Identity Crisis

The following is an article by Reverend Robert Miller

Do you really know who you are? “Well, of course I do,” you might say.  But don’t be so sure. There is an old saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Strangely enough, identity works in much the same way.  People tend to identify you by how they see you and what they know about

you. Your appearance. Appearances can be deceiving. Your personality. We act differently with different people. Your friends. We have different friends at home, at work, during the week, on the weekend. Your style of dress. We dress differently at different times, in different places, with different people. The kind of work you do. You may have more than one job. The kind of music you like. The sports you follow. The food you like. Your sex. Your age. Your height. Your weight. In reality, what people know about you can be very superficial. And if you think deeply enough about it, you may find that you don’t know as much about yourself as you thought you did. We often identify ourselves by what other people think of us. By the circumstances of life surrounding us. By many of the

things mentioned above. What is identity anyway? Let’s start with the dictionary definition.

Identity is defined as:

(1)  Sameness; as distinguished from similarity or diversity

(2)  The state of being the same and not other

(3)  Selfsameness, Oneness, Unity

At first glance that doesn’t seem very helpful. Does it? Well, let’s look at it a little closer. A key word in all three definitions is the word, “Same.” Same as what? Ah! Now that’s the question. You see identity is derived. It has its origin in, is based on, has its source in, is established by, a relationship, of sameness. So one aspect of identity is consistency. Being consistently the same so as to be identifiable. Being relatively unchanging. Remaining the same from one occasion to

another, from one place to another, even from one condition to another. If a person or a thing is constantly changing as to its appearance or it’s nature, it becomes difficult to clearly identify. Another aspect of this business of sameness has to do with origin. For instance, the country of birth, the culture of that country, racial ethnicity, parentage. These are all things we use to identify ourselves and other people.

I have witnessed the trauma that can ensue when a person discovers that what they thought was their heritage turns out to be wrong, causing an identity crisis. Such an episode can leave them feeling very insecure. Thinking that they are not who they thought they were, all along. They feel adrift, without stability, not knowing with certainty what their origins were. Somehow they think they are not the same person they thought they were.

Another example is someone who was adopted, by very loving parents, who suddenly feels insecure without knowing their birth parents. Because of the adoption, they sense no sameness with the adoptive parents, even though they are greatly loved. They may not feel they really know who they are, unless they can discover their true origins, by locating the birth parents.

All of these things are external to who we really are. Nevertheless, rightly or wrongly we depend on them to identify ourselves to ourselves. In the following chapters, we will examine all this in detail.

Identity Must be Established

When a child is born it has no idea who or what it is. No idea where it is or why it is. It just is!

A few moments after birth a number of processes begin. The process of physical growth leading to physical maturity. The process of learning. About its environment. The world we live in. Learning about its body. How to use hands, legs, how to eat, etc. Another very important process also begins. The establishing of an identity. Identity must be established. It is established through a process of identification. How does that work?

In a laboratory, a scientist will attempt to identify an unknown substance by comparing it to others. Does it contain chemical compounds similar to ones he is familiar with? Unless it is an entirely newsubstance (very rare in our time of vast knowledge) the scientist, by numerous comparisons and a process of elimination can eventually identify the substance when he finds a known substance containing the same compounds or qualities. It is the “sameness” that identifies it.

The same kind of process begins to establish the identity of the newborn child. In a hospital pediatric viewing room, where several infants are seen through a window. It is possible to see certain features in the child that are similar to features of the parents. A frequent remark is, “he looks just like his father” or “she looks like her mother.” Racial features might be the first and most obvious. Eventually, as the child matures other features of “sameness” will appear to identify the child as being of a certain nationality or culture and language. In time, identification will come through family, friends, peer groups, level of education, occupation, spouse and offspring. Identity is determined by who or what we identify with (are the same as, are united with in oneness).

And so Identity will be established through a process of comparison. This is done not only by observers, but most importantly by the person themself. It is this process that identifies ourselves to ourselves. Without it we would always be insecure about ourselves. A strong sense of identity is a fundamental element of confidence in facing life.

Lost and found

In Luke Chapter 15 Jesus told a story which among other things concerns the loss and recovery of an identity.

Luke 15:11-24 (KJV)

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the

portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and

took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with

riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land;

and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he

sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine

did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my

father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I

have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy

hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way

off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his

neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and

in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and

put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be

merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is

found. And they began to be merry.

This younger brother had grown up and lived in a secure, stable, family

atmosphere. From the description, it would seem that it was a prosperous

family. One in which the young man was loved and cared for. However,

like many young men, he decided to break free and explore the world on

his own. Off he went with his portion of the inheritance to a foreign

land among strange people. The story tells us he wasted his inheritance

until he was left with nothing. He no longer had an inheritance. But

what he forgot was that though the inheritance was gone, he still had a

heritage. He joined himself to a stranger. Someone with whom he had no

sameness. Someone different from him. Someone who because of the

difference could not and would not love him or care for him. He was put

to work doing the most menial tasks and wasn’t even provided adequate

food. A sorry situation indeed!

But, at some point “he came to himself.” What does that mean? It means he remembered who he was. He remembered his identity! He finally realized that for better or worse an identity can be a heritage with or without an inheritance. In some cases the heritage is negative. But in his case his heritage was a positive one.

Identity of the Victim

The prodigal son in the story above had forgotten his heritage. He had forgotten his father and family who apparently loved him. Unfortunately not everyone’s heritage is as good. An age-old argument still rages. Are we products of our genes or are we products of our environment. I think the answer is both. Who we are and become is determined by genetics to the extent that they determine our race, our gender, our health, and many other important physical characteristics. But there are times when the

environment in which we are raised can be critical to our mental and emotional development. Many a child has been repeatedly beaten, verbally abused or even sexually assaulted. In some cases, it may have been a one-time event with a life long impact. In others it was a pattern of cruel treatment that

can warp the psyche, producing a distorted sense of self-identity that can last a lifetime. This is why the abused often becomes the next abuser. The victim will often struggle to forget the past by burying it deep within and attempting to deny it ever happened. Fortunately, God has a “Witness protection program.” The witness to a major crime is sometimes given protection by moving to a new unknown

location and receiving a new identity. A chance to “start over.” Such a person must make a complete break with their past. They must separate from all family and friends to begin a totally new life. If they break the rules and contact someone from their old life they put themselves in

imminent danger. God has a similar program. That is what happens when a person is “born

again.” God gives us a chance to “start over.” We change our location…

Colossians 1:13 (KJV)

13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated

us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

And He changes our nature.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things

are passed away; behold, all things become new.

The person in the “Witness protection program” doesn’t forget their past

but they are cut off from it. They may have been a criminal back then

but the Law forgets all about it. Similarly, a born again believer

doesn’t forget their past but God does.

Jeremiah 31:34 (KJV)

34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man

his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the

least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will

forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

It can take a while for them to get used to their new identity. They

must be very careful not to betray who they were in the beginning. They

must grow into and become secure in the new identity. Old habits must be

broken, new ones formed.

A Strong Sense of Identity

Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV)

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted

of the devil.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward

an hungred.

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God,

command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread

alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a

pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for

it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in

their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot

against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the

Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and

sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt

fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written,

Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered

unto him.

We see here that Jesus was tempted by the devil. The question is what was He tempted to do? Most people completely miss the whole point of the temptation. For instance, in verse three Jesus was tempted to turn rocks into bread. Right? And in verses five and six He was tempted to cast

Himself from the pinnacle of the temple. Right? And finally, in verses eight and nine He was tempted to worship the devil. Or so it would seem. But those temptations were not the point. They were only a means to an end. Look carefully at what the devil said each time. In verse three he

said, “If thou be the Son of God.” In verse six again he said, “If thou be the Son of God.” The real temptation was not the actions requested. The real temptation was, what taking those actions would imply. The devil was tempting Jesus to doubt His own identity. To doubt that He was “The Son of God.” By taking any of those actions Jesus would have been attempting to prove who He was. The need to prove who you only arise from uncertainty. Jesus was totally secure in Himself. He had no

doubt whatsoever that God was His Father. That He was the “Son of God.” Before He ever went into the wilderness, before He was faced with temptation, (in Chapter three verses sixteen and seventeen) God had spoken from heaven to confirm His identity. But Jesus really didn’t even need that confirmation. In Luke chapter two we see that as a young child He knew who he was. Why? Because He knew Who His Father was.

Jesus at one point said,

“If you’ve seen Me, You’ve seen the Father.

(John 14:9)

There was a sameness between them. Like Father, like Son. The frequent remark, “he looks just like his father” was certainly true of Jesus. He had a strong sense of identity, that nothing could shake. He had no need to demonstrate or prove His identity. That’s what enabled him to face down and endure everything He encountered in life and during His ministry.

But wait, what about the third temptation? The one where He was asked to worship the devil. The devil didn’t say, “If thou be the Son of God” this time. No, he didn’t. He tried a much more subtle approach this time.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and

showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt

fall down and worship me.

Do you see what the devil did here? He offered Jesus a reward for worshiping him. But was it a real offer? No! It was not. The devil is a deceiver. He very subtly tried to deceive Jesus. But Jesus knew Who He was. He was and is “The Son of God.” As such He already owned everything in the universe. He was and is the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” He already owned all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. He created it all! “All things were made by Him and without Him, nothing was made that was made.” (John 3:3) If you know who you are and what is your’s, you can not be tempted to steal or even buy that which you already own. It was because of His secure knowledge of His true identitythat Jesus could refuse the temptations of the devil.

But notice something again. Jesus did not take action to prove Who He was. Do you see what He did? He referred to His identity papers! In the natural world, we live in, there is another way of establishing identity. You go before a governmental authority. They will authenticate who you are an issue you identity papers. A birth certificate, a diploma, a drivers license.  You can show them to anyone who doubts your identity. Jesus had the best and greatest governmental authority issue His identity papers. The Word of God! Behind the small piece of paper that is a drivers license are a long list of rules and regulations. Jesus showed the devil that He was relying on His identity as spelled out in

God’s Word by simply quoting from it. What a great example Jesus set for “born again” believers!

Born Again?

Have you been Born Again? Of the Spirit of God? In many ways being “born again” is much like having been born the first time. Instead of a process of physical growth, there is the process of spiritual growth. The process of learning. About your new environment. The realm of the spirit, the Kingdom of God. You must learn who you are, where you are and how to behave in God’s Kingdom. Believe it or not, you must learn how and what to eat. Spiritually! And perhaps most importantly you must grow

into a new identity. Just as in the natural world, in the spiritual realm, a strong sense of identity is a fundamental element of confidence in facing life. This book will help you establish your identity in the Kingdom of God. But beware, just as in the natural world, in the realm of the spirit, there are identity thieves working to “steal and destroy” your identity. They want to rob you of your rights and privileges in God’s kingdom.  And like Jesus, you will be tempted to doubt who you are in Christ. Like Jesus, who you are is very clearly spelled out in God’s Word. Are you familiar with what it says about you? Can you use God’s Word as your “identity papers” to resist the temptations of the world

and the devil? We’ll see.

Identity Theft in the Natural World

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion. On a case-by-case basis, that means approximately 7% of all adults have

their identities misused with each instance resulting in approximately $3,500 in losses. Close to 100 million additional Americans have their personal identifying information placed at risk of identity theft each year when records maintained in government and corporate databases are lost or

stolen. These alarming statistics demonstrate identity theft may be the most frequent, costly and pervasive crime in the United States.

(http://www.identitytheft.info)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that mobile security threats have increased by more than 350% since 2010. Tax-related identity theft keeps growing, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, a government watchdog. The IRS identified more than 1.8

million tax-related ID thefts during 2012, more than four times as many

as in 2010. Those numbers grow exponentially each year.

(http://www.creditdonkey.com)

Victims spend from 3 to 5,840 hours repairing damage done by identity theft. This difference is due to the severity of the crime – for example, a lost credit card versus the use of your social security number to become your “evil twin.” Victims of identity theft feel helpless and many of them aren’t familiar with the tools and resources available to reclaim their identity. The average number of hours victims spend

repairing the damage caused by identity theft is 330 hours. 26-32% of victims spend a period of 4 to 6 months dealing with their case and 11-23% report dealing with their case for 7 months to a year.

(http://www.spamlaws.com)

If that all sounds bad, the problem is even worse in the realm of the

spirit.

Spiritual Identity

Want to meet a group of people who didn’t really know who they were? Who thought they were one kind of person, but whom Jesus informed were actually quite different? And the worst part of it was they didn’t even know! Following is a conversation Jesus had with a group of very religious people who were convinced they were citizens of God’s kingdom,

with all the rights and privileges thereof.

John 8:41-47 (KJV)

Jesus said, 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We

be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said

unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded

forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will

do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth,

because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of

his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell

you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin?

And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God

heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

How shocking! To think you are one thing and find out you actually are another. To find out you have been deceived all along. And that much of the deception was you deceiving yourself. That your whole life, your whole career has been a sham! Sorry to say, there are many thousands, even millions, alive in the world today in the same situation and don’t even know it. There is only one way to know, for certain. You must carefully read the identity papers. The same ones Jesus used to defeat the devil’s

temptations. The Bible. The Word of God! It will tell you who you really are.

Until now you have relied on what the world system has told you about yourself. All those things previously discussed. Parents, Race, Nationality, Culture, Family, Friends, Spouse, Children, Peer groups, Education, Language, Vocation, Co-workers, Success or Failure and more have been used to define who you are. But those things say very little about who you are in God’s kingdom.

Only God’s Word can clearly identify who you are “in the spirit.” It will clearly inform you of your need for a special experience.

John 1:12-13 (KJV)

12 As many as received him (Jesus), to them He gave power to become the

sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of

the will of man, but of God.

And then Jesus explained;

John 3:1-8 (KJV)

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know

that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles

that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee,

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he

enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born

of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of

the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,

but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every

one that is born of the Spirit.

If you have not had this experience, you can. It is explained in thelast part.

Same as what or who?

To know who you truly are you must look deep inside where God created the new you. It is obvious that God did not create a new physical body for you when you were born again. Since you still have basically the same personality then He also did not give you a new soul. So what does it mean to be “born again?” It means God has recreated your spirit. Every human being is made of three components. A physical body created to function in the natural world of earth.  The body contains the five senses (seeing, touching, feeling, tasting, smelling) which make us aware (conscious) of our surroundings. The soul is self-consciousness. A philosopher once described it this way. “I think, therefore I am.” As stated earlier, a newborn baby doesn’t know what it is or where it is. It only knows that it is. That self-consciousness is the soul. Finally, at the core of every human being is a spirit. Actually, you are a spirit, you have a soul and you live in a body. The spirit of man can be aware of the realm of the spirit, which is very real. In the realm of the spirit, there are two kingdoms. The kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan and the Kingdom of God. It is your spirit that God uses to communicate with you. However, initially, the spirit of man is dead because of sin. In the following verses, the “prince of the power of the air” is Satan and you were a subject of his kingdom. Which is why it is absolutely necessary to be “born again” into God’s kingdom.

Ephesians 2:1-2 (NASB77)

1 You were dead in your trespasses and sins,

2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world,

according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is

now working in the sons of disobedience.

So, when you have been born again, your body is sense consciousness,

your soul is self-consciousness and your spirit is God consciousness. It

is in your spirit that you have been changed. Your heart, the core of

your being has been recreated. It is your spirit that has a new identity.

Here’s the big problem for most new Christians. Because the soul (your personality) is still basically the same, you can easily fall into the same old ways of identifying yourself. You still identify with parents, race, peers, friends, etc. Only now we add some new criteria to show we

are  “Christian.” What Church you go to, what denomination does it belong to. Do you have

a “position” in the church? Usher, deacon, elder, board member or minister of some kind? Are you a big “giver.” Are you in the choir? Do you lead a bible study? Work with the children? All of these things are used by ourselves and others to identify ourselves. Some people in some churches even identify themselves by the seat they habitually sit in when they are in attendance. Many Christians think those things define their identity in the realm of the spirit, the kingdom of God. Nothing could be father from the truth! They are simply using the old, natural, worldly way of establishing who

they are. One big problem with all this is that most people tend to behave like

the person they think they are. “as he thinks within himself, so he

is…” (Prov. 23:7)

The most important question in establishing your identity is, who or what are you comparing yourself to? In the natural world, all of the criteria mentioned above are the most valid means of identification.

However, in the realm of the spirit, in the kingdom of God, it is vital to identify ourselves anew. The old means of identification is no longer sufficient. If you have been “born again” of the Spirit of God

you have become “a new creature, old things have passed away; behold all

things have become new.” And all these new things are from God. (2 Cor. 5:17)

So, first you must establish your new identity and then you must defendit. To learn how, read on.

SALVATION occurs when God’s Grace allows you to identify God and He identifies you to yourself. Then by His Grace through repentance and Faith, you decide to change your identity, by identifying with God.

Identifying God

Have you ever seen a painting or a sculpture that looked a bit strange because you couldn’t quite make out what it was supposed to be? To figure it out you might ask someone else who is looking at it. But they might have no better idea than you. You could ask an art expert, a museum staff member or any number of people. They might each have their own idea of what it is. The result could be confusion, as each opinion differs from the other. Finally, the best way to identify what it is, would be to ask the creator of the piece. They would know for certain. Well identifying oneself can pose a similar problem. As already stated a person’s self-concept often depends on other peoples opinion of them. Opinions can change. Sometimes quite rapidly. One day you are someone’s best friend and great fellow. The next you can be despised as a scoundrel. However, in at least one person’s eyes, you are a work of art! Who might that be, you ask. The one who created you! God. He knows best who and what you are and what He intends you to be. If you truly want to know your purpose in life, you should get in touch with Him. However, there is one big problem. Who is God? Really. In the world today there are many religions. Each claims to have the corner on truth. So how do you find out which is the real God?

Let’s set up some criteria to judge by.

1. A good God would be a loving God.

    A. You would expect Him to love His work. His creation.

    B. You would expect Him to provide for the needs of His creation.

2. He would be Holy. Pure. Undefiled.

3. He must be faithful. True to His word. Keep His promises.

4. He should be righteous and just. Always doing right, never wrong.

5. You would want Him to be generous, giving and forgiving.

6. You should be able to know Him in a loving relationship.

7. He must be all-powerful. Capable of creating and controlling the

universe and all that is in it.

Let’s check the identity papers to see what they say.

1. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  1 John 4:8

(NKJV)

    A.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.

God is love; and he that dwelleth in           love dwelleth in God, and

God in him.  1 John 4:16 (KJV)

    B. He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends

rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 (KJV)

2. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to

come.  Revelation 4:8 (KJV)

3. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his

Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  1 Cor. 1:9 (KJV)

4. Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true

are thy ways, thou King of saints.  Revelation 15:3 (KJV)

5. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that

whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting

life.  John 3:16 (KJV)

6. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true

God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  John 17:3 (KJV)

7. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1:1

(KJV)   “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who

was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and

reigned.  Revelation 11:17 (NKJV)

So we have the testimony of God’s word as to Who He is. When God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by none greater, he swore by Himself.  Hebrews 6:13 (KJV) You can search every other religion on earth and you will not find any other “so-called” god who meets all the above criteria. Only the God of the Bible!

God Identifies You

If you’ve ever been lost I’m sure you know that to find out where you are and where you want to go, you must first know where you came from. God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.  Genesis 1:27

Step one in knowing who you are is to realize that yes your mother and father were involved in your birth, but actually God created you. In the womb. Personally!

God, who separated me from my mother’s womb.” Galatians 1:15

And when it says “God created man in His own image” it’s obvious that God had a purpose in mind. By extension we can conclude that when He specifically made you, He had a purpose in mind also. He wanted to be able to relate to you and for you to be able to relate to Him. However a problem ensued.

Identity Lost and Stolen

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  2Cointhians 11:3 (KJV)

So often the devil uses deception to rob, kill or destroy. So he led Adam and Eve into sin, unbelief and rebellion against God and they lost the most precious thing they had. The purpose for which God had made them. A close intimate relationship with God based on mutual love and respect. The loss of that relationship changed them. To such an extent that they could no longer relate to God as a means of identifying themselves. An identity thief had stolen their identity. The devil was jealous of man being in the image of God. He wanted it. And so, over the millennia he has inspired every false religion

worshiping a false god. The most insidious of which is humanism in which man tries to be his own god.

By doing so, man lost sight of his true purpose and became insecure as to his true identity. This is why so many people strive so hard to be noticed.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

2 Corinthians 10:12 (KJV)

You need to know where you came from. Following is how God (the great identifier) sees mankind because of sin. You were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit (Satan) who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh… Colossians 2:13 (KJV) As far as God was concerned you were dead! God is holy and the God of the living. He can not relate to, have a relationship with, the dead. Because they are dead sinners cannot relate to, have a relationship with the living, the Holy God. So, God is the kind, loving, merciful and generous God he is, made a way to bring sinners back to life. To restore their identity. But…

Identity Restoration is Expensive

Identity restoration is a long, laborious and expensive process. In the Old Testament God gave His people a way to try to restore their own identity by making a way for them to relate to Him. He gave them His Law. In what is called the Torah (the teaching) God revealed the kind of person He is. The Law was a means of informing the people of what God liked and disliked. If you wanted to have personal relationship with someone, that would be very important information. But to have relationship with God would be more demanding.

Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.

Leviticus 19:2 (KJV)

Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 18:13 (KJV)

At first the people thought they could do all this.

And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath

spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the

LORD. Exodus 19:8 (KJV)

But they soon found out that it is not easy to be either holy or perfect. In fact, it is impossible! The problem is that under the Law… The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23  Which is why…

You were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit (Satan) who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)

And they were totally incapable of restoring their own identity and thus relating to God.

God made a way, He paid the price!

But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his (Christ’s) blood, we shall be saved from (God’s) wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his

Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:8-11

What we could never do on our own, by our own efforts, God did through His Son Jesus. And to complete the reconciliation…

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever. Peter 1:23

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope throughthe resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3,4

Being “born again” your true identity and purpose have been restored. Do you see that even your inheritance has been restored? You are no longer a prodigal son!

Our identity is restored because our image is restored. Remember,… God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27 (KJV)

There was a “sameness” that identified us as God’s children! That sameness was lost, stolen when man fell because of sin. But now through the “new birth” the image, the sameness and thus the identity has been restored.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many

brethren. Romans 8:29 (KJV)

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the

Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by

the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)

You have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new

man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created

him. Colossians 3:10 (KJV)

Now that your identity has been restored it is vital to consult the identity papers (God’s Word) to be completely familiar with and convinced of, who you are in God’s kingdom. By doing so you will be

better equipped to resist the temptations of the devil as Jesus did. You will also be able to defend your inheritance in the kingdom of God by knowing the rights and privileges belonging to you there.

Change your thinking

The first thing you must do to restore a proper self-concept is to change your thinking. The fact is….

You behave like the person you think you are! Prov. 23:7

We should follow the example of the apostle Paul. In the following verses we can see that he changed his thinking and got his priorities right.

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh (my heritage or

accomplishments). If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he

might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the

stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as

touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church;

touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what

things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless,

and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of

Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,

and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him,

not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which

is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by

faith. Philippians 3:4-9 (KJV)

He is the one who encourages us to….

Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of

your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and

perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 (KJV)

It is vital to change our way of thinking. About the world, about God,about ourselves.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things

of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of

the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually

minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God;

for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. Romans 8:5-7

(NKJV)

But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (KJV)

You must not revert back to the old way of establishing your identity! Your new identity must be established in Christ. Not in religion. Not in the Church. You may play a role in the Church but your identity is in Christ. Get your thinking straight!

In reference to your former manner of life, lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NASB)

Know Who You Are!