Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What defines you?

     What defines you?  Most people are defined by their jobs.  That’s why when we introduce ourselves to others, almost always the first question is “What do you do?”  Even when the question isn’t asked, that’s what we usually default to; “I’m a minister,” or “I’m a nurse,” or “I’m a manager,” or “I’m a stay-at-home mom,” or “I’m a (insert your own occupation here).”  You get the idea.
     Occasionally someone may define themselves by a hobby, or by some past accomplishment.  “I’m an avid golfer,” or “I ran seven marathons last year.”  Because our identity is the basis for our self-worth, sometimes people may exaggerate, aggrandize, or even outright lie about what they actually do or what they have accomplished.
     So how much of your identity comes from your marriage?  Because we live in a country and culture that holds individualism as a sacred right, the vast majority of people reject the idea that one can be content, let alone blessed, by finding their identity in a relationship with someone else.  A woman may say she loves her husband, but she wants to “make a name for herself” and not be dependent on him.  A husband may neglect his wife in order to advance in his career, all the while justifying his pursuit of individual achievement as “providing for his family.”
     Yet, Christian marriage is a calling.  When you say “I do,” God says, “The two will become one flesh.” (Mark 10:8)  While the concept of “one flesh” can be lived out in a variety of ways in a marriage, at its core, “one flesh” should be the most powerful identity marker a married couple has.  In becoming one flesh, you become one together and one with God.  Your physical oneness is a direct reflection of the spiritual oneness that exists between Father, Son, and Spirit.  As husband and wife, you are jointly called to participate in the Kingdom of God.  Your relationship together is then defined by lives of love, forgiveness, joy, peace, patience, mercy, grace, and kindness toward each other.  A loving, covenant, Christian marriage isn’t just an identity marker, it is a doorway into deeper spirituality, intimacy, and connectedness between a husband and wife.   
     In no way does this minimize a husband or wife’s use of the unique talents God has given.  It simply means we rise above the culture’s pull to find a self-centered, prideful, self-worth that minimizes you and your spouse's shared covenant and calling in the Kingdom of God.
     If you want to know who I am, I am Lisa’s husband, because through our marriage I am consistently brought closer to God.  May the Lord bless me to always find my identity in Him reflected through my identity in her.


 Is your church doing everything it can to help facilitate healthy marriages?  Are you sure?  The Marriage-Friendly Church is available now and gives you the questions every church needs to be asking.  Available at 21st Century Christian or on

If you are in the Middle Tennessee area, I will be presenting a seminar based on The Marriage-Friendly Church at the Caring Connections Conference, Friday, May 10, 2013 from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m.  Go to for more info.
Top photo Image credit: <a href=''>zaretskaya / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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