Who Or What Defines Me?
A New Life Has Begun
I’ve found that within some Christian circles, a discussion of soul health often seems to be awkward, off limits, or even taboo. Many well-meaning church folks strongly believe that when an individual placed their faith in Jesus Christ, every part of their being became “new” – spirit, soul, and body. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT), the apostle Paul states:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
The blood of Christ makes us new from that moment forward. Jesus remarkably sent His spirit to live within the heart of every believer so that we might experience His intimate presence moment by moment, forever and ever. Jesus knew that Him living in the hearts of His disciples was more significant than Him walking beside them. This process of being made new is referred to as “justification.” Jesus took upon Himself the sin of every human being that will ever live (mercy) and placed within us His righteous standing with God the Father (grace).
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT).
All who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone are promised to live in His presence for all eternity in a place called heaven (see John 3:16, John 5:24, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:13).
At the moment we are justified, God’s spirit within us commences an unceasing transformation of our soul – mind, will, and emotions – into the very nature of Jesus Christ. The lifelong journey of becoming more like Jesus unfolds through the remainder of our life on earth (see Galatians 2:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Romans 12:2, Philippians 1:6, Matthew 16:24). The Bible calls this transformational process “sanctification.” Dying to self. Being transformed into the very nature and character of Jesus.
Please don’t miss this, okay? Justification saves you to be with Jesus. Sanctification transforms you to be more like Jesus. The two are interdependent, yet very distinct. Your Christian life will seem hollow and lacking if one of these two is developed disproportionately to the other. The maturity of a person’s spirit will not exceed the health of their soul!
Who (Or What) Have I Given Power to Define Me?
In a very simplistic sense, “identity” is as fundamental as how a person perceives themselves. It addresses the deep question, “Who am I?” Through childhood, how we learned to see ourselves was a result of the imperfect people we were surrounded by and the fallen world we grew up in. Because we were impressionable young children, we believed that everything we learned from these sources was true and right. And in many ways, we still do! Regardless of the best of their intentions or abilities, we gave the power to define who we were to people who were just as human, immature, or lacking as ourselves. Our entire life picture began to be painted upon that very canvas. And we carried that self-portrait into adulthood without even being aware.
Finding My True Identity in Christ
Peter Scazzero, in his book entitled Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature, claims, “The vast majority of us go to our graves without knowing who we are.”
Our relationship with Jesus provides us a new identity. Our true identity. His identity! We are no longer merely a collection of messages the world has defined us by, nor are we defined by the pain and shame of our past. Today, our identity is found in Jesus and lived in relationship with Jesus!
The lies propagated in our heart (both passively and actively) through childhood experiences of shame and codependence are what gave rise to our “false identity.” God wants us as His children to be set free from our shame-based identity, and to walk daily in the “true identity” He uniquely knit together within each of us.
“For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV).
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