Missional Man Podcast
Tools for the modern Christian man.

Episode #003: Identity and Treasure, Chris Fowler

Summary & Intro

chris fowler and family

Chris Fowler – Christ-follower, Husband, Dad of 4 kids, (3 girls, 1 boy), Pastor of Fletcher Memorial Baptist in Statesboro, Georgia for 2 years, hails from Atlanta, lover of UGA Football (Go Dawgs!!), loves God and people and his family and calling people to find their treasure in Christ and live for God’s glory in all things.

Recap & Synopsis

My good friend and pastor, Chris Fowler and I plumb the depths of what we treasure and how that affects and shapes our identity. As Jesus said, “where your treasure is there you’ll heart shall be also.” Listen in as Chris shares his personal story about his upbringing and life. Chris and I connect the dots between what men treasure and worship and how it shapes who we truly are. “We become what we worship.”

*The following notes are quotes from Chris and I. Use them freely and widely, but please offer credit where credit is due. Thanks.

“Two main questions we answer about ourselves: 1. Who am I really? 2. What’s my role or place in the world.”

“An identity crisis is when I can’t answer that question with any degree of certainty. I can’t answer who I am or what my place is in the world.”

“Anytime we face major changes in life we’re forced to ask those questions: marriage, mid-life crisis, or any major change or upheaval forces those questions to be reanswered.”

“Today it’s so common because so many of the markers that were there to help us in this identity search have been removed.”

“My identity discovery story came in phases.”

“God invaded me and was like ‘are you ready to do this my way yet?’ That was the first launching off into that identity.”

“I was a bit legalistic, so I thought I could earn grace back from God. So I did all the church stuff. I had an institutional church identity. It wasn’t until seminary when I was exposed to these great thinkers that forced me to look at grace a different way.”

“Buckle in for the long haul because for most of us it will probably come in patches or seasons. I think we learn better that way then hitting us all at once.” (Jonathan)

“The danger is stopping anywhere along that path and thinking ‘okay this is it'”.

“It’s almost like as leaders we are trying to create identity crises, because so many of us are living with lesser identities or lesser treasures that take their wrong place. We almost want to force these crises sometimes so that they are open to that next step. Forced to view ‘what am I treasuring?'”

“There was no identity crises in the beginning until Genesis 3 with the Fall. Now you can see the splinter effects of that identity crisis: creation vs. evolution, environmentalism vs. creation care blessing, marriage, work as an act of worship vs. becoming what we worship.”

“We default right away to things we are responsible for and the things we do.”

Matthew 6: Jesus connects the dots between what we treasure and where our heart is (22 min.)

“Jesus touches on identity with a little bit more depth in Matthew 6:21: “Where your treasure is there you’re heart will be also. It feels so revealing about this issue of identity. Jesus is saying when you find your treasure, you’ve found your heart.” (Jonathan)

“The question of Jesus helps us reform an identity in something greater that helps us through the major upheavals of life.”

“There’s an unbreakable link between what we treasure and what defines us, what captures our heart, the core of who we are is owned by our treasure.”

“We become what we behold.” – unknown

“Jesus says if you treasure your connection to God as your defining identity then you will become like that.”

“We do what we love or value. We always align our lives around our treasure. Our defining identity is built around what we treasure the most.”

Men might say ‘there’s so many things I’m supposed to love but somehow I have to give my highest love to Jesus’. This is a tough tension where our love is competed for between people and God. How do men love all the good things in their life without making them treasures that pulls from their greatest treasure?

Key Moment with Chris: Defining Identity (28 min.)

We do have multiple identities. But that’s where it struck me: what’s our defining identity? What is the identity that defines us and then defines every other identity?

If Christ is our defining identity, it will define how we love our wife, kids, work, people.

If he is not our supreme treasure, then its competition versus definition. All these things are at odds with each other because they are jockeying for position in my heart.

How can men be encouraged when the key to finding their true identity is to look outside of yourselves? That’s so unnatural but that’s what we’re called to do. If we were the creator then that would make sense. But we are created and made in God’s image. We are defined by the image of who made us. (Jonathan)

There’s a lot of freedom when you connect your identity to something stable, better and above us.

Store your treasure or identity where it is secure. We lose loved ones, jobs and our kids grow up and leave. If you’re banking your identity treasure on anything else that’s prone to change it’s crisis. But if you bank it on what doesn’t rust or get destroyed then it is secure. Then you’re able to give better and more to those sub identities we have.

Philippians 3: Paul connects the dots between who we are and what we treasure (33:55 minutes)

Anything we’re finding our defining identity or treasuring…is loss.

You’ve got this balance scale with these little pebbles of identity then this boulder of Jesus just scatters everything.

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord.

This is helpful for men who are confused on how to view their “lesser” things. Paul frames his language in comparison terms.

Are my 12 identities that are competing going to take it or is Christ going to be my defining identity?

Romans 1: Paul connects the dot between idols, treasure, and how they shape what we do (42:20)

When what we treasure moves off of God to anything else it’s called idolatry. Treasure means worship, adoration or prize. What we treasure determines are we true worshipers of God or idolaters.

If you treasure God it will lead to a certain behavior. If you don’t treasure God but instead idols that will lead to a certain behavior. (Jonathan)

It’s a very scary thing for God to say “here, go and be owned by your desires.” No thank you please don’t let me. I don’t want to be controlled by the desires I have but by Christ. It’s so destructive to be owned by our desires and to look within for our desires.

 Action Round (1 Take-away & 1 Action-Item) (56 min.)

1 TA (One take-away for YOU think about)

Our treasure defines our identity.

1 AI (One action-item for YOU to go do.)

Take some time alone and in quiet and do a simple evaluation, make a list: what are some of these components of my identity and what is getting the highest priority?

Most likely what you’ll find, including myself, is that Christ is probably not our defining identity. As we see what is out of balance let that lead us back into practical grace.

Connect with Chris

On Twitter

On Facebook

Favorite Resource on this Topic

John Piper

J.I. Packer, Knowing God (one of my favorite books) – practical, shoot you in the heart theology book

Matt Papa, Look and Live: Behold the Soul-thrilling and sin-destroying glory of Christ

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