In part 1 I addressed lie #1 that Satan speaks regarding significance — You’re not important.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that whispered in my subconscious ear, but it’s more than I care to count. Lies are always combated by truth, though. And the truth of the matter is that you (and I) are a work of God and are loved by God. That, dear friend, is your identity.
And as I said in part 1, identity precedes responsibility in God’s economy.
The second lie has to do with responsibility.
Before getting to that lie, though, follow me through this wonderful story:
In 2016, a small, slightly damaged oil painting was drug out of a basement in New Jersey. The owners figured it would fetch several hundred benjamins (those are hundred dollar bills if you can’t track with my flyness) at auction because it looked oldish and had some character. Imagine their shock when someone told them they’d had a Rembrandt tucked away in their dingy basement in Jersey all these years.
The small painting, it turns out, was part of Rembrandt’s early series on the five senses. When I say early, he was about 18 when he painted the work pictured above. After being purchased for close to $1 million, it has been on display at the Getty Museum in California.
The real tragedy of that painting being left in an unseen corner is that the work couldn’t be enjoyed by others and the artist couldn’t receive credit for his work.
On a far greater scale, how tragic is it that you and me, masterpieces of God, could live as though stuck in a gloomy basement or stuffy attic, neglecting to reflect the glory of our Creator and failing to be awe-inspiring displays of His genius and attention to detail…
This consideration leads us to the second lie.
LIE #2: What you do isn’t important.
Hot on the heels of attacking identity, Satan’s next move is to go after responsibility. In fact, I’m convinced that one of his primary tactics is to blur the lines in our minds and get us to confuse the two, so that I become what I do. Thus, what I’m doing (or not doing) becomes who I am (or who I am not).
It’s part of the reason one of the first questions guys ask one another is ‘what do you do for a living’. As if what you do tells me what I need to know about who you are. Only if you tell me you’re a ventriloquist, then I feel like I know all I need to know.
But no matter what someone does, the whispers come…
- It isn’t significant enough.
- It isn’t noteworthy enough.
- It doesn’t make enough money.
- It won’t make a lasting enough impact.
For the last decade, I have gone all in on the lie that I have to do something grand, something large-scale, something that people would talk about and perhaps even line up to see or experience.
It’s no surprise that over that same period I never had strong sense of my identity as a son of God. I was so wrapped up in doing things for God that I had never absorbed being loved by God.
Until you feel loved by God, you’ll feel like you have to perform at a certain, undefined and also unattainable level.
It turns out the significance of what we do isn’t wrapped up in what we do.
The Apostle Paul’s instructions to slaves in first century Colossae give us marching orders today
Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3.22-24, CSB)
These verses say nothing about what you do. But they say everything about how and why you do it.
Wholeheartedly. Not for the applause or approval of people. Work as unto the Lord for from Him you will receive your reward.
Bottom line? Your attitude and mine is what keeps what we do from being significant.
It’s not about going out and starting something new or building something bigger.
It’s about acknowledging that you are God’s handiwork and as such, living faithfully so that you put His artistry and majesty on display for the world to see.