Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Christian Man Finds His Identity in Christ by Tullian Tchividjian

This is an excerpt from his new book Jesus + Nothing = Everything (pp.132-133)

The gospel frees us from this pressure to perform, this slavish demand to “become.” The gospel liberatingly declares that in Christ “we already are.” If you’re a Christian, here’s the good news: who you really are has nothing to do with you—how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your education, your looks, and so on. Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. Your identity is steadfastly established in his substitution, not your sin. As my friend Justin Buzzard recently said, “The gospel doesn’t just free you from what other people think about you; it frees you from what you think about yourself.” You’re free!

Now you can spend your life giving up your place for others instead of guarding it from others, because your identity is in Christ, not in your place. Now you can spend your energy going to the back instead of getting to the front, because your identity is in Christ, not in your position. You can also spend your life giving, not taking, because your identity is in Christ, not in your possessions. All this is our new identity—all because of Christ’s finished work declared to us in the gospel.

Paul speaks of our “having been buried with him [with Christ] in baptism,” in which we “were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Our old identity—the things that previously “made us”—has been put to death. Our new identity is “in Christ.” We’ve been raised with Christ to walk “in newness of life”—no longer needing to depend on the “old things” to make us who we are.

When we truly see and understand all these aspects of what we’ve become in Jesus Christ, what more could we possibly ever want or need in our self-identity? Here in Christ we have worth and purpose and security and significance that make utterly laughable all the transient things of this world that we’re so frequently tempted to identify ourselves by.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Steve Jobs: What Christian Men Can Learn from His Life and Death

The late Steve Jobs was the iconic co-founder of Apple and one of the great CEO’s of his generation. He revolutionized the world of technology with the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes store and the billion-dollar Pixar conglomerate that produced box-office smashes such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo. Little noted and discussed, however, is how Jobs, a self identified Zen Buddhist, also helped to spread of the Gospel.

Greg Laurie, Harvest Christian Fellowship pastor recently observed, "Steve Jobs helped pave the way for more people to hear the Gospel. Even as the Romans built a road system and established a common language in all their territories that was used by the Apostles to bring the Gospel to their generation, Jobs did something similar for our generation."

In the months before his death, Jobs began more earnestly contemplating God and the meaning of life. His bestselling biographer Walter Isaacson says Jobs told him in one of his forty-some interviews,
“Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don't. I think it's 50-50 maybe. But ever since I've had cancer, I've been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of—maybe it's because I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn't just all disappear. The wisdom you've accumulated. Somehow it lives on…but sometimes I think it's just like an on-off switch. Click and you're gone and that's why I don't like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.'”
Jobs was baptized a Christian and confirmed in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He gave up Christianity at age 13 after he saw starving children on the cover of Life magazine and his Sunday school pastor couldn’t answer his question whether God knew what would happen to them. Jobs never went back to church and began to pursue Eastern religions even traveling to India in the 1970’s. He once said, “Different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery.”
Dr. Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theology Seminar, writes, "Christians considering the life and death of Steve Jobs will do well to remember once again the power of an individual life.” READ MORE about Mohler’s view that Christians can learn a thing or two from his life.
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave the graduation speech atStanford University discussing "how to live life before you die." His simple yet challenging message are a window into his soul and his struggle of unbelief in the God of the Bible.