LIVING IN THE REAL JESUS AND BECOMING THE REAL YOU
Identity is who we are. I wonder how many of us are walking in our real identity. I was looking at the heroic figures in The Lord of the Rings once and the Lord impressed me that we are all like that in the spirit – we are all noble and heroic in our real identity.
We are sons of God whether notionally or in spirit and in truth. In order to rise above theoretical/positional sonship, we must embrace, possess and cherish our new covenant union with Father – the union that has resulted from the undoing of the human race from the separation of Adam. This is the union described in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles. It is the union that is ours when we are not attached in any way to the law and the union that belongs to us when we are not insulated from God by an alternative narrative, myth, veil or ‘other gospel.
Actually we do have union when contained in the law and old covenant mindset. But we don’t possess it.
I have learned from good theologians that we are literally born of God – born out of the heart - womb of the trinity and their desire to share the joy of their life. Then born again in Jesus as a result of God’s resolve to realise and bring to fruition what they had planned in their joy before creation. What had they planned? Our everlasting fellowship with each member of the trinity.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20. Is this day yours yet? This realisation needs to be ours before we can make anything more than marginal growth as Kingdom daughters and sons.
The pure in heart and the poor in spirit will see God and see themselves. A single-minded addiction to Jesus and a humble heart will liberate us from confusion and from those falsities we add to ourselves that we imagine are who we are. Humility is a great advantage. It fosters open-mindedness and empowers us to see the false identities we have acquired and discard them because we have found our real self in Jesus.
We are all flawed people. Some recognise this because they have acquired humility in the school of life. Some do not because they are simply just ‘up themselves’ as someone like Jacqui Lambie might say. Or for the reason that despite their air of confidence, their sense of self is so fragile they must prop it up at all costs by protecting themselves on any and every occasion from the truth. But truth is always our friend and never our enemy. Any lie, no matter how subtle or embedded in accepted doctrine, blights our life and hobbles us in degrees of death. A false identity is a ‘false us’ that results in our making misguided steps like the unfortunate case of Australian politician Barnaby Joyce. Make no mistake. There is a real Barnaby in there who can be redeemed. As Christopher Heuertz observes, we can find our way back.
“This is how we get ourselves lost. The challenge is to find our way home. My own consistent struggle is to recognize my addictive tendency to validate my worth (dignity) by curating an unrealistic and unattainable projection of who I think I need to be (identity). By pandering to thin or worn-out versions of my False Self, I’ve fallen into the trap that Franciscan priest and author Father Richard Rohr often warns about: “Every unrealistic expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.” And as I constantly fail to meet my own standards, the resentment keeps me trapped.” (1)
But this post is not about Eowyn, Frodo, Jacqui Lambie or Barnaby Joyce, even if they are relevant. It’s about having two masters, two husbands and the attempt to have two identities – like one in Jesus and one in something like a denomination or a ministry. Often rationalised and relied on for self-validation, a false identity dilutes our real identity, spreads the spiritual disease of which Isaiah, Jesus and Paul complained and eventually renders us dormant and walking in circles around the elephant in the room which is always ‘another gospel’.
Our prime identity is a son/daughter of God. If by some ruse the Enemy can dilute this he dilutes our effectiveness, increases spiritual dullness and eliminates spiritual discernment to make blind leaders of the blind who gather behind the glass wall of their own self-constructed identities.
Henry Nouwen suggested that we lose our real identity in three commonly adopted lies. “I am what I have, I am what I do, and I am what other people say or think about me.”
None of these are who we are but they are often urged onto us by the father of lies. The truth of who we are is who we are as the unadorned self – the self, born from the trinity and redeemed by Jesus. This is to say we are who we were created to be and who we have been redeemed to become. In an undiluted Jesus and an unpolluted gospel we can be who we are and grow into the destiny that is the realisation of our real self as sons and daughters of God every day. ‘Now we are the sons of God’ we take in real meaning and become a genuine worshiper in spirit and in truth because the reality we live in is the reality that is Christ. We live move and have our being – our identity in God.
(1) Heuertz, Christopher L.. The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth (p. 18). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.