Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 19 of Lent :: The True Self

“See, I have engraved you
on the palms of my hands.”

Isaiah 49:16

Each of us has been created uniquely. This is one of God’s gift to us. However, somewhere along the way, life has taught us that the true self wasn’t welcome or safe or wanted. Before long, we became quite apt at hiding the true self. As we looked at earlier this week, the false self strives to patch-work an identity together from secondary things such as: reputation, success, status, family, jobs, health. But “an identity based on such things,” Calhoun reminds us, “is rooted in idols.”

Our truest identity can never be something we accomplish, earn or prove on our own. It is a gift we receive from Jesus. It is not something we earn through performance; it is what we are given. Scripture tells us that we are:

  • Chosen (John 15:16)
  • Beloved children of God (1 John 3:1)
  • Friends of Jesus (John 15:15)
  • The Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • God’s work of art (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
This is one’s truest self. In the presence of Christ we lay down the weight of having to manage an image. Francis de Sales writes in his Treatise on the Love of God, “No one can perfectly love God unless he gives up his affections for perishable things…Our free will is never so free as when it is a slave to God’s will, just as it is never so servile as when it serves our own will.” Detaching from the false self and idols of our hearts can be a painful process. But God’s Spirit of truth longs to help us detach from the lies that shape us. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of our belovedness and our Christ-in-me-identity. ”*

Reflection: Spend some time reflecting and praying through how Scriptures defines our identity in Christ.

What are some of the phrases that have defined your false self (things that you have believed about yourself that are not true)?

In what areas is God re-defining your understanding of who you are?

Suppose next to your “name,” that is written in His hand, were other words that God uses to describe who you are. What would those “names” be? Write them down.

*Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 89-90.

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