Our Identity in Christ
By Cheryl Baird
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1, NIV
Whenever coaches are asked, “How are you?” we often reply in terms of our team: “We struggled early, but regrouped late in the season.”
Unfortunately, it’s too easy for coaches to become consumed with the team’s performance. If this occurs, our real identity can get lost in the pressure to win. Learning to separate athletic expectations from our true identity in Christ is an ongoing and significant challenge.
As followers of Christ, we are not to lose sight of what matters most in this life. In Paul’s letter to the Christians in the city of Colosse, he voiced concern about the distractions and inherent dangers of their time. Paul issued a warning to the Colossians (and to us) to pay attention, and to be careful of the fact that this world can be a captivating place. He knew that temporal rewards beckon with a fierce and determined strength. As the false teachings were to the misguided Colossians, so can a winning record be equally alluring to a coach!
If we are enticed by the rewards and attention of success, we become vulnerable to the idolatrous practices Paul warned against. Focusing our lives on anything but the “things above” is a setup for failure. We will continually be disappointed, feel a loss of hope, and will look to the next season or next recruit to fulfill us.
Paul is clear: nothing of human design should become the focal point in our lives, even something as seemingly noble as leading a team to a successful season. Anything that stands in the way of our relationship with Christ keeps us from fully surrendering our hearts and minds to Him. Setting our hearts on earthly rewards is futile anyway, since only God can satisfy our longings.
1. Can you separate who you are in Christ from your team’s performance?
2. What will it take for you to set your mind on “things above”?
3. What does it mean for you to surrender your team to God?
Extra Reading: Psalm 26:2–3; Philippians 3:7–20; Colossians 2:8
God, I want to find my whole identity in You! Please help me release the desire to replace You with anything that is of this world. Amen.