Work and Identity
Updated: Feb 2, 2018
One thing I’ve been learning a lot about and growing in is my understanding of how everything I do is affected by who I am in Christ. I’ve specifically been thinking a lot about how this relates to what I spend the majority of my days doing-playing music. Whether it’s spending a couple of hours in a practice room by myself, rehearsing with others, or doing my homework at the end the day, I’m growing in realizing how this is all impacted by the gospel. I’ve been thinking specifically about how we’re called to pursue excellence and submit to God’s timing.
Pursuit of Excellence
No matter what sphere we’re in, or where we do our work, we are called to the pursuit of excellence. To begin with, it’s biblically clear that we’re called to do our work with excellence. (Col. 3:23, Dan. 6:3). Another benefit of being really good at what we do is that we gain the respect of those around us. (1 Thessalonians 4:12) When I do my work diligently, set an example for others, and help to lead in a healthy manner, then I gain the respect of those around me. Without that respect, who will care about what I have to say when it comes to my beliefs? Now, there is a fine line to be aware of when pursuing excellence. It’s totally possible (and really easy) to pursue excellence for selfish and prideful reasons, working for the approval of others because I think that will satisfy me. However, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, there are many ways that it’s possible to pursue excellence with pure motives.
When I get caught up in the pursuit of knowledge and success I catch myself gradually closing my hands into a grip that eventually comes to hold all that I have in a tight clasp. I want to be able to do everything, and I want to be able to do it all well, often using the excuse that “it’ll help me have a successful career”. However, I can recount many instances when I was hit in the face with the realization of how finite I am. Every time I go into the practice room or begin to study, I have to acknowledge that, while there are a lot of things I desire to do, they take time. I have to fight against my greed for instant gratification, and instead rely on God and take the long road filled with hard work. I have to realize where my gifts and abilities come from, causing me to praise God as giver, and then ask Him humbly for growth. Oftentimes the timetable that I want is different from God’s making it a daily fight to submit to Him, believe that He knows best, and then still praise Him even when things don’t go as I’d like.
It’s not an easy process, and it frequently hurts. It flies right in the face of my pride, my stubbornness, and my selfish ambitions. However, because of who I am in Christ and the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in me it becomes fully possible to pursue excellence at the highest level with honest motives and a pure heart. It becomes possible to submit to God in everything, even to the extent that I loosen my grip and give up control on all that I do. Praise God that because my identity is rooted in Christ I’m able to work to become really good at music, but at the end of the day it’s ultimately God who will give me the growth and abilities that I need to best serve others and His kingdom.