I ask people, “Who are you?” Men usually respond with their name first, what they do second, or what they have done or achieved third. Women usually respond relationally, “I’m a wife; a mother;” etcetera.
But, do you really know who you are? We would like to believe that we are whoever or whatever we think we are. This usually turns out to be whoever or whatever we would really like to be but not. I am fascinated that so many people really do not know who they are.
Why is this so critical? Because a person’s self-image, feeling of worth, value, and abilities, his/her worldview, view of others, and his/her concept and understanding of life are all the result of his/her concept of God. Why is this true?
By creation we are made in the image and likeness of God and we were given a task, a position description. Genesis 1:26–28,
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”
By creation we are made in the image and likeness of God…
This does not mean that we are “gods.” Rather we are given authority and tasked to be in charge of what God has created and take care of it for Him. Reading in Hebrews 2:6–8,
“What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
What an awesome position description. What an awesome task! And what a wonderful life! We are children of the Most High God, our Father.
The Lie: Genesis 3:1–5 (NKJV)
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”‘ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.‘”
In believing the lie, mankind denied the truth. We choose to believe lies about ourselves. Hurtful lies that we hear from other people. Lies that we create within our minds, about ourselves. Lies created by our fellow mankind, our society, our news media. Hence, we develop low self-esteem, poor self-images, and we soon find ourselves hating, demeaning and dehumanizing others so that we can “feel good and/or superior.”
Life is never fair. The Scriptures never even mention fairness. We get dumped on by many different sources. Life, then, becomes unbearable. Traumatic stress, psychologically, morally, and ethically, sets in. We spiral endlessly downward until anger, rage, nihilism, and suicidal ideations become a part of our lives. Many times I have offered condolences to a soldier, a family member, at the death of someone close only to hear the words, “It’s okay Chaplain. It don’t mean nothin’.” Oh, the ache of emptiness and futility. Words I hear all too frequently, “Life sucks, man. Life sucks.” What a horrible reality. So very far away from the design of God.
If we are truly born again through the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, the truth is then declared in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Hey, Chaplain! “Wait a minute. Does that mean that I can have a new self-identity?”
I reply, “Yes, my brother, my sister, you can.”
“My old life style can be changed for a new life style? I can have and live a new life?”
I reply, “Yes. You can.”
“Tell me, Chaplain, how can that happen?”
The Cure: 1 John 1:8–2:2 (NKJV)
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV) states:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Hebrews 12:1–2 (NKJV) states:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”