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Identity Through Spiritual Eyes - Christian Point of View
Identity Through the Eyes of God
War cry for identity
“Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you?” (Micah 4:9, ESV)
Who are you? What is your identity? As a PhD of educational and developmental psychology, I know that the secular research indicates our brains don’t develop fully until about the age of 30. Some research indicates that the brain is constantly changing and never truly stops growing or maturing. How might this affect the way we see ourselves?
What is an identity? If you pose that question to a group of 10 people, most of them will tell you what they do for a living. Some of them will tell you about the children they are raising. Almost none of them will give you an answer about who they really are inside. When asked what my identity is, I respond that I get my identity from Jesus Christ. I also received an identity from my Father God when he was forming me in my mother’s womb. I am a compilation of Biblical characteristics that came from my heavenly father, from Jesus’ death and resurrection, and God’s Holy Spirit living inside of me.
The following prayer combines scriptures and verses that indicate who you are in Christ. They are a list of loving characteristics your heavenly Father made available to you. They are in each one of us whether we accept eternal salvation or not. It’s not just about being in the natural or the supernatural. Many unsaved people are kind, gentle, nice, etc. at times. On the other hand, godly characteristics can be twisted by Satan into the complete opposite of what God intended, even in believers. Some believers are angry, childish, lying creatures at times. While evil people can still exhibit good decision making skills or helpfulness in the natural, but not perfectly, which God demands.
For instance, Matthew 7:9-11 states, “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” So, we know that we are all imbued with something from God’s own hand since Jeremiah 1:5 states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” We were all in heaven with God before we were in the womb. God created every person, not just those of us who are currently believers, and that is why we see some of our heavenly Father in unbelievers as well. That’s why you might hear a sermon that really grabs your attention. What the teacher is saying is simply a confirmation of what is already inside of your spirit.
Those of us who are believers should take full advantage of the qualities God placed in us. What an awesome thought to have been in heaven once! So, why do you cry aloud then, as Micah wrote? Is there no king in you? You can look like your Father, think like your Father, and act like your Father rather than being a victim of circumstances.
As a professional psychotherapist, I have been trained in numerous methods for helping people who are suffering with mental health issues. In my experience as a Christian and a professional therapist I have concluded that Biblical truth is actually the basis (unintentionally) for some forms of psychotherapy. One of them is called rational-emotive therapy. It is used to effect a change in a person’s behavior by changing that individual’s faulty thinking patterns. The most popular method is the A-B-C method. A is an activating event. B is the person’s beliefs about the event. C is the emotional and behavioral consequence of those beliefs. For instance, an excellent example would be the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42.
While Jesus was traveling, he entered a certain village. A woman named Martha, who had a sister named Mary, welcomed him into her house. Martha was busy cooking and serving while Mary sat at Jesus feet and listened to what he had to say. Martha, who was performing the duties required by her Jewish custom, complained to Jesus that Mary should be helping her rather than sitting with him and the other men. Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42
The “A” or activating event in this story was Jesus’ visit. This visit caused a reaction in others. We only know how two of the villagers responded; Mary and Martha. One responded completely opposite of the other. The “B” or belief of Martha was that it was her duty to prepare and serve the meal according to the Jewish customs of that time (i.e., I should prepare the meal because that is what women in my culture always do.). Mary’s belief, on the other hand, was that Jesus had important things to say, and she didn’t want to miss one word. She appeared to be so absorbed in his teaching, that her traditional duties took a back seat (i.e., I should help my sister prepare the meal, but I have a chance to hear Jesus teach in person, and so I won’t do what women in my culture always do. Instead, I take this “once in a lifetime” opportunity.). The “C” or consequence of Martha’s beliefs was that she became upset and complained about her sister’s lack of assistance and not following the cultural customs. The consequence of Mary’s behavior was that she heard Jesus teach, and Jesus did not correct her behavior; rather praised it.
As a professional therapist, I would help Martha change her faulty beliefs about her priorities, help her change faulty thinking patterns, and break free from cultural traditions that hindered her walk with God. Jesus simply told her to stop being upset because her negative emotions were interfering with the whole point of having him in her house; which was quite a rare honor. Changing her beliefs, would positively affect her thoughts, her emotions, her behaviors, and ultimately her identity.
So, my point is this, the Bible is full of examples from the omniscient God about how to handle emotional and psychological problems. One day as I paged through the Bible I could find numerous scriptural directives to: 1) renew our minds (“…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”, Romans 12:2); 2) to think on positive thoughts (“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”, Philippians 4:8); 3) to praise God (“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night”, Psalm 92:1-2); and 4) to closely follow the word of God in thoughts and behaviors (“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways”, Psalms 128:1). That is our ideal identity or our true selves!
God already knew that some people would suffer in this fallen world from a lack of stable identity, low self-esteem, low self-efficacy, self-hatred, negativity, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, competitiveness, jealousy, and other unhealthy thought patterns that cause psychological and physical distress over time. He also knew that some days we would feel down compared to other days, and that we would be inconsistent in our behavior. He knew, because he created each one of us, that we would get tired and irritable or sluggish occasionally, so he created times of rest and refreshing just for us (Psalm 23:1-3).
It is up to us to take hold of what he has provided for us. He can’t force us to renew our minds. That is our job. He can’t force us to relax and stop trying to control everyone and everything around us. That is for us to lay hold of. We must make the choice to be positive and enjoy life no matter what comes our way in the form of trouble.
God is the ultimate mental health expert. He can create miracles in which an answer to a problem comes instantly. Most of the time he performs progressive healing that occurs over a longer period of time. That healing is just as important as miraculous healing. Christian counselors and psychologists are supposed to use Biblical and empirically-based psychotherapy tools to come alongside the hurting individual during the time of healing. Yet, I also believe that God has placed the answer in you. Since he created you and knows you better than anyone else, you can ask him to help you via his Holy Spirit which he placed in you when you accepted Jesus Christ for salvation. It is not a mystical, occult practice. It is scripturally-based. “…by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sin” (2 Peter 1:4). We are not God, but His God-Spirit lives in us.
The fastest way to lay hold of a sound identity and good mental and physical health is to know what God thinks about you. Speak the following prayer over yourself as often as you need to. If you were ill and prescribed medicine three times a day, why wouldn’t you take communion and pray over yourself three times a day as well? Do this at least once daily for one whole month and then note the change in your demeanor. Others will notice it as well. This is your battle cry, and you can personalize it to fit your needs.
Who I am in the Lord and what God thinks of me
I belong to God (Hebrews 8:10). I am the work of his hands (Job 34:19). I am God’s child because I received Him and believed on His name (I John 3:1). I was born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13). I am not a slave through Christ, but I have been spiritually adopted, and I now have the right to call God my “Abba!” or “Daddy!” (Romans 8:15).
I am forgiven because you so loved me that you gave your only Son for atonement for my sins (John 3:16). You showed your love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Since I am your child, then I am a fellow heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).
“But You, O Lord are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15). “Being confident that God, who began a good work in me, will continue it unto the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “I am joined with the Lord and one spirit with Him” (I Corinthians 6:17). I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6). My life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Christ is my life and I will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4). As Christ is, seated at the right hand of God in heaven, so am I on earth. As I am, seated at the right hand of God with Christ in heaven, so am I on earth.
“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great” (Psalm 18:35). As it is written in Isaiah 61, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has a purpose for my life. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He has anointed me to give those who mourn a beautiful headdress instead of mourning ashes, the oil of gladness, and a garment of praise. He wants me to tell His people that they are strong like mighty oaks. He will glorify Himself through me. All these things He has entrusted me to do in His power and authority.
Your thoughts toward me and plans for me are for welfare, a bright future, and hope (Jeremiah 29:11). “I am a crown of beauty in the hand of my God, and a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord” (Isaiah 62:3). “I am His beloved and He is mine” (Song of Solomon 2:16). You made me a beloved heir to eternal life because of your kindness and love for me (Titus 3:4-7). I belong to Christ (Mark 9:41). I am blessed because my sins are covered, and the Lord will not hold them against me (Romans 4:7-8). The blessing of the Lord is upon me, and I am blessed in the name of the Lord (Psalm 129:8). I am your treasured possession (Malachi 3:17).
Thank you, Abba, for creating me, adopting me, and bringing me into the eternal fold. You made an everlasting covenant with me (Isaiah 61:8). You are my glory and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). I am not ashamed of who I am. I will praise you with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works (Psalm 9:1). I will praise you for your mighty acts and for your excellent greatness (Psalm 150:2). Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord (Corinth 10:17). I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together (Psalm 34). Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Salvation is of the Lord, salvation is of God, salvation is of Christ. May thy salvation, O Lord, be ever with us. Thank you, Father, in Jesus’ name. Amen.