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When You’re Failing at Many Things

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. —Thomas A. Edison

You’d think sincere and pure devotion to Christ would be one of the qualifiers God looks for in a person He calls to pastor. You’d think. Paul writes,

I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

I was already a pastor when the Lord gently showed me that this “sincere and pure devotion” was missing from my life. I’d read this verse dozens of times before; it wasn’t new to me. However, for months I’d been acutely aware of my struggles, failures, and shortcomings. I was numb and needed help getting out of the funk.

When I read this verse at this particular time, clarity came. “Lord,” I asked, “have I lost my sincere and pure devotion to You?”

“Pete,” He replied, “you never had it.”

God has great methods of alleviating the funk, doesn’t He?

Turns out, my sense of failure was rooted in a wrong identity. I defined myself as pastor, elder, leader, husband, and father. I’d taken on a dozen different identities and was crumbling under the march when God created me to live out one primary identity: a son of God. Think about that. There are 10,000 different roles on earth, but if you are in Christ, you are a child of God. Nothing else matters.

Purity is a singleness of substance. One thing is not mixed with another. Paul knew this—that devotion is pure when undivided and uncontaminated. From this singular devotion, all other aspects of life, love, and relationship fall into proper perspective. But that perspective only comes when you see clearly who you already are as His child—that’s where sincere and pure devotion comes naturally.

Lord, take me into a place of freedom as Your child. Uncover my primary identity. Through Your Spirit, empower me to take hold of that identity and make it the one thing—the point of origin—in which everything I do here on earth is rooted. Amen.

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