Have you noticed that as men, we can often relate to others only in terms of what each does for a living? Our job becomes our identity, who we truly are. Isn’t that why the loss of a job can create such a crisis in a man’s life? Certainly, the issue of providing for our family is one that shouldn’t be ignored, but this seems to go beyond that.
Often I hear about divorces that are due to the father being more married to his work than to his wife. Could it be that his identity was wrapped up in his job and not in what it should be? Each one of us might do well to ask the question, “Who am I, really?” If everything I have and currently know is taken from me, am I still someone, or nothing?
There have been times in my life that I have unknowingly had my identity in other things. In Florida I was working eleven hours a day to get ahead in my job. The result was a neglected wife struggling with three young children and a gold (actually solid bronze) bar with the words “Outstanding Performance” on it. Is that something to be proud of or what? Now it is easy to see what a fool I was as I daily see that bar sitting in front of me on my desk. It isn’t displayed as a trophy, but as a sad reminder to prevent me from losing my priorities again. Jobs come and go, but a family is eternal! The precious souls that God entrusts to our care are eternity bound, and as fathers we are powerful influences in their lives.
But the answer is not to have our identity in our family either. Then what happens when there is not peace in the home or a loved one is lost? It is only when our identity is in the Lord Jesus Christ that all these other areas come into proper perspective. You see, I’m the adopted son of God the Father through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
If my identity is in the Lord Jesus Christ, then my identity is steadfast, since nothing can sever my relationship with my Lord (Romans 8). No matter what the circumstances, there can be peace when I am in Christ Jesus. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).