Monday, January 30, 2012

Delighting in Anonymity for the Sake of Christ

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"

Unlike other gospel authors, apostle John chose anonymity rather than identifying himself by name.  Referring to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loves" wasn't just an act of humility but also of one of delightful endearment.   John was celebrating the essence of his identity - the simple fact that Jesus loved him.

Too often I can end up locating my identity in all the wrong places

Sometimes I will locate my identity in personal performance - "top performer", "great father", "loving husband", etc...  It's about how well I'm doing in all the roles I play.

On other occasions, my identity is found in my position - "project leader", "senior executive", "doctor", etc..

Often, the opinions and perceptions of others can form the basis of my identity - "respected", "wise", "smart", etc...

The problem is that all these pose a no-win scenario.  For I find myself crushed emotionally when I do poorly, when I fail to live up to my own performance or when I fall short of what others may think of me.   In those occasions, I'm often despondent and discouraged.

Even worse than a poor showing is a good one.   Should I do well even for a brief season, it only serves to reinforce my misplaced identity, trapping me in an ever tightening grip.

My hope is to do as John did - to pursue anonymity for the sake of a better delight - to be known and loved by Christ.    When stories that intersect our lives unfold, whether at work or in other spheres of life,  how would you seek to be known and remembered?   Would you be satisfied simply to be known as one whom Jesus loved?


David Rupert said...

Glad to your writing again friend.

We struggle for titles, for elevation. I do it in the most subtle ways, competing for attention or a look or a small word of praise.

None of that stuff should matter. But it does

Every Square Inch said...

David - thx for encouragement. I was tied up - overwhelmed by my many commitments and perhaps lacking inspiration.

I was wondering about John's mindset - he so delighted in Christ's love for him that it formed the basis of his identity and wanted it known

bk said...

You do err, not knowing the scriptures.

James put his name on his letter. Paul put his name along with numerous self-references in his letters. John repeatedly referred to himself by name in Revelation. But it would certainly be foolish to argue they were not acting "for the sake of Christ" just because they are identified by their own name in the text which they wrote. (And they were not struggling for elevation/competing for attention.)

Scripture disproves your statements about John and other assertions you made. For example, a simple Bible check shows NONE of the writers of the first three gospels identified themselves by name, disproving your claim that they did.

In fact, what makes the fourth gospel so different from the first three is the unnamed author of the fourth gospel on multiple occasions took the time to describe in detail his participation at key events in the ministry of Jesus, while the writers of the first three gospels never made those sort of self-references in their writings.

Andrew said...

Wow. Just this week I was lamenting how I'm always looked over for recognitions, shout-outs, awards, and thank-yous at work. It really hurt in fact. But this is a good reminder.