Friday, May 4, 2012
DEVOTION: A New Identity by Kathi Macias
We recently had an interesting discussion on one of the writers’ loops about the necessity of marketing and promoting our work, while being careful to avoid the dangers of crossing the line into self-promotion.
It’s easy to do; in fact, I imagine we’ve all done it in one way or another, at one time or another. But the apostle Paul provided us with the safeguard we need to keep it all in perspective: “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” The same apostle who made this powerful but humble statement about His identity in Christ also said that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15).
Like the rest of us who have been born again and have God’s Spirit dwelling within us, Paul never forgot his former identity as a “chief sinner,” without hope before a holy God. But he also knew that the mercy and grace of that holy God, in the form of His sinless Son, had rescued him from that hopeless state and given him a royal identity and a noble purpose. In my soon-to-be-released book BEYOND ME: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World, I refer to that blend of old identity with the new as being “pigsty refugees in royal robes, bestowed upon us not out of merit but out of mercy.”
I need that. I need to focus on that truth. I need to be reminded of it daily. I need to rejoice in it. It is a truth that keeps me balanced, whether I’m promoting my books, speaking to a large group of people, or mopping the kitchen floor. We are all pigsty refugees in royal robes, bestowed upon us not out of merit but out of mercy, and we need to be about the Father’s business, which is allowing that humble but royal identity to shine through us to a world lost in darkness, lighting the way for other prodigals to make their way home from the pigsty to the Father’s heart.
The apostle Paul knew and understood that so well, and he added a phrase to the identity of being who we are by the grace of God, a phrase that adds purpose to our identity. He said, “And His grace toward me was not in vain.” May we pigsty refugees in royal robes, who are what we are by the grace of God, fulfill God’s purpose in our lives so that we too may say with confidence, “His grace toward me was not in vain.” So long as we stay focused on that humble identity and noble purpose, we won’t have to worry that we’ve crossed the line into self-promotion, for we will be too busy honoring and glorifying the One who rescued us from the pigsty.