Does making a mistake cause you to feel like a failure? Have emotional wounds taken you captive? Do you ever wonder who you really are and if your life has meaning, value and worth?
Feeling secure in our self identity is something we all struggle with at times, at least if we’re honest.
Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my book, Help, I’m Stuck With These People for the Rest of Eternity!—Christian Advice on Healthy Relationship Characteristics and Making Relationship Work as a reminder that finding the Holy in the daily often starts with our own self-concept.
Old Self, New Self – Identity Crisis
Scripture speaks of an old self that we are to cast aside, and a new self waiting to be embraced.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV).
“Knowing who we are created to be eternally is basic to all interpersonal relationships, for how we interact with others flows from our own self-concept. If we view ourselves according to our old self, we will think and act in ways that portray the old self. If we truly see ourselves as the new self God is forming us into, then we will think and act accordingly. Therefore, discovering this new self is vital to our eternal relationships.
For example, if I am a person who views myself as someone who has a right to be bitter because of my past hurts, then I will relate to others out of my bitterness.
But, if I am a person who views others through the Cross of Forgiveness, then bitterness is no longer a filter through which I process my relationships. . . .
It is only as we are in Christ that our eternal identity, individual worth, and security begin to take shape.
First Corinthians 1:30–31 presents the four basic foundation stones that Jesus Christ seeks to establish within us when we become new creatures in Him:
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (NAS).
The foundation for our eternal personality will always be found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Wrong foundations cannot support an eternal person!
God’s wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are to be the filters through which we view ourselves and through which we relate to others.
These four foundation stones are eternal within each of us. They provide the spiritual weight that holds the rest of our identity in place.
Spiritual growth only happens as we build on the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption that Christ has become within us. If we are weak in understanding and experiencing these foundations, our growth will be unstable.” (Copyright © 2004 Susan Gaddis)
Talk to Yourself
One of the ways to help understand these big words—wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption—and apply 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 to my own life has been to speak to myself according to the truth of the Scripture passage.
For example, I might tell myself, “Jesus has been made my wisdom. I no longer have to feel dumb, stupid, or inadequate because of a lack of education, disabilities, or slow thought processes.
My identity is no longer tied into these things, but into the wisdom that He has become within me and is working out through my personality as I grow in Him.”
In Him together, Susan Gaddis