Summary: talks about how we can get wrapped up on worldly success and how to find our true identity in Christ.
Identity Theft – Stolen by “Success”
Our identity can be Stolen by “Success” when our image of success is…
…Driven by Performance – Look what I have done
…Focused on Possessions – Look what I’ve got
Our identity will be Successfully Secure when our image of success is…
…Centered on Christ – Look at Him and what He is doing and has done
Have you ever played the game of Life?
We have an updated version of the game of Life called “Twists and Turns” that we enjoy playing. It has an electronic debit card type of thing that keeps track of your score.
Anyway, the point of the game is to earn the most life points. Life points come in the form of more money, bigger houses, more cars, getting married, having kids, as well as other experiences of life.
It’s a fun game that my family enjoys playing, but it’s unfortunate that there are people who actually believe that is how life really works. Try to get more money, bigger homes, more cars, and have more life experiences so that you will win the game of real life.
In fact that seems to be what people perceive as the successful life, the American Dream if you will.
If I can just have a healthy family and own my home and a couple of cars and have a good paying job, I will win the game of real life, I will be successful.
Now none of those things are bad things. Who doesn’t want to be healthy and owning a home is good stewardship and we all want to earn a decent living.
But when we find our identity in our worldly success, we are building on very shaky ground as the current economy shows.
Doesn’t always seem so successful
But even beyond building on shaky ground, the fact of the matter is that even when you have all those things, there are plenty of times the “successful” life doesn’t seem so successful. You can have all those things and still be empty inside.
You don’t have to look any further than Hollywood to see that and many of us don’t have to look any further than our own neighborhoods or even, our own families.
What is sold as the successful life of the American Dream has often times turned into what some might consider more of a nightmare.
When I worked at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as an interest rate futures broker, I came in contact with many people whose whole view of success was how much they made and how much they had.
Now not everyone was that way, but there were quite a few whether they admitted it or not. This was how they measured success.
If I made more than you, I was more successful than you. If the boat I bought was bigger, I was more successful than someone with a smaller boat.
But so many times, as they accumulated money and stuff and had an outwardly beautiful wife and kids, the successful life they were striving for, seemed to crumble around them as the desire for more led to affairs and broken marriages, to drug use, to power struggles and a continual lack of contentment.
Promise of Successful life = Empty promises
What the successful life that is measured in money and stuff promised turned out to be just empty promises for those who pursued it as their goal. Their identity was tied to that image, but ultimately, their identity, the identity they have been created to have, was being stolen by the lure of success.
This morning we are continuing our series, Identity Theft, and we will be finishing this series up talking about how our identity can be Stolen by Success.
I would ask that you turn with me to Luke 18:18-30.
We are going to look at a man who is the picture of success as the world sees it and from this we are going to learn some things we might look for so we can avoid having our identity stolen by success.
18 A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ’Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’"
21 "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."