indeed, i consider that i am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. even if i am unskilled in speaking, i am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. [2 corinthians 11:5-6]


the evidence of God’s grace in paul’s life was vast. story upon story, transformation upon transformation, miracle upon miracle, faithfulness upon faithfulness – was in and through his life. yet, through all this grace, through all of God’s presence poured out unconditionally on paul – there is little pride. i’m sure he struggle with it as we all do. but, what defined paul, what marked his life, his writing, and his story is – humility! this humility was begun in brokenness, mixed with pain and suffering, flooded with pride destroying moments  – but wrought by Jesus’ work through the power of the Holy Spirit. the result – humility defined paul.

look at his words again. and, back up in chapters 10 and 11 and reread his appeal to the corinthians. it is full of love and humility. he leads full of servant-hearted love, not from power. he speaks truth but seeks to influence through Christ’s love, not his position. he pleads with passion for transformation to take place in these people through the work of Christ, not through guilt. when power, when position, when pride could have defined paul – humility did.


what defines you? more directly – who defines you?


does your ministry define you?

does your marriage define you?

do your friends define you?

do your successes define you?

do your failures define you?

do you kids define you?

do your wounds define you?

does your influence define you?

do you parents and their opinion of you define you?


what or who defines you?


today, sit in the presence of the Lord. be still and know that the Lord, your God is the only one who ever will and ever can fully define you in a way that will give life and transform life into your broken soul. sit. be still. as you read his words below: hear his voice declaring your identity because of Jesus’ work. receive it. ask for help to believe and live in it today. and then, worship him.


[3] blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. in love [5] he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [7] in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

[11] in him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, [12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. [13] in him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. [ephesians 1:3-14]


~ john ryan