Day 5: Identity

See the world as it really is.

Imagine a world, your world, where there is no love, no joy, no peace, no willingness to suffer for others, no gentleness, no goodness, no faith, no humility, and no self-control. Well, that is the world we live in—unless you choose differently. You need do nothing for a life of default to have it this way. It is the life chosen for you, unless you decide you want something different. Of course, there are laws, social norms and even family traditions that can temper the defaults and provide a sense of reward for compliance. Practiced long enough, it could even become habitual and be credited as your very own character. However it was obtained, unless decided otherwise, it is self-serving. It complies with a world that will judge you harshly if it decides to. The world is your jury and you seek its approval. However, the world gives no final judgment. On a good day, you are judged to have relevance and worthiness in this world. On a bad day, your worst fears are confirmed. You need to pick up your game, or at least stay out of the line of fire. It’s a war out there and you need to make sure there is a place at the table for you.

What would life be like if you were not subject to the constant need for relevance and approval of the world? What if there was something else? What if love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, humility, and self-control were gifts exclusive of the world? They are! *“Be not conformed to the ways of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”* It all starts with a fundamental choice. There are but two choices. The fundamental choices are 1) to live a life justified by grace or, 2) to live a life justified by works. Any real change that is sustainable will, at some point, have to be oriented around these two choices. Justification by works, you inherit by default. It is your heritage by birth. You need do nothing to have it. The life justified by grace requires a decision. That decision marks the beginning of a change in course and destination that begins to dwarf the possibilities of your default life. No one can make this decision for you. It is deeply personal. The result is a life as unique as your very own fingerprints. No one else can live this life but you. It is your path and your journey. Not to have chosen grace means you are piecing together bits and pieces of someone else’s life you borrowed and trying to make it work. The real, authentic, genuine you is lost. The counterfeit you is conforming to the world and the world is watching. You falsely believe you are in full ownership of your life. The truth is that the world owns you. It made you and, to make things worse, the world can take away the life you think you own without notice or your permission. The result is a life of conditional love, fleeting happiness, fear of loss, anger, selfishness, and loss of moral character.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The first step is a choice of how your life will be justified. Grace or works.

They say emotional intelligence (EQ) is the greatest indicator of future success as compared to Intelligence Quotient (IQ). One of the primary differences between EQ and IQ is that those with high EQ have the ability to self-assess. They see things as they really are: REALITY. Grace can only be seen when in reality. Given that reality is a prerequisite for real change, it is no wonder that self-assessment and the reality it makes possible are given such high regard. Choose grace and the reality of God that comes with it.




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