If someone asked you to list your primary roles in life, how would you answer? My answers would include wife, mother, daughter, friend, and neighbor. Your answers may include grandparent, athlete, student, employer, or employee. These roles can shape your life and dictate how you spend your days. If you’re not careful, they can define your identity and become the measure of your worth.
Do you ever feel like everything hinges on how well you perform your role as a parent, student, or employee? You may sometimes feel frustration when you look back on your day and realize your performance fell far below the standard set for you. Measuring your worth based on how well you perform these roles leaves you at the mercy of the world around you. You feel worthy when others accept you and shaken if they don’t.
Striving for acceptance can have a significant effect on how you interact with your neighbors. Fear of rejection makes sharing your faith immensely difficult. You may also find it challenging to show them Christ-like, self-sacrificing love because you worry it won’t be reciprocated. If your identity is rooted in relationships, you won’t engage in conversations or actions that might put your relationships at risk.
However, if your identity is found in Christ, the way you share the Gospel changes. When you take to heart His truth and the promises of scripture, you lay a firm foundation—a foundation on which you can place your identity. Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, you are guaranteed wholeness in him. None of your earthly accomplishments can change this fact.
An identity rooted in Christ offers the freedom to love, to speak truth, and to be bold. In fact, Jesus commands it. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). He then gives the sweetest of assurances to go along with the command. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (v. 21).
Earlier in His ministry, a man asked Jesus about the greatest commandment. He responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39).
What better way to love your neighbors than to lay aside fear of rejection and failure and share with them the hope you have in Jesus Christ.