Tags: identity | Jesus | lens | pride | sin | The Wall
In the often used sermon example, we are told that experts in identifying counterfeit bills are trained not by looking at forgeries, but rather in becoming so familiar with the real thing that imperfections are obvious.
The same is true with our identities in Christ. When we walk with Him, we have our new identity, yet we need to be so familiar with the gospel lens that we are not fooled by substitutes. Even subtle ones. Most subtle is when we are entice to do things to make ourselves presentable to God. Climbing the ladder of religion. It is subtle because it looks so Good. But it is deceiving because in reality, our identity become based on what we are doing. Trying to earn our way to God.
True identity is not a product of the things we do for God, but rather the things we do for God are a product of our true identity.
But it is not just enough to clean the lens and be familiar with what the Bible says about who we are in Christ. When I wandered away and was enslaved by my false self, like the prodigal son finding himself lying hungry in a pig pen, something I did early on was confront my identity issues. From that came my identity statement in Christ. A good start, a worthy first step, but not worth much if that’s where the journey ends. My journey paused there while my true identity in Christ had an epic battle with my false one created by my root sin of pride. I was up against my Wall.
We have to make the adjustment by looking at ourselves through the gospel lens. Like the red lens I would get in a box of Cracker Jacks when I was a kid. Turn the lens on a piece of paper with a bunch of red dots and it reveals a message or picture underneath. There the entire time, you just have to cut through the clutter with the proper lens.
When we take the time to examine ourselves through the gospel lens, cutting through the clutter, we can see that our behaviors are the way we feed our false self. Providing a temporary comfort. Placating the things within that we don’t want to confront.
For me, the gospel lens revealed my pride. It would never be enough to try to ‘stop’ being a people pleaser, to ‘stop’ seeking affirmation at work, or to ‘stop’ being passive in an effort to make my wife happy. Overcoming those things with more Bible study and prayer, while good intentioned, would have been another attempt to ‘do’ for God. I couldn’t stop these behaviors anymore that I could stop myself from sweating in the sun – that is until I looked at myself through the gospel lens and understood that all these behaviors were just an effort to satisfy the false self created by my pride.
At the moment of my Miracle, God told me the problem was my sin. That’s been true on a much deeper level than my prodigal behavior, and it took that first step of cleaning my lens by developing and understanding my identity in Christ. But I had to use that lens to make the adjustment to live out of my true, God-given identity in Christ. Shining the pure light of Christ on my soul, revealing by his true humility how pervasive my pride was.