How to Overcome (Envy Part 4 of 5)
Third, base your identity on Christ.
In the last blog post, we learn that we must acknowledge who we are not. This acceptance will free us to blossom into who we really are.
So who in the world are we?
Look at the rest of John the Baptist’s answer, “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him’” (John 3:28). He didn’t mind not being the Christ. He wasn’t envious when Jesus stole his limelight. He saw his unique role of heralding the Messiah to his generation. When he had accomplished his mission, he was filled with joy (3:29).
Get it? John based his identity, which in turn was based on his relationship with Christ. We see it at least two other times. He described himself as the voice in the wilderness (John 1:23), which is based on Scripture (Isaiah 40:3, to be exact). He also called himself as the friend of the bridegroom, the “bridegroom” being Christ. (The friend of the bridegroom is today what we would call the best man in a wedding.)
John didn’t suffer the sort of identity crisis that befalls someone when stripped of rank, possessions or relevance. He also didn’t latch his self-worth on just anybody who will inevitably fail him. He may lose everything he had, but as long as he had Christ, he was secure.
This is the pivotal principle of the whole series. The best antidote to envy is to have something that is so supreme, that even if someone else has more of the lesser things, be it rank, money, relationships, you are still at peace and full of joy. Something so supreme… or should I say, Someone. Someone who loves us utterly and has proven it at the Cross.
If I am not that person that I envy – a highly paid person or a blockbuster author – then who am I? My identity is what Scripture says it is and who is Christ to me. By faith, I am intricately linked to my Savior. I am a child of God. Someone else can have a better life (relatively speaking) but what of it? This comparison will not diminish my worth in the eyes of a heavenly Father.
When I realize anew the incredible privileges and blessings given me as God’s child, the allure of worldly status faded away. Why pine for mud pies when there is a lavish buffet in front of me? And with a great identity comes a great purpose. We will see that in the last installment of this series.
Photo credit from Till Lauer
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