wings and Monday Night Football.
It was pretty discouraging to be honest. Men, and I can’t speak for all men, and women too I imagine (can’t speak for any of them) know they were made for something important. We were just having a hard time finding it. And our swords hung in our rooms collecting dust. Open another bag of Cheetos.
Maybe that’s why Paul ended his letter to the Ephesians with this reminder:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12)
Pretty much this whole letter is about our identity in Christ: who God says we are, not who we create ourselves to be. But an important part of our identity that is remembering that we have a significant calling. The thing is that our calling, our struggle, is not something tangible or physical and so we tend to forget just how significant it is. And that may cause us to forget how significant we are. We are, by virtue of our position and identity in Christ, part of the spiritual battle between heaven and hell. This is who we are, what we were made for. Time to put up the chips.