“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJ)
Last week we explored the challenge of maintaining one’s identity in Christ while living in the midst of the 21st century. We discussed the temptations offered by Satan, the influence of worldview, and willfulness of self. How then are Christians to maintain their identity in light of these tests? How do we protect ourselves from spiritual identity crisis?
Overcoming identity crisis, from a worldview perspective, can be accomplished by employing the following key actions. First, accept that you are no longer the person you wish. This will help you begin to identify the things you want to change based on what you like and don’t like about your life. Second, identify what’s important to you. Then work on developing those things that make you feel good about yourself and invigorate your life. Lastly, learn to contemplate and reflect on what you want. Let go stringent goals and absolutes. Your next steps will then become obvious. If these actions don’t help, the individual is encouraged to talk to a friend or a mental health professional for support and encouragement. Unfortunately, the worldview solution is flawed in that it is dependent on a “weak link”—self, which hasn’t worked up to this point. Identity based on self, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”, is built upon a foundation that is doomed for failure. Such a plan is not of the Father but is of the world, which is passing away” (1 John 2:15-17).
Jesus left us the best model for dealing with identity crisis. Although others, including Satan (John 4:1-11), continually questioned Jesus as to His identity, His response reflected three (3) key beliefs that kept Him firmly grounded. First, He knew who He was. He was God’s Son and the Son of man (Matt. 3:17; Mark 8:31). Secondly, He knew His purpose. He was sent by the Father to die for man’s sins (John 3:16). And finally, He knew who He was to serve—God and man (John 5:30; Matt. 20:28). If we are to avoid spiritual identity crisis, we would be well advised to follow Jesus’ example.
- Know who we are. As new creatures in Christ all things are of God (2 Cor. 5:17-18). We now possess our Father’s DNA—His divine nature and righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). Knowing God’s truth gives us the assurance and boldness to counter the false identity offered by Satan and the world.
Know what our purpose is. We are to be conformed to Christ’s image (Rom. 8:29). Just as Jesus came to serve, we also are to be servants of God, answering His call to duty. Just as Jesus was attentive to His Father’s call, through spending time in prayer and meditation, we also must listen to God’s leading to fully realize our purpose.
- Know who we serve. Our identity in Christ necessitates our allegiance. In Christ, we are no longer “slaves of unrighteousness but slaves to righteousness” (Rom. 6:12-13). As children of God (Rom. 8:16) we are obedient to our Father. We are to have the mind of Christ, who was obedient, even unto death (Phil. 2:8).
Good to the Last Byte…
As believers our identity is founded in Christ Jesus. It has been revealed in God’s Word and is a reflection of His love for us. (Read Neil Anderson’s, “Our Identity in Christ”). Our identity is based on a firm foundation that is eternal and abides forever (Ep. 1:4). Jesus has made it possible for us to become partakers of God’s grace and power. Knowing our identity, we are able to hold firm our “confession of faith without wavering” (Heb. 10:23). CAUTION: If we as believers are unable to accept the identity God has communicated to us, we need to enter into a time of prayer and examination as to why we choose not to believe God (choosing rather to believe the lie of Satan, self and the world)