Forgetting your identity in Christ will mess you up in lots of ways. Especially when you’re in ministry.
Paul Tripp describes a “gospel amnesiac” as someone who forgets their identity in Christ. And based on this definition, we’re all gospel amnesiacs. Every single one of us.
And this messes us up because, as Paul Tripp said at the Doxology and Theology conference this past November, when we forget what’s already been secured for us vertically (i.e. in Christ), we search for it horizontally (i.e. from the people around us).
We forget that we’re fully loved in Christ, and so we try to make everyone in our congregation like us (and it crushes us when they don’t).
We forget that we’re forgiven in Christ, and so we rehearse our mistakes in our minds and allow our failures to become chains around our ministry ankles.
We forget that in Christ, God speaks words of love over us, and so we’re haunted by angry, critical words hurled at us by hurting people.
We forget that we’re free in Christ, and so we become enslaved to performing a certain way, pleasing a certain power bloc, or perpetuating a certain system.
We forget that in Christ, we are adopted by God as sons and daughters, and so we’re constantly needy of affirmation and compliments in order to fill the father void.
Gospel amnesiacs are always looking around them to receive what’s already been given to them in Christ. Under the pressures of ministry, our insecurity becomes crippling. By forgetting our identity in Christ, we become walking beggars, looking for crumbs of horizontal approval, instead of remembering that we already have everything we need.
Look up to Jesus. Keep your eyes on him and walk straight ahead following his path through the valleys and peaks of ministry.
Look around you to Godly, grace-filled people. They will remind you of the gospel when (not if) you forget it.
Look past the distractions of temporary approval, fame, likability, status, or any other criteria you’ve set up to determine your identity.
Your identity is secure in Christ!