A believer’s true identity rests in Christ alone. Oftentimes, in the commonplace of life, our trajectory moves from an identity in Christ to an identity nested in our thinking and doing. These movements from resting in Him to activities of self happen all too easily. No believer is immune to the sways of their heart. Thanks be to God, the Holy Spirit is ever present, bringing His children back to a dependence in Christ Jesus. His sanctifying work occurs in a variety of ways, each built upon a framework of God changing us. Inclusive to this framework is how God uses wise people, to point us to Jesus.
More than thirty five years ago, I was a new husband and would-be father. I wanted the best for our new family. Things were tough and we would soon be without my wife’s salary. I felt I needed to come up with more money to keep things together. We were approached by friends who seemingly had a solution. My wife was never an advocate of this “business opportunity” but she wanted to be supportive and went along with it.
Most Saturday nights we went to strategic meetings where our business segment leaders cheered us on. They assured us that we, too, would be the captains of our ships and masters of our destiny someday, if only we kept to their tried and true plan. I imagined people sitting in a crowded auditorium someday applauding us, as we gave them the formula for a wealthy-filled life: money, boats, homes, and automobiles; I am certain you get the picture.
In time, our church leadership became concerned for us. The elders decided to approach and warn us about our actions. Their concern led to a plan that I learned of much later. The Board met at the church office for prayer while an elder (who had experienced loss from a similar activity) met with me at his home. He spoke from personal experience for about two hours. He was thorough. As we drew to a close, I understood loss and, for the first time, understand true gain in Christ. Although I was a Christian, my spiritual eyes did not see the great jewel that was in Christ until that night.
Theologically, I know that God was at work before that evening but His work of sanctification that night jarringly reset my trajectory. Have my eyes turned from the prize in the past thirty-five years? Of course, the answer is “yes,” but by His grace, God brings his truth. He uses His word, struggles, suffering, and more wise people to redirect me to the object of my greatest affection, Jesus. God is ever faithful to those who are His.
- Selby Brannon