January 18, 2018
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Who Are You - what you believeOne of the most important conflicts people face is "identity crisis".  Erik Erikson coined that term while studying human development in teens.  Today we understand that "identity crisis" is recurring; the changing world demands us to constantly redefine ourselves.  The quest for identity goes on.

Who is the real you?  Some people are trying desperately to be themselves, as they imagine themselves to be.  Others are trying to be what someone else imagines they should be.  Still others are trying desperately to be someone else entirely.

What if you could be exactly who God designed you to be?

You Are What You Believe

God did an amazing thing in creating us. He gave us a mind to reason and a soul to choose. Then He introduces Himself to us, and in love He lets us reason and choose who we will be.

Maybe you remember the saying: "I am who I think I am." That is consistent with how God created us. We are created in His image - and He is creative. We get to exercise our creativity by choosing who we believe we are, and then being exactly that.

He also created us to be interactive, social creatures. Maybe you remember the extended saying: "I am who I think you think I am." That means I am influenced in my thinking by my interpretation of your conclusion of who I am. That probably sounds convoluted, but it is no wonder that identity crises are recurring. The standards are constantly shifting.

The answer is: You are what you believe. That is good news, when what I believe is good and true. But, that is bad news when what I believe is bad and false.

The Source of Conflict

Conflict happens when you are not who God designed you to be.
If who you are
is not
who God created you to be
there is conflict.

If who you are is not who God created you to be there is conflict. That conflict results in pain and separation.

There is a general purpose of God that applies to everyone. For example, all people are created to be loving - it is our original design and God's permanent will for us. Secondly, all people are created to be loved by God and the greatest demonstration of that is our forgiveness.

So what happens if who we are (because of what we believe) is contrary to what God created us to be? Conflict. God created us to be loving. If I am not being loving then I will be selfish and self-absorbed. That conflict creates pain and separation, first between me and God; but also between me and others. Similarly, if I am not being forgiven (loved by God) then I will be racked with guilt and shame. This conflict leads to pain and separation between me and God; but also between me and others.

In the same way, there is a specific and unique purpose of God that applies to each person individually. He created and designed you for it. He hardwired it into your DNA. He bathed it with the circumstances of your birth and every experience since. He wrote it as desires in your heart. It represents your fullest potential and your most comfortable state.

So what happens if who you are (because of what you believe) is different than what God created you to be? Conflict. Pain. Separation. For example, if God designed you to act in mercy but you believe you are analytical, there will be inner conflict. If God created you to be an administrator, but you have developed your life purpose to be a responder, there will be inner conflict. That kind of conflict might show up in emotional or physical ways, or it might just feel like "you're not at home in your skin." These things can be changed by understanding and accepting who God created you to be.

So what happens if who you are (because of what you believe) is the result of being deceived? Conflict still. Satan is a master deceiver and is intent on filling your mind with half-truths and outright lies. For example, God designed you to bear much fruit; but what if you believe you are unfruitful? Conflict: you will be unfruitful according to your belief yet long to produce fruit. For other examples, say you are misled into believing that you are worthless, or accident prone, or quick tempered, or unable to learn, or slow to think, or dependent on others, or sickly, or hot tempered, or defenseless: conflict leading to pain and separation.

Renewing the Mind

Like a tree planted by the water I shall not be moved.The answer is to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" until "we have the mind of Christ." Does this seem difficult? It's not, really. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Interrogate what you believe and make it obedient to Christ. Take each thought and hold it up to the standard of truth. Does God believe it to be true? If not, ask Him what is true and believe that instead. Mind renewal is an ongoing process, get in the habit of doing it.

From time to time someone may have a persistent belief that just does not hold up to the Truth. These may need intercession and support in prayer. When you are misled and the belief is particularly stubborn, you may benefit from combining your faith with that of other trusted advisors. God wants you to live according to the Manufacturer's specifications - that is His plan for you. Put your roots deep into the living water and you will soon be anchored in the Truth. You will not be moved. It is God's will for your life.

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