Is our Identity is in Christ? Are we what we have? Are we what we do? Are we what others say about us? No. The truth is we are naked, having nothing and able to do nothing. God is our sustenance, our one and only mirror in which to see who we are. And because of Jesus, like Job we are blameless and upright before God.
The Book of Job
We sometimes read the Book of Job as a story about a cosmic battle between God and the enemy where God serves up Job to the Adversary like a ball in a tennis match. However, if we take a careful look at the Prologue, we see Satan already knew all about Job’s life before God ever mentioned Job, already had a target on Job’s back, and already knew what he was going to do to him. Their interaction is not about God giving Job over to Satan. This interaction is about the Adversary of God setting up a way to falsely accuse God.
We think of Satan as accusing us. We think of the Adversary as being against us. The story of Job shows us Satan is actually accusing God, and we are Satan’s pieces he uses to set up his game. To the Adversary, we are nothing more than a strategy he uses. Job isn’t a story of God and Satan as equals fighting it out to see who will win, and us getting caught in the crossfire. This is a story of an impotent enemy using us to accuse almighty God of false motives by highlighting our own false motives.
In its essence, the story of Job explores how suffering exposes the motives of the human heart. The question it asks us is “What does your response to suffering expose in your motives?”
Satan first contends as long as Job has everything he wants, he’ll be good and love God, but if he didn’t have anything, he’d curse God.
Next, he claims Job didn’t curse God when Job lost what he had because he still had the ability to do something to rebuild his life.
Finally, the Adversary uses Job’s friend to accuse him of being to blame for his own suffering. Yet, through it all God appears to believe Job is good. “Have you considered my servant Job?” He asks. “He is blameless and upright.”
Constructing Our Identity in Christ
The potential motives Satan seeks to expose in Job are the lies we use to construct our identity. Just as Satan sought to construct his identity based on power, position, and pride, he seeks to expose these three lies in us:
- Our identity is based on what we have.
- Our identity is based on what we do.
- Our identity is based on what others say about us.
So, Job isn’t a story of a cosmic battle between God and the Adversary. It is a story revealing the false motives we use as a replacement for the true identity God created in us and how Satan is using our false motives to accuse God.
For, you see, if our identity is based on what we have, whatever God does for us that is good and loving could be for the false motive of getting us to love Him rather than a true expression of His love for us. If our identity is based on what we can do for God, then God could rightly be accused of using us for His own selfish purposes. (In fact, don’t we sometimes see it that way? Isn’t it sometimes preached that we don’t matter, only the purpose God has for us matters?) And finally, if our identity is based on what others say about us, then Satan could accuse God of being weak and powerless, if just a word from someone else could alter God’s creation.
Satan took everything from Job to falsely accuse God, but Job experienced some of his worst pain at the hands of his friends. They started out so well, meeting Job in his suffering and joining him in silence and stillness. But then, they leaned on their own understanding and deconstructed Job’s suffering down to a single question: What did you do wrong?
It is in silence and stillness, not in our own understanding, where we can find our identity in Christ. In silence, we can draw into Christ. We can learn the truth of who He is and have the truth of who we are revealed to us, separate from what we’ve done or what we have.
- So who are we really?
- Are we what we have?
- Are we what we do?
- Are we what others say about us?
No. The truth is we are naked, having nothing and able to do nothing. God is our sustenance, our one and only mirror in which to see who we are. And because of Jesus, we too are blameless and upright before God.