Most things, in my opinion, come back to identity. When I’m having an issue, overwhelmed by shame, or acting out in any way, there’s a good chance that it’s related to how I’m viewing my identity. I can usually trace things back to a lie that I’m believing about myself and a lie that I’m believing about God. And identity is exactly what Steven Furtick discusses in the book Unqualified.
I’m constantly amazed at my desire to prove that I’m more than people perceive me to be. I have this weird competition hardwired into my brain—I long to be the best. I will work harder and longer than you, I’ll push myself to and past my limits in order to be the best. (This would be a great trait if I had any hand-eye coordination, but I have no such skills.) This habit stems from this desire to prove my worth; it originates from the lie that I am worthless apart from what I do.
So, when Steven asked the following in the pages of his book, I had to take a look at my actions and answer accordingly. And my answer was a pretty sobering one.
“How would you complete the sentence “I am __________”? How would you fill in the blank? How would you describe yourself?
It’s not as easy as it sounds.” p. 21
Some days, I would fill in the blank with words like redeemed, whole, chosen, and worthy. My actions would show that I am kind and generous and honoring.
Other days, I would fill in the blank with words like unworthy, broken, apathetic, and fat. My actions would show that I am hurting and insecure and idolatrous.
We all fill in the blank of that sentence every day, every minute of every hour. We’re constantly telling ourselves and others who we are. Sometimes we speak the truth and we see ourselves as God sees us. Other times we don’t. Instead, we see all of the flaws, we believe the lies, and burrow ourselves within them, finding comfort in the dysfunction (or at least I do).
Thankfully, God doesn’t need a third word to describe who he is. “I am” is sufficient for him.
“…God is everything and everyone and everywhere that he needs to be in every moment. He is the fullness, he is the completion… you could string together every superlative or exaggeration and still not begin to describe God.” p. 20
The truth is that the I am set aside his title and his rights and traded them in for us. Jesus didn’t need a third word, but he took one on because he knew that we needed them. And, in place of our sinful, hurting, broken, and destructive third words, he has given us grace-filled, hope-infused, truthful words. He traded his position for ours so that we can trade our identities for his. He has called us brothers and sisters, children, and friends. We were once enemies who he has invited to the table to share a meal with. He’s constantly inviting us to ditch the old identity and embrace who we are in him.
Are we unqualified? 100%. But thankfully, we don’t need to be qualified in and of ourselves; Jesus is the one who qualifies us when we were unable to pick ourselves up.
Reading this book has made me even more grateful that the Lord sought out and continues to pursue me. Maybe being unqualified isn’t such a bad thing because it leads us closer to the Lord and reminds us of our dependence upon him. And that’s never a bad thing.
Have you read Unqualified?
How would you fill in the blank?
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