Identity vs. Behavior Modification

This image from Propel Women today caught my eye. When the desire to prove, perform or perfect creeps up, I have to remember who I am in Christ. The identity change is a gift. I didn’t earn it, can’t maintain it, can’t lose it. Dwelling on what Christ did for me, what I never could have done myself, what I still can’t do for myself in my pursuit of spiritual growth- mediating on this huge gift of grace stirs up my affections for God much more than the pressure to perform does. You see, it’s all about identity modification, not behavior modification.

I think too often grace is glossed over so we can get down to business, you know, trying really hard for God and important, mature stuff like that. No, grace is not elementary, its not just the starting point, it’s what carries us every moment of the day. Grace transcends humanity- it’s supernatural, unmerited, and other worldly. Our spiritual growth cannot be a pursuit driven by our own human efforts of trying to impress God, ourselves or others (Gal. 3.)

When we stay rooted in Christ, we know the only good we can do (as the “branches”) is that which is fueled by Him (the “Vine”), and this is all born out of our surrender, not our hustle. (John 15) It grieves me to see so much pressure, subtle shaming and well meaning try harder motivators out there in Christian circles as if God is watching with popcorn to see how well we perform for him today. As if our best efforts could possibly impress, and sadly, when we make it all about our performances, it’s saying that Christ’s perfect performance on our behalf doesn’t matter all that much. Yikes.

Living for the glory of God is not a cause we can take up, it’s the effect of a life that’s being transformed by Jesus Christ.

Growing in Jesus is not something we can muster up in our old, fleshy strength, it’s grace at every turn, the more we surrender and admit we can’t do it, the more we’ll see Christ transform our hearts and lives.

God is glorified the more we realize the depth of our sinfulness and the grand span of his radical love and grace for us. The more we dwell on Him, on adoption into his family, and all the gifts received in Christ, then the more we’re transformed, from the inside out. The good things we do out of this heart and mindset changes everything.

So don’t start (or continue) another day with the pressure to perform, live with fresh reminders of Whose and who you are in Christ. It’s so much more about internalizing our new identities in Christ than it is about focusing on the behavior modification we want to see. It was all a gift- yes, even despite your failures today already, He still loves you. Continue to turn from the bad, turn to Him, surrendering again and again, and it’ll change everything. 💫

#gospelcenteredliving #graceoverperfection #jesuspaiditallalltohimiowe #gratitudeoverflows #identitymodificationnotbehaviormodification