Identity in Christ

I hope everyone had a great week.  It was great to see so many of you at our various Back to School Nights this week.  Hopefully our excitement for the 2018-19 school year was evident. We are so pumped up about what is happening at SVC!

Last week we had our first podcast of the year and we will continue with that format throughout the year, but today I wanted to come to you via the old fashioned written word.  Like our podcast goals for the year, my goal is to keep these blogs short and sweet, just to make sure they don’t get lost in the slew of information with which you are certainly inundated on daily basis.  Today I want to speak a word that has been on my heart this summer and continues to be my prayers for our students and our school.

On Wednesday, our entire school met in the gym for all school dedication.  We prayed for the teachers. We prayed for the students. We prayed for safety and unity and compassionate hearts.  It was a beautiful time and a great way to kick of the year.

But there was one word, one phrase, one prayer that stood out in light of some of the events of this past year and some of the things that have been on my heart for our students.  Evan Spry, one of our 11th grade students, prayed an inspired prayer against any spirit of darkness on our campus. In particular, he prayed against any temptation to label ourselves or define ourselves by our performance, our appearance, or the standard worldly definitions of success.  Instead, we must remember that we are sons and daughters of the King.

I cannot think of a more important reminder for our students, staff, and parents this time of year.  This world is constantly trying to define us. And because we live, work, and go to school in a system that rewards performance with promotions, accolades, and celebrations, all too often our performance directly impacts our own identity and sense of self.  This manifests itself in schools as an overemphasis on GPA, SAT scores, college admittance, and athletic stat lines. But, it does not stop at graduation. This worldly definition of success extends to our job title, the type of car we drive, our neighborhood, the size of our bank account, and eventually the accomplishments of our kids.  This cycle is only further exacerbated by social media, as our own worldly definitions of success are affirmed with every follower, like, and retweet. We live in a success-crazed culture.

Now, let me pause here for one second and state something very clearly.  We believe in striving for excellence. We believe in working hard. We want to be great.  But that desire is a response to our identity, rather than the cause of it. That’s where we so often get it wrong and where our culture sets an unattainable bar. Because, as Evan prayed, if we truly believe we are sons and daughters of the King, our identity is already secure.  That is the source of our freedom. Our call is to live out of that. We strive for excellence, but whether we succeed or we fail, we live freely because our performance does not impact who we are.

Here is who God says we are… “A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out darkness and into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Does that sound like God really cares about our GPA, our college choice, how many points we score in the basketball game, or the size of our bank account?  None of that has anything to do with his definition of us and our identity as His son or daughter.

So, as we kick off the year, I want to echo Evan’s prayer, that our school would be a place where students can strive, succeed, fail, and try again with absolute freedom — knowing that their identity is secure; that they have been defined by the Creator of all things; that they have been set free from the idols of our culture; and that they have a destiny and a call on their life that is far greater than anything the world can offer.  


Erick Streelman

Head of School    

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