Flip Flops, Jelly Beans and Cheesecake

13 Apr

If you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be? I`m going somewhere with this…I promise.

Are you a relaxed, laid back person who doesn’t bother making lists? You’re probably a flip flop. Are you competitive, energized and always on the go? Sounds like you’re a pair of running shoes! Do you love to be at home, cuddled under a blanket on the couch, hugging your mug of hot chocolate (that would be me!)…we are the cozy slippers! Or perhaps you are a fashionista…you love to get dressed up, work a room, meet new people. You’re definitely a pair of stilettos.

My cousin and I used to love playing this game. We would think up categories and then see which item we could compare our personalities to. If you were a chocolate bar what would you be? Which icecream flavour best describes you?

How about cakes?….Oh, that’s a whole other story! It was called the cake game (I know, very creative!). It was more sophisticated than the others because it couldn’t be played just anywhere. You had to be in a grocery store – and you had to be with someone who knew you really well. So here’s how it went. You stand in front of the cake section, and each person finds the cake that best captures their personality. If you don’t know what I mean by that then you wouldn’t be very good at it. Then came the part where you see just how well you know each other. I forced my sister to play this with me al the time. She would pick the cake that she thought most represented me, and I would do the same for her. If we got it right, we’d feel a sudden surge of unity- as though selecting the right cake proved that we truly understood each other. Of course, if we were at a large bakery, such as Longos or Loblaws, this sense of understanding was even deeper.

I know these are silly games…but at the heart of them they capture questions that every person longs to answer: What am I like? How do people perceive me? What image do I project to the world? What am I known for?

What is My Identity?

Every believer is forced to ask themselves this very important question. How do I define who I am? Do I instinctively think of my characteristics and personality type (I am friendly, humorous, energetic)? Do I define myself by the roles I play (I am a wife, a mother, a daughter)? Do I define myself by my ministry and ocupation (I am a teacher, a small group leader, a worship team member)? Do I define myself by what I have accomplished in my life and what I am good at?  All of these are important – they shape our character, demonstrate our priorities, and communicate to others who we are and what we are like. But they are not the root of our identity. They are merely the fruit,the outworking of our true identity.

Let’s take a look at how several of the apostles and church fathers identified themselves when addressing their letters to the early churches:

“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ…” Romans 1:1

“James, a bondservant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ..” James 1:1

“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ…”  Jude 1

A bondservant is another word for a slave. This is not denoting a slave who has been forced to submit to a tyrannical master and suffer grave mistreatment and harsh injustice. On the contrary, a bondservant of Jesus Christ is one who has willingly and joyfully submitted his life to the complete devotion and service of the only One who is worthy of being our Master. John Piper’s sermon “The Author of the Greatest Letter Ever Written” really helped me to better understand the meaning of this phrase. He explains that being a bondservant means that we are bought, owned and ruled by Christ.

We are bought by Christ: “You were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men” 1 Corinthians 7:23 NKJV

We are owned by Christ: “…and you are not your own…for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV

We are ruled by Christ: “For am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 NASB

This really challenges me to rethink how I define myself. Do I live like a bondservant of Christ? Do I desire that people define me as a bondservant of Christ? Is this what I am like? And when people find in me personality traits that are favorable (I am the flip flop, jelly bean and cheesecake) do I take the credit for myself thinking that I produced these traits myself … or do I give the glory to my Master for making me what He desires.

It`s not an easy truth, especially when my flesh wants to yell out “I belong to me! I own me! I rule me!” And in this battle with my flesh I need to rely daily on the power and working of the Holy Spirit to continually put to death the workings of the flesh; to lay down my pride so that I can live as a bondservant of Christ. So that my life is guided by Christ’s words outlined in Scripture, and not by my inward desires and longings. This means living by His ways, not mine. This means working for His goals for me, not mine. This means ensuring that what brings me pleasure is brought under submission to His authority.

Bondservant. Bought. Owned. Ruled. All for my good and for His glory.

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2 Responses to “Flip Flops, Jelly Beans and Cheesecake”

  1. GeorgieMcDonald April 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM #

    That was a great post Dina…time and time again I am reminded of our call to die to ourselves and live to God. Thanks for pointing my heart in that direction again.

  2. JK April 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM #

    Wow…I loved this post, Dina… I was thinking about that this week and now I feel my questions are answered. Thank you.

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