My wife called me the other day and said her Suburban had a flat tire. I was in the middle of some important work, so I was initially a little frustrated by the interruption. But, I quickly remembered that part of my role as husband is to protect and serve my wife….to save my damsel in distress. So, I confidently raced out of the house to fix the flat.
When I got there I quickly crawled under the back of the SUV to get the spare down. On the Suburban the spare is located under the vehicle and it’s actually pretty hard to get out. I tried to unscrew the big lever holding the tire but it wouldn’t budge. I got the jack out and saw a bunch of instructions which, frankly, confounded me. I then tried to get the spare out again, to no avail….it was stuck. Disappointed, I reluctantly called AAA. As a man, I hesitate to even use the AAA service I pay for since changing a flat is really something a man should just do himself.
When the AAA truck arrived, I looked over and my worst fears were realized…..a female was driving the AAA truck. A female. I felt so bad, so ashamed, so embarrassed….so un-manly. How could I let a anyone else, let alone a lady, do my job? I was supposed to do this…I am the man of the house. This is part of my identity as a man. Right?
I hardly knew what to say to this lady. I was so uncomfortable. Yet, being a man, I had to know how get the spare out…so I wondered over by her and half-heartedly asked, “Have you ever fixed a flat on a Suburban….boy, the spare is a bear to get down”. She confidently chuckled, “Yes, more than I care to remember and they can be tricky.” She quickly got out the various parts of the jack, found the secret place to insert the rod and the spare came out. I instantly felt worse.
As I drove off, I still felt uncomfortable about what had just transpired so I tried to sort through my feelings to figure out what was happening inside me. Since I’m a guy, this took me a quite a while, but finally I figured out that I was letting this little incident define me. I was allowing a flat tired, repaired by a female, to effect my self identity. Was I less of a man for having been unable to fix my wife’s flat? Was I less valuable to my family as a result of this?
So, what about you….what defines you?
– Do your repeated failings define you?
– Does your success in business define who you are?
– Does your popularity define you?
– Does your job title at work or the size of your company define who you are?
– Does the club you belong to define you? What happens if you have to leave the club due to finances? Does that affect your identity?
– Does the kind of car you drive define you? Are you just as valuable if you drive a beat-up 1990 Ford Taurus versus a new BMW?
– What if someone at work outdoes you in an area where you are supposed to be the expert – does that effect your identity?
– Do you let your child’s success or failure define you?
– Do you let anything in this world effect your identity?
If you are a Christian, do you think of yourself as a “sinner” or do you think of yourself as a loved and redeemed child of God? If you know God as your Heavenly Father, yet see yourself mainly as an orphan and a sinner, then you are not seeing the real you. The real you is redeemed and joined with Christ and you are a new creation, you are adopted, you are loved. you are rich in spirit.
In Romans 7 Paul uses the legal state of a widow to explain our being connected to an old way of living (ala an old identity) versus being in a new relationship. He says that if you are a widow, the law you were under (marriage) is now null and void – it’s broken and gone! If you re-marry, you become subject to a new law and the old law holds no sway over you. So you cannot be identified with the old law or your old identity. This is a great word picture of our identity in Christ.
Our true identity comes from only one place – from who we are in Christ and whose we are. To Him, we are blessed, loved, accepted, dangerous, valuable, important, friends. We are not only all these things, but we are also “married” to Him. If you are a follower of Christ, you are no longer wed to this world. As Christians, we are the living Church of God….we are the Bride of Christ. We are married to Christ and He is the head. This is who we are….this is our true identity.
Romans 7 (emphasis added)
1Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
2For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
3So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that (our old identity) by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.