Identity comes from the Creator, through revelation – He reveals who He created us to be – not through creativity, through imagination – working to reveal what you imagine in yourself through your own imaging as if what you can do or say revealing who you were created to be.
Doing miracles, as Jesus does, does not make you Jesus. It means that Jesus created you to be someone who He could gift, grace, and anoint to represent Him, but it does not produce an identity; identity, when fulfilled by obedience and submission to a process of personal transformation, emerges by the Same One who Created you.
You can no more create your identity than you can create yourself.
Identity in Position
You know that you are gaining identity from ministry when you imagine that what you do earns you a position inconsistent with your identity. Suppose that you are a watchman, but you imagine that seeing means you should have a place at the table to determine what to do with what you’ve seen. Suppose you are a prophet, but you imagine that seeing means you should be a king. Suppose that you have gifts of hearings, but you imagine that healing people means you should be in “full time ministry.”
You are building identity from your imaging, instead of obeying and submitting to a process that reveals the identity the Creator shaped before there was anything of you outside His imagination. You are jumping to conclusions about who you are from what you do instead of embracing identity revealed to you from who God makes you to be.
If you grew up with feeling of inadequacy, you may imagine a pathway to cure than perception in your spiritual power and authority. You may assume “walking with Jesus” means “I will sit on the right hand.” This is an identity crisis based upon a syndrome or even pathology of internalized inadequacy: and, if you are not careful it will become a full-blown Judas syndrome: “What’s in this for me?”
Here is the point Jesus makes with washing feet: your identity isn’t your ability to cast out demons and heal the sick; your identity is serving others.
Let the equipping pass through you without telling you who you are. Allow one voice, speaking through the leaders God has aligned you to follow, confirmed by revelatory experiences, interpreted through a process of application and implementation – One Voice – to be your source of identity. He created you, so He alone can reveal your identity.
Separate what you do and are capable of doing – that big dream of ultimate ascendancy when your highest performances reveal to everyone who you really are – separate that from identity by washing feet. Remember that all you ever do will gain you a “well done, good and faithful servant.” No heavenly Oscar. No heavenly American Idol. No special suite at the Ritz or showcase in Vegas. God will measure more from your feet washing than your crusade ministry.
Inadequacy as a Syndrome
Consider that all leaders, naturally born with leadership traits, maintain a level of frustration with the present and the obstacles that stand between them and their visions. Usually, because of limitations with parents, school, church, peer groups, and repeated failures necessary to the preparation of a leader, some level of inadequacy motivates the leader toward overcoming obstacles. Or, they settle into a funk of blaming “them” for their inadequacies, or the feeling thereof.
Then, as God begins to work them through the preparation process, this sense of inadequacy meets God’s adequacy! However, leaders may maintain some sense of “I can make this happen” at some level, based upon the years of frustration and fear that the obstacles will remain as limiters of their visions. They keep a “just in case” posture, even with God!
Then, when ministry leadership begins to mature, they apply this level of compensation for inadequacy to their ministries, stepping into a “I must not allow any more failures.” And, the moment they do, they begin to apply their own identity creation to what they do instead of resting in obedience and submission to the process God puts into place to produce identity by revelation.
Over compensation for a sense of inadequacy mars the best ministries with human strength and wisdom, pushes success into prideful delusions, and feeds dreams that should die so the dreams of God can live.