Identity Crisis

“Who am I?”  A question I’ve often asked myself throughout my life.  A question that provoked a year long journey into the heart of who I am and who He is…

When I sit and have serious conversations with people, I find this question and others like it, to be trending.  There are two primary issues that are causing an identity crisis in our hearts today;

#1 – We don’t understand who we are

#2 – We don’t understand Whose we are, therefore we are not led by the Spirit of God in ALL things.

Who are you?

If you were to reflect on this question, who would you say you are? Mother/Father?, Husband/Wife?, Friend?, Leader?, Writer?, Teacher?, Singer?, Fitness expert?, Chef?, Business owner?  How about small group leader, Pastor, Baptist, Catholic, Charismatic, Church administrator?  If you spend a substantial amount of time perfecting or strengthening these areas more than you do your spirit, chances are, you find your identity in them.  These labels are roles that we play in this life, they are not WHO we are!  You are blessed to be a steward over these offices in this life, therefore we should always show excellence in all things, however they do not define your identity.

The primary issue with seeking identity in what we do here on earth is that is usually ends in disappointment, emptiness, discontentment, loneliness, frustration, and control issues.  The offices we hold, things we possess, and gifts that we manifest were GIVEN to us, they are not ours.  You were not meant to be tethered to the weight of this world by hiding your identity in the roles you play;  you cannot save your children, you cannot control your sphere of influence, you cannot ride the wave of the ups and downs that the world gives and maintain the peace of God.

Thank God that when Jesus came, he took care of this crisis for us by giving us an identity in Him!  1 Peter 2:25 (MSG) “You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going.  NOW you are named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your soul.”  Hallelujah we don’t have to search for our identity or wonder who we are or where we are going because we are NAMED and kept for good by the Good Shepherd who gives purpose to everything under the sun!

So Who are You?

You are a spirit, you have a soul (mind, will, emotions) to give your spirit expression, and you temporarily live in a body. (Thank you to Pastor Cesar Nieto for breaking this down in such a great way)

Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made us in HIS image.  The word image has several dimensions of meaning, a couple of them being:  A representation of, a copy, a reflection or resemblance.  So lets say this verse, taking out the word image and replacing it with the definition.  “and God said, let Us make man as [Our representation or reflection]….”  God is not flesh, He is Spirit and he made us to be a representation of Him on the earth.

Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in Heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, The Lord Jesus Christ.”   You are here on assignment, this place is not your home, your citizenship is in Heaven.  Pull your anchor out of the world and it’s dealings because this ship is sinking, and if you hang on tightly to it, you will go down with the ship, you must remember that the natural parts of you here on earth serve purpose for the spirit, not the other way around.

Another part of our identity is explained in these next two verses and deals with our authority in the earth, and that’s a topic I’ll cover on another article but for the sake of understanding the identity portion of it, lets take a look…

Ephesians 1:20-22“which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.”

Ephesians 2:5-6 “even great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace)and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” 

In chapter 1 it describes who Jesus is, and then in chapter 2, it defines who we are in Him.  So, in other words, you are royalty! You are anointed ones!  You are holy!  You are powerful heirs to the throne!  You are His priests and as such; Satan is under your feet, failure is under your feet, poverty and lack are under your feet!  It’s time to stop operating under the fake I.D. and start knowing who you are so you can effectively complete your calling here!!!

In addition to this description in Ephesians, the bible is full of declarations of who we are in Christ, and I encourage you to get them, write them down, post them to your wall, and speak over yourself and your family every day as a reminder of who you really are.  Here are a few to get you started…

Declarations

  • I am God’s sheep, and I hear His voice.  He knows me and I follow Him – John 10:27
  • I am a minister of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
  • All things are mine – 1 Corinthians 3:21
  • I am a friend of Christ – John 15:15
  • I am heir to the throne – Galatians 3:29
  • I am a citizen of heaven – Philippians 3:20
  • I am NO LONGER a lost sheep with no idea who I am or where I am going, but I am now named and kept for good by the Shepherd of my soul – 1 Peter 2:25
  • I am a member of Christ’s body – 1 Corinthians 12:27
  • I am complete in Christ, lacking nothing – Colossians 2:10
  • I am free forever from condemnation – Romans 8:1-2
  • I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me – 1 John 5:18
  • I am the salt and the light of the earth – Matthew 5:13-14
  • I am a personal witness of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:8
  • I was bought with a price, therefore I will not be enslaved by the world – 1 Corinthians 7:23

Whose are you?/Therefore who or what is leading you?

Everybody is a is led by something; something motivates and moves us to say what we say, do what we do, buy what we buy, live where we live, have the relationships that we have, attend the church where we do.  Some of the common things that lead us are: Emotional hooks (needing acceptance and approval), other people’s needs/emergencies, fear of rejection, religiosity, legalism, doubt, insecurity, fame, importance, money, status, fun and excitement, trendiness…  no matter what it is, we are all led by something or someone.

Romans 8:14 “for all who are being led by the Spirit of God, THESE are the sons of God.”

Romans 8:6 – “for the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and is peace.”

The second fundamental reason that we have an identity crisis in our culture and are not fulfilling our call in this life is that we are not being led by the Spirit of God in all things.  We allow life’s problems, excitements, the needs of others, and our feelings/perspectives to lead us into situations that we are not prepared to deal with, thus leaving us confused, complacent, frustrated and exposed.  Take a look at Romans 8:6 again… “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”  If you are being led by fleshy, worldly or even prideful and selfish things you are giving your spirit a slow death, it may even feel good for a time but the trouble of it will always follow, the regret, the pain, the confusion, the questions, the darkness, and tragically the eventual falling away of your soul.

Here are a few thought-provoking questions for you to inwardly and honestly answer to reflect on your identity and what you are being led by in your life…

  • Do you concern yourself more with trendiness or holiness? do you spend more time wondering how your butt looks in those jeans or how your character looks to Christ?  I know it’s trendy to have our bodies half exposed but when we get on board with this, it becomes a distraction for others to see the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Are you being led by keeping up with the Jones’ or being led by the Spirit? Consult the Lord before you take on financial burdens, don’t let heavy finances for the sake of status steal your peace in life!
  • Are you more concerned with saving a buck than being a blessing to others?  The flipside of being led by obtaining money is hanging onto money.  Don’t confuse stewardship with selfish hoarding and false security.  God blesses you to be a blessing.  Jesus said, “Freely you receive, freely give!” Proverbs 23:6 – “Do not eat at the table with a stingy man….”
  • Do you renew your mind with reality television or with the word and prayer? Listen, too much 9 o’clock news creates bitterness in our heart and mind, shut it off. Don’t give up time in the word for the Kardashians!
  • Do you need possession more than you heed submission? There is a difference between stewardship and control.  The sphere of influence that you have was GIVEN to you, it is not yours so quit trying to possess it.
  • Are you identifying your faith in your religion/church or in your relationship with Jesus? You are NOT: a Charismatic, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Lutheran or whatever, you are an heir to the throne period.  Instead of asking someone where they go to church, how about you ask them how things are between them and the Lord.  Their answer may surprise you.
  • Do you seek your identity in your gift or in God? The gifts are GIVEN to you, they are not yours!  The anointing can change, or move, and you have to be flexible in the Lord to move with it.  What if you couldn’t teach? Prophesy? Sing? Pastor?  How would you react?  If you just couldn’t imagine how you would survive without operating in this way, you better get your identity checked.

Incoherency

I was praying for the body of Christ a few months ago, and I was pleading “God, what is going on, you are speaking something so profound to the body, and they aren’t hearing You!  Your prophets speak up and it falls on hardened hearts and deaf ears, help me with this God!!”  He spoke to my heart and said: “There is incoherency.”  The word incoherent can mean disjointed, lacking unity or harmony.  The primary issue that the identity crisis is causing, is incoherency among the people.  We are so embedded in our doctrines, our denominations, our Pastors, and the world and all that goes along with that, that we can no longer hear from God.

The Lord then took me to Matthew 13:13-17 when the disciples asked Jesus why He taught in parables to the people and wondered why He didn’t just speak in plain language, this was His response, Therefore, I speak to them in parables; because while seeing, they do not see, and while hearing, they do not hear nor do they understand.  In their case, the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says: ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand.  You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive.  For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears, they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise, they would see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return, and I would heal them.‘”  Oh, Jesus help us!

Why does God speak, but we reject it because our denomination says “that’s not how we operate in this church”, why do we care more about the worship song selection for that Sunday than we do about worshiping God?!  Why do we look to the success of the world to bring relevance to the church and bring new people in by entertainment, while those that once loved The Lord are falling away by the droves?!  Let us WAKE UP and separate ourselves from those things that keep us from following God, not just in the things that make sense to us, and make us feel comfortable, but even the new things and uncomfortable things that He’s calling us to!  Let go!

So how do we make the transition?

Now that we’ve uncovered some issue, where do we go from here?  As a fallible human being, I would never claim to know anything about your personal journey, let alone everything about how to achieve perfection in the spirit.  I will, however, give you some light on your path…

  • Start with the renewing of your mind – TURN OFF the T.V., facebook, emails, internet, and kill the noise.  Get into the Word and read, study, digest the promises and teachings of God.  I know reading the Word isn’t easy for everyone, but start somewhere; start with an issue that God has spoken to you about with your identity, and begin to study what the bible says about those things.  Start somewhere and be faithful to it, He will do the rest.  Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled!”
  • Start being led by the Spirit – be honest with yourself and pinpoint those things that you have found your identity in (positive and negative) and repent from those things and resolve to turn to being led by the Spirit of God.  How do I do that??? – for some of you, being led by the Spirit seems like a foreign concept so I will say this: it takes practice, and discipline to hear from God.  Begin by praying about EVERYTHING, and I mean everything.  Get up in the morning and say “what should I wear today God?” and then listen.  Commit your daily agenda to Him and ask “Which things should I focus on today God?” and listen.  Ask Him what you can do to bless someone else each day, and then listen for Him to direct you.  Here’s the other part…. you have to OBEY!!!  If He speaks to your heart, don’t make excuses or mill it over fifty times trying to reason your way out of it, just DO IT!!!  As you are faithful and obedient in these small areas, He will begin to speak to you pertaining to bigger and bigger subject matter.  Just be diligent in the listening part; everyone loves to talk, but nobody likes to listen, well to hear from the Spirit of the Lord, you have to close your mouth, and listen!  Hebrews 11:6 says that “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”!!!
  • DON’T put God first!…… You have to keep Him at the CENTER of all things. – If you put God first on your list of tasks for the day, then that will be just what He is to you; another thing to check off of your daily list.  That will only result in frustration.  He has to be the center of all that you do.  In John 15:4 Jesus said: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”  The word remains means:  To continue in the same state, stay in the same place.  You cannot get Jesus into your life quick in the morning and then catch Him on the flip side before bed and expect to effectively walk by the Spirit and have victory in life.  God wants you to remain in Him, and not move from that state of the spirit so that the scripture will be fulfilled in you that says that He is one with you in Spirit.
  • Be a Kingdom Ambassador VS. just a Christian – When you got saved and were born again, Christ came to dwell within you, which made you a “Christian” but that wasn’t the end of the story.  He calls you to be a Kingdom Ambassador and go and fulfill the Great Commission in the world which requires you to let Him back out through you, to others.  Read Matthew 10:5-8, pursue your Kingdom purpose and quit keeping Christ locked up inside of you selfishly, let Him out!

There is a profound difference between living YOUR life (your plans, your comforts, your ideas) and loving Jesus in the process, and literally having no life without Him.  Think about that.  You were meant for so much more but you have to grasp the reality of your spiritual identity!!!  You ARE a spirit, you HAVE a soul, and you live IN a body.  The time is now to know who you are, to rise up and to take on the mission that God is calling you to!!!

Blessings on your journey!
Rheanna

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