Practicing your identity may seem like a strange title. Truthfully, I’ve learned that a change in my habits stretch me forward into a fresh version and identity of myself. Habits, or systems, worked for leaders throughout history. Jesus was habitual. He rose early to be with His Father. Time with His Father was the starting point of His day, the nucleus of His ministry. His identity was wrapped in this habit. The Garden of Gethsemane brings that habit full circle, to the trajectory for which it was intended. Artists have painted numerous paintings of that night where Jesus waited for Judas to seal his own identity. Jesus’ identity was firmly locked in His intercession. His habitual surrender should confront our daily walk, in contrast to His!
Judas had slowly developed a habit of negotiating with religious leaders. It is impossible to think of Judas outside of this habit. His identity is photoshopped with his kiss of betrayal that night. Likewise, our identity is an echo of our habitual conversations, actions and relationships. I can’t resist reminding you that we are “creatures of habit”!
2021 will be identified by us through the crosshairs of the habits we tangled with daily. If you want to change your identity, change your habits! Your identity in Christ is only limited by your knowledge of Him. Your habitual trots across the pages of scripture finetunes your identity. When you go deeper, your identity in Him deepens. As the depth of your moments in scripture become more habitual, they instigate a redemptive change in your thinking. This goes back to the original meaning of these devotionals entitled “Now Matters”. Habits require our loyalty in every “now” of our daily walk. Habits become our loyal partners.
I enjoy watching Pastor TD Jakes unwrap familiar scriptures. He tends to unravel the familiar, as well as the vague. This unraveling is part of the uniqueness of his identity. He does this through the habit of staring at a scriptural text for hours. Watching him on TV is an adventure. He reads the text and listeners slide to the edge of their seats. They know there is something hidden in the text that they have habitually ignored. But they also know by habit, Jakes is about to dig in and expose them to his adventure.
The strongest habits in my life are those I have stared at the longest. As an artist I stare at paintings in a gallery to absorb their colors, textures and composition. When I hear someone uniquely communicate, I stare at their word use, the tempo-rhythm of their cadence, their buy-in to their subject matter, as well as to their audience. Sometimes as an actor, I stare at the same acting scenes over and over. I do the same with great teachers. These are habits that those closest to me are not surprised by. There are certainly others, but let’s get back to you.
If you want to know Christ. You must develop habits that take you there. A true habit has multiple tracts. It should bring new understanding into our conversations. But we must practice. Practicing your identity will accelerate your growth, your faith, your trajectory. I challenge you to be strategically habitual. It will change your identity and add value to those around you. Start now. Now matters.