Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Blueprint that is You

This blog post is somewhat self serving in that I am introducing my new book "Identity - What It Means To Be You".  Below you will find the first chapter of the book, to give you a taste of what it is about.  This message is something that the Lord has been teaching me all my life, although the most significant healing has come in the last 15 years. Identity is a very personal topic to me as it has prompted me to seek healing, learn more, research, investigate, share victories and defeat,  and even pointed me toward the career that I now have as a mental health counselor.  Our society tends to erode personal identity and the personal sense of value and worth that comes with it.  Value seems to be condensed into that old saying that says, the person with the most toys wins.  
At present, the book is available only on Kindle, but that doesn't mean that you can't download it.  If you go to and download the free Kindle Reader, you can then go to the link below and purchase it for 4.99.

I would appreciate knowing what you think of the book.  My prayer is that it blesses you and encourages you along the journey to knowing yourself better, appreciating how the Lord created you and liking the person that you are.

I see a very common response in the counseling office when I mention the word, “Identity.” I get a blank look, an “uh huh,” and the conversation moves on. Over the years, I’ve learned to work with that response and allow my clients the time to explore what identity means. The message of identity keeps being reinforced as a significant issue in the lives of many of the people I speak with. It is clear that lack of identity is a much bigger problem than people think it is. I describe it as an epidemic of our culture. We are taught to have roles and jobs, which then become what we are, and determine our value as human beings. We don’t hear the truth, which is: we are not what we do. We are unique individuals who perform certain functions, but those functions don’t define us — we define the functions.
I have believed for a long time that identity is what can be called that unique “blueprint” from which the Lord created us. This blueprint is who we are. Not who we are in Christ, which is another thing, but who we are. Male or female, blonde or brunette, blue eyes or brown eyes — even down to the preferences for the food we like to eat, what we consider delightful, and what makes us curl back with fear or disgust. As human beings, we are individuals with a complex compilation of attributes organized in a distinctive way that, as an end result, becomes me and you and your neighbor and all the people who have made up and presently make up our world. It is hard to believe that, in all these millions of people, there is not one who is the same as another!

Identity in Christ

When we talk about identity, people often think that what is being referred to is our identity in Christ. For the purposes of this book, that is not the case. Personal identity is the creative gift of God to us. Identity in Christ is a positional term used to describe the “benefits” secured for each of us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These benefits are given to any person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our personal identities are different — they are unique to each one of us, and are comprised of our personality, our gifts, our talents, body style, and many other things, which in turn give us significant clues to our purpose in life. For example, someone who is 6'5", with a heavy frame and musculature, would probably not be well suited as a dancer or gymnast. A dancer's or gymnast’s body style is quite different from that of a person who would be better suited as a football player or a logger. Someone with a quiet persona, who would rather research information and write about it, may not be comfortable as a public speaker.
Some people have come to believe dying to self means they must die to who they are as a person in order that Christ may live in them. Paul did not say that. He said:

Galatians 2:20, NKJV: I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ who lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me

The sense of this verse is that we are to crucify the sinful desires which keep us from following Christ and keep His nature from manifesting through us.  NEVERTHELESS, I Live! Christ lives within us, and we are to reflect His love, His beauty, His compassion and His grace through our own unique and wonderful body, soul and personal spirit.  We are, with His help, bringing to death carnal inclinations that oppose Him. But we must not forget the part of the verse that says —

Psalm 139:13-16, Amp. — For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, [and] skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained [for me] when as yet there was not one of them.

Does this verse sound like it is describing a master craftsman or a production line? If God did not build into us a unique design, what would be the need for Proverbs 22:6? (Train up a child in the way he should go. In the Hebrew, the meaning is that we should train up a child according to his own natural bent.) Why would He need to make sure we knew to look for how He made our children, and to direct them towards that?

Our identity in Christ is positional. It is an identity that we share with every other person in the body of Christ. Our personal identity, which is the focus of this discussion, is unique and belongs to us alone.