When our Work Becomes our Real Identity: Was the Apostle Paul the “Original Energy Bunny Christian?” Philippians 3:7-11

Your resume is a valuable tool, whether you are a high school student looking for that first part-time job, a seasoned employee hoping to secure a prestigious promotion high pay position with a leading company, or something in between.

On your resume, you will definitely boast about the degrees you have earned, the awards you have been given, or the success you have enjoyed on the job. It will include a “diverse array” of “relevant” on the job hands-on experiences.

But what happens when we make these “relevant hands-on” qualities into the very central piece of who we are in the context of the new role we want to fulfil?

It’s ever so easy to get so wrapped up in our identity as employees, employers, students, or parents that we can feel as if our worth depends on the work we do.

Leaving our “original” or “former” work behind—whether it is temporarily or permanently—causes us to lose that particular sense of identity from that job.

If we experienced failure in our work, it probably leaves us feeling worthless, and looking for “self-redemption” while success creates a sense of arrogance and superiority. Our work is distorted by sin when we make it into our identity.

The Apostle Paul’s resume was most definitely unmatched by most others.

In our reading for today from Philippians 3:7-11, Paul lists every quality that could have formed his identity: a top-notch education, professional success, religious devotion, moral excellence, and more.

Yet he is unhesitatingly, unashamed in the least to add that he would gladly throw it all away in exchange for a better identity as a child of God in Christ.

Your resume is not your identity; God has made you someone far greater than the sum of your accomplishments and failures.

What to do with that possibility?

“Rest” in the joy that your identity is found in Jesus!

Get “Energized for God” and “Keep going and going and going and going.”

Going and going and going into all of the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom. Matthew 9:35

Going and going and going …. Walking, Running, the Hard Road before us …. “Listen carefully: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves [have no self-serving agenda]. Matthew 10:16

Going and Going and Going and Going ….

Motivated ONLY by the FIRST Love of our Resurrected Savior Jesus Christ, Tend the Lambs and Feed the Sheep of God’s Kingdom on Earth …. John 21:15-17

Spread the Gospel as Jesus Commanded: Matthew 28:16-20

Witnessing unto the Lord Jesus Christ unto the “ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19)

Always ready to testify unto our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as to the eternal hope that is within us, and which surrounds our every single step. 1 Peter 3:15

So, prepare your minds for action, be completely sober [in spirit—steadfast, self-disciplined, spiritually and morally alert], fix your hope completely on the grace [of God] that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1Peter 1:13

Philippians 3:7-11Amplified Bible

But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; 11 [a]so that I may attain to the resurrection [that will raise me] from the dead.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Several years ago. I heard, was inspired by a testimony given by a Lay Person on a 3-day Spiritual Retreat. The title of the Witness Talk was “Christian Action.”

He testified to us that as he read, and studied the New Testament Epistles, he became thoroughly convinced Apostle Paul was the original Energizer Bunny.

I guess, maybe just a little, you remember those battery commercials where a mechanical pink bunny would zoom across the screen beating a bass drum and it would just keep on going and going and going never stopping for anything.

The implication was it was using the power of Energizer batteries, which were long lasting.

The Testifiers implication about Apostle Paul was nothing stopped him; things like being blinded, walking long hard roads, great distances between cities and villages, being wrongfully arrested, 39 lashes, being beaten, being stoned with rocks, great storms upon the high seas, panicked crew members, shipwrecked, snake bit, robbers, assassins, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst and in cold and exposure, great physical and Spiritual weakness, and those thorns in his side …

You get the picture. I get it.

This guy did not know how or why or when or where to give up living for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; he simply kept on going like the Energizer Bunny.

Energizer-Bunny (Christian) definition: (slang) A person who seems to have limitless energy and endurance (for the sake of God, Jesus and Holy Spirit).

Luke 9:23-24 Amplified Bible

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests] and take up his cross DAILY [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake, he is the one who will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God].

This is a most laudable endeavor for any of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

We are called to Love God, our Neighbor and ourselves with everything we are.

You may be that Brother and Sister in Christ with that drive – God Bless You!

But in this time and in this season, I am not him, nor am I the Energizer Bunny.

I become fatigued. I want to quit. I want to not have to face any harder things than I am right now. “I simply have far, far too much on my ‘Christian Plate!’

The thing of it is, is that there is no time when this life is not being tough, and sometimes we need to face it head-on and keep doing good no matter the cost.

As my dad would frequently tell me when I was a boy, and as my Leading Petty Officer in Navy Basic, “Son, sometimes you just need to keep on keeping on.”

“Gut it out!”

“Get back up and on your Bike and just keep pedaling ….!”

“Never, ever look back ….!”

I got to be frank with you all.

Fatigue really gets me really tired sometimes.

It hits me hard, and I want to quit.

This is difficult for me because I’ve been daily working on and writing these blog entries now for nine (9) straight months without one single day missed.

Through my daily preparation of these blog entries, the Word of God, my Bible readings, my studies, my prayers, my hours of research through Commentaries and so much more efforts at being “curious,” I simply cannot remember it all.

God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit has revealed unto me:

I found out that there’s this push in me to not be a quitter.

The reason for this is many, but one thing is for sure is that when I was a young boy, I had too many someone’s tell me I give up too easy and that I am a quitter.

Navy Basic Training as an 18-year-old, everyone was telling me: “never quit!” because you have the “rest of your life” to live out from what you learn here.”

In Army Officer Basic Training in Fort Sam Houston Texas, as a 29-year-old newly minted Nurse Corps Officer, everyone was in my face, commanding me –

“You are an Officer Now – You are Grown Up Now, Never Quit on yourself!”

“You are an Officer Now – You are in Charge Now, Never Quit on your men!”

“You are an Officer now and Quitting is NEVER an option on the Battlefield!”

“If you never quit – you will never die …!”

“If you never quit moving- you will never give the other guy a “good” target!”

And the marching orders and the cadence of the beating drums – kept going!

And I was as eager, if not trying to be more eager, to do my part and far more.

What I didn’t know at the time is that quitting some things is okay – like calling a halt to my military career when my father became terminally ill with COPD.

Then there is “every single day living into and out from” the “Christian Life” which Paul speaks these very poignant and yet deeply inspiring words to:

Philippians 3:7-11The Message

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

but now most things, require our re-prioritization of our values, like not ever giving up on doing good is something you and I do not ever want to quit doing.

Matthew 6:19-26The Message

A Life of God-Worship

19-21 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse! —stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

22-23 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a musty cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

Giving up completely – relying on our past as the best guide towards our future.

Giving up completely not relying solely upon those “rusty worldly resources.”

Never giving up on God, the Father!

Never quitting on God, the Father!

Never giving up on God, the Son!

Never quitting on God, the Son!

Never giving up on God, the Holy Spirit!

Never quitting on God, the Holy Spirit!

Never giving up doing GOD things that are good and noble and loving and true!

Never quit doing GOD things that are 100% good and noble and loving and true!

ONLY AND FOREVER AND EVER, ALLELUIA! AMEN, BECAUSE ….

Philippians 3:9-11 Easy-to-Read Version

I want to belong to him. In Christ I am right with God, but my being right does not come from following the law. It comes from God through faith. God uses my faith in[a] Christ to make me right with him. 10 All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him from death. I want to share in his sufferings and be like him even in his death. 11 Then there is hope that I myself will somehow be raised from death.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God my Father, God, Author of my Life, all wisdom and understanding is found in you. Your word brings wisdom and instruction, giving me insight. Your word teaches me knowledge and discernment. Your word helps me understand the confusion in this world. Your word instructs me in what is right, just and fair. You say that fools despise knowledge and instruction but that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Lord, may I come before you in reverence and find that you are faithful to fulfill all your promises. Your word always achieves your purposes, it never fails. Through our Savior Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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