For Such a Time as This: Stewarding our Relationship with Our Self
In this blog series I am announcing the upcoming launch of the Steward Manifesto. Four writing teams comprised of twenty people have been working for over a year creating a document that we pray will be “a call to our brothers and sisters to reclaim our calling to be stewards of our identity, an identity that is being attacked, confused, and distorted.”
My prayer is that you will engage with this document as we prepare to finalize it on September 9th as part of our annual Steward Summit. You are also warmly invited to attend the Summit and be present for this historic moment (Register Here).
We opened the document by laying the theological foundation based on our four created relationships: with God, with self, with others, and with creation. The second main section of the Steward Manifesto focuses on stewarding our relationship with our self – our identity and our self-worth. The section opens with these words.
We were created to be faithful stewards, including our relationship with our self. We do not own this relationship but steward it on behalf of the one who created us for it. As living beings created by God, we declare the uniqueness, value and worth of every man and woman as an image bearer of their Creator. Because we are made in the image of God, we are objects of His love and stewards of the life He gives us. We are defined as humans by our identity in God as His stewards. When we embrace our identity as God’s stewards, it touches every aspect of our lives, especially our understanding of who we are. When we believe we own and control our identity we allow false narratives to shape who we are. We live in bondage and as a result we buy into the lie that lures us into a two-kingdom life and try to serve two masters.
We follow this introduction by naming the lies that tempt us to approach our relationship with our self from an ownership perspective. The lies include finding our identity and purpose in any other place than in an intimate relationship with God, the lie that we control and determine our own identity and the lie that our life belongs to us and not to God, including our identity. These are powerful statements of truth in our current self-defining culture.
Having named the lies, we proclaim the truths in Scripture about who we are as children of God. We proclaim that our identity is a gift from God and this reality alone shapes our identity. We proclaim that such an identity in Christ calls us to the highest level of love and service, acting as champions of reconciliation and justice because all bear His image. And the truth that our identity in Christ calls us to help others live fully into their own identity as God’s precious children, joyfully stewarding all our other relationships for His glory.
We end this section by calling the body of Christ to stand firm against the lie that identity is self-defined, to be compassionate towards all people because they also are made in God’s image, to preach, teach and model the truth of God’s image in us, and to stand against popular cultural narratives about human self-image that conflict with God’s truth.
Our prayer is that God may use these statements to help God’s people find their identity in him, leading to lives of meaning, purpose, and hope.
How about you? Who or what is shaping your identity, your self-worth? If it is anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ, how will you reclaim your true identity in him today? And how might God use you to help others do the same, leading to reconciliation, restoration, and hope?
Steward your relationship with your self today and watch God work in and through you in ways that impact everything else in your life. John states it clearly, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1) And Paul reminds us, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).