The Badges That Matter

My husband recently got his Hot Air Balloon Badge! According to Fitbit, he has now climbed 2,000 stairs, and this accomplishment merits celebration. My daughter’s new driver app awarded her the Highway Badge, the Night Driving Badge, the Smooth Driving Badge, and the Smooth Acceleration Badge. For goodness’ sake, it even gave her a Welcome Badge. Me? Well, I don’t mean to brag, but I earned the Snowflake Badge on Words With Friends this week.

What app badges have you earned?

Permit me a moment of honesty . . . Who cares?

We are earning badges that actually mean nothing, do nothing, and contribute nothing to our identity. While it’s easy to make fun of my Snowflake Badge, it turns out that we create our own personal badges that are just as foolish.

We award ourselves the . . .

  • Good Mom Badge
  • My Way of Worship Is Better Than Yours Badge
  • I’m More Beautiful Than You Badge
  • My Team Has More Super Bowl Victories Badge
  • Big Wage Earner Badge
  • My Kids Turned Out Great Badge
  • I Am Smart Badge
  • Best House Badge

Permit me another moment of honesty . . . Again, who cares?!

While these self-given badges actually do give insight into who we are and what we value, they should not contribute to our identity. You know what badges we should value more? 

Baptism Badge—Given at the moment we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, this badge “now saves you also. . . . It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand” (1 Peter 3:21,22).

And because of our Baptism Badge, we also get the . . .

Jesus’ Robe Badge—“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Because of our baptisms, when God looks at us, he sees Jesus’ perfect record, his death, and his resurrection. Because of our baptisms, when God looks at us, he sees us as Jesus’ sisters and brothers.

And because of our Jesus’ Robe Badge, we also get the . . .

Holy Spirit Badge—“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Galatians 4:6). With the Holy Spirit living inside of us, our kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control—among other things—show that we are confident of our identity.

And because of our Holy Spirit Badge, we also get the . . .

Conqueror Badge—Because we are “convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).

And because of the Conqueror Badge, we also get the . . .

Identity Badge—You no longer have to try to find yourself. Instead, you already know who you are because “this is what the LORD says—he who created you, [fill in your name], he who formed you, [fill in your name]: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine’” (Isaiah 43:1). You no longer have to question if you belong, because you know you do. And you know whose you are.

These are the badges that mean everything, do everything, and contribute everything to our identity. These are the ones that matter.

Linda Buxa is a writer and editor. She’s also earned the Turkey Day Badge, the Launch Badge, the Super Science Badge, and the Koala Cuddles Badge. (Who comes up with these?!)