Sometimes I like to ask people, “Who are you?” It’s interesting to hear the responses. Some give their name … others give their occupation. Another answer is a role the person fills in his family or organization. Not many share their real identities, what makes them, them … uniquely them, the one deep inside with a wonderful and distinctive blend of characteristics.
In my practice, I treated a very interesting lady, whose experiences could fill several lifetimes. As we worked together, she was able to free herself from a lesbian lifestyle and enter into a beautiful and enjoyable journey with God. She tells her story this way. “If you had asked me if I was born gay, I would have given you a resounding “yes.” Now, I realize I was not born gay, and I am not defined by the fact that I lived as a homosexual. When I came to God, He redefined me as a woman wonderfully made to honor Him by being a follower of Christ.”
Often we define ourselves by a lifestyle, a role we play, or some of our personal characteristics. Whether these definitions are joyful or painful, moral or immoral, represent success or failure … they are comfort zones. And even when we come to Jesus, we might be reluctant to let go of some, or even most, of them because, in our minds, those are our comfort zones.
People who are in or coming from a homosexual lifestyle might consider the gay world a safe place. People caught in a workaholic mode base their worth on their accomplishments and successes. Being a mother, a church leader, an indispensable worker, a good friend … allows us to feel more control as we develop our earthly identities. But when we come to Jesus, it is vital to let go of those identities, to die to self, and come to recognize who we are in Christ.
You see, we have only 2 identity options. Option #1, your identity is based on who you are under your own power and based on your own personality. Or option #2, your identity comes from who Christ is and what He can do, and has done for you. Then the rest of your life is filled with responses to the option you chose. The former is weak, has lots of limitations, and is heavily weighted by inadequacies, failures, and fears. The latter has unlimited power, potential, opportunity, and joy. When you look at it that way, the decision, and yes, it is a decision, is a pretty easy choice to make, I would say.
Today, even though you may still be struggling with old habits, be encouraged that you can let go of the old definitions. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it can occur, one step at a time. Know that your most important identity is in Christ. There’s no better time to start making better decisions than today. Take a paper and make 3 columns: one titled “old Identity,” the next “new identity,” and third, “what would I believe differently about myself if I believed I really was this new person?” Write in 5 elements of the old identity and fill in the next 2 columns for each. You are a new creation! God has a great plan for your life and He is worthy of your trust. With the empowering of His Holy Spirit, you can fulfill this new identity God has prepared for you! Remember, your identity is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Mighty Creator of Everything, I thank You for transforming me into a new creation when I became a follower of Christ. I still tend to see myself as “the old me.” Please help me to see myself through Your eyes – cleansed and made new. The more I believe it, the more I will practice it, and the more I practice, the more I believe. I know the more I practice, the more proof You will give me so I can really believe, deep in my heart that You have made me into a new creation. And help me remember that no matter what other roles I play in life, my number one identity is always “a follower of Christ.” I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One I follow, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old selfa was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set freeb from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Romans 6:5-12