My Identity Matters in Support Raising
By Sandra Barfield
“North American culture tells us our value is in what we own or accomplish; and our worth is reflected by our position or salary. Family and friends may not consider ministry a real job because it lacks these traditional markers. But Scripture teaches our value comes from God and His love for us.” I believe Steve Shadrach, in The God Ask, writes this passage because he has lived it. At a recent, Support Raising Solutions Leadership Conference, Steve shared that how we do ministry, how we do support raising, and how we do life boils down to our “identity in Christ” and I, for one, can attest to this very thing.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Ephesians. The clarity of which Paul writes of redemption and grace through faith points clearly to his statement, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:4,5). When we hear statements like “get a real job” we are tempted to feel attacked or distracted. But, actually, this presents a beautiful opportunity to call our friends and family into a deeper understanding. It is important that we, like Paul, make this a basis of our “identity” perspective. We are “alive with Christ” and “thrive” in our calling. Will we be able to passionately answer the question of why it is important to be fully-funded? The answer … so that we can go into the plenteous harvest fields.
Secondly, God is our source—not our partners, not our plans, and not our hard work. It is also important to remind ourselves of Abraham, Isaac, and the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:13). Abraham names the place “Jehovah-Jireh” because of God’s gracious provision of a substitute for Isaac. Jehovah-Jireh is not “The Lord Did Provide,” but “The Lord Will Provide.” In other words, the name does not simply memorialize a past event; it anticipates a future action. Thus, “I have no lack for my God supplies all of my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). We pray to God for our needs and invite our friends and family to join us in carrying the Gospel.
The last point that I want to encourage you in is this: Power, influence, and confidence all come from a strong sense of identity. We look to Paul, again, as we recognize that he has great influence into the lives of the saints in Ephesus. He prays, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe …” (Ephesians 1:17-19) It is important to be reminded that support raising is ministry. As we pray for our friends and family, let them know also that they have or can have (if they are non-believers) the “Greater One” living in them, because greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Recently, I was reading “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ” and praying the 23rd Psalm. (Madame Jeanne Guyon in her appropriately titled book gives instruction on how to feed on His word.) Having read this book so many years ago, I really wanted to refresh myself on going deeper. This time praying Psalm 23:1 gave me such a revelation of His love and how my Shepherd guides, protects, seeks out, embraces, provides, and feeds me. I am amazed how such a commonly quoted verse reveals such depths of what He thinks of me. This was just a reminder of a day, many years ago, when I had a supernatural encounter with the God of the Universe. He touched me like a bolt of lightning from the top of my head to the sole of my feet. In an instant, He made everything new and just like Joseph in Genesis 5:20, this Scripture became true for me – “what satan meant for evil God meant for good.” From that moment on, I became secure in my identity. No words, actions, or circumstance will ever alter that.
If you are mildly struggling, wavering with each passing day, or downright insecure in your identity in Christ, you may have noticed that these feelings limit your potential, your confidence, and your influence. You are not alone, but He wants to settle this in you. There are so many Scriptures that will help and remind you of all the things you are in Him. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Believe it.
Remember, culture does not define you. Jesus does. Your family and friends will see the passion you have for your life’s work as you share the story of who you are and who needs to hear His story.
Praying for you always.
The following is a good list of Scriptures or just google “identity in Christ”: