Faith Identity

Caught in a False Narrative

I’d like to think I’m a fairly realistic guy; that I have my head screwed on straight and see myself and the world from the perspective of truth. And, for the most part, I do, until recently. Through a chain of events that I’m sure God was using to capture my attention, he has been taking me back to some core views I had growing up that were completely false about myself; things that God does not think or say about me at all. And, yet I did.

Trash Talk

I couldn’t do anything right, because that is what I heard and it’s what I believed about myself. And, yet, while holding on to such a self-view I claimed to follow Jesus. How can a guy say he loves Jesus and yet hold on to culturally false narratives?

We Each Hold a Skewed View to Some Extent

We are going to take a portion of scripture found in Colossians 3 and breakdown the difference between God’s view of our manhood and our own.

Colossians 3:1

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

I have been raised with Christ; that is, I can point to a time in my life when the tide turned and I recognized Jesus for who he claimed to be. I saw my need for salvation and I trusted in him. Based upon my step of faith, I am to seek the things that are above, where Christ is. In other words, seek things that God values. Seek his perspective on life.

Colossians 3:2  

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 

There are two ways you can look at life; from your perspective without God or from God’s. To set my mind on the things of the earth means I value and interpret circumstances from a perspective that excludes God. I see my failures and mistakes. I see your stupid choices. I conclude that life is a rotten deal and if you are going to make anything of it, it’s up to you. Earthly values elevate possessions, others’ opinions of you, and what you know as greater than who God says you are.

To set my mind on things above is not to be so ethereal about life that I have no practical sense, but instead to so see life (and myself) from God’s viewpoint such that I change how I interpret life. 

This next part is what hit me.

Colossians 3:3 

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

David has died to self and my life is now hidden (secure) in Christ. As my life verse says (Galatians 2:20), it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives his life through me. 

When I trash talk myself, (which I have done way too many times growing up), I am trashing God’s view of me. I am living from a false narrative and it is destroying my life and the relationships I have.

James Bryan Smith, author of the book “The Good and Beautiful You” has this to say. “I have come to believe that attempting to establish my worth in the world is not only being unfaithful to God, but is actually being disloyal to myself.” Unfaithful to God?!  Disloyal to myself?! Why go against the true you defined by the one who loves and knows you best? 

Colossians 3:4 

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

There is a resurrectional aspect to those words. Jesus Christ promises that at the right time, as determined by God the Father, he will return to earth to rule and reign with the redeemed. Christ is your life eternally. Yes and Amen!  What we fail to realize is for those trusting in Christ, he is your life, now! I’m sitting in Concourse C of the Denver International Airport as I write this. Next to Gate C44. Christ is my life, right now. He is my life in the next moment, and the moment after that, and after that!  If God grants me tomorrow, He will still be my life. When I am at my office or on a construction job site or having dinner with my wife, or mentoring a young man, Jesus wants to live his life supernaturally through me.  Through you.

You and I are not bodies with souls. We are souls and bodies integrated as one. We can claim to love Jesus and yet operate almost exclusively without him. That is probably more indicative of a life of no faith than faith at all. One author called his book Christian Atheist  (Craig Groeschel). Saying you have faith and yet not allowing Christ to saturate your life is living by a false narrative.

False Narrative Influences

You might say, “OK, you got me. Yes, I say I love Jesus, but truth be known I operate 95% of the time without him. My life is my life and I rarely consider if what I am pursuing aligns with what God values. It’s my life and I can do as I want is my modus operandi. But, now that I have read this post, perhaps I am living by false narratives and influencing others along the way.”

Perhaps. When Christ is your life, he is your life. Not you living like a Christian. Rather, he is your power source. His Word matters and His desire is that you experience the glory now of life in Him.

So, what false narrative do you need to cast off and what parts of life in Christ do you need to be increasingly saturated with?

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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