I often wrestle with accepting my identity in Christ. While many characteristics have been given to me, and have transformed me into a new creation, I often find myself “held back” by seeing me as I have always been: broken and defective.
And while I have often considered the need to purposefully look at others through the eyes of Godso that I can more fully apply my Christ-like qualities toward themI have discovered that I’ve never really thought of applying that logic to me directly.
Until recently, it never occurred to me to see myself as God sees me. But indeed, this is the key.
I have always understood and accepted the sanctification process as a disciple of Jesus, knowing that God is working in me to make me into something new. Recently, I’ve come to gain a better understanding that, in fact, he has already made me into something new, but that I am often resistant to that change, and so I do not allow God to do as much as he might otherwise if I were to give him full access.
And so, in metaphorical terms, I am a large stone within which is concealed the true, the real and new Me! And I, of course, assumed that God was the sculptor, chipping away the excess so that the me I was meant to be could be revealed.
Here are many character traits I have known and have learned represent what this new me is:
- I am a light in the world
- I am a child of God
- I am Christ’s friend
- I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear his fruit
- I am a slave of righteousness
- I am a joint heir with Christ
- I am a temple, a dwelling place, of God
1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19
- I am a member of Christ’s body
1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:30
- I am a new creation
2 Corinthians 5:17
- I am reconciled to God and a minister of reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
- I am a saint
Ephesians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
- I am God’s workmanship
- I am a citizen of heaven
Philippians 3:20; Eph. 2:6
- I am righteous and holy
- I am hidden with Christ in God
- I am chosen and dearly loved
- I am a son of light and not of darkness
1 Thessalonians 5:5
- I am an enemy of the devil
1 Peter 5:8
- I am victorious
1 John 5:4
- I am born again
1 Peter 1:23
- I am alive with Christ
- I am more than a conqueror
- I am the righteousness of God
2 Corinthians 5:21
- I am born of God and the Evil One cannot touch me
1 John 5:8
- I am to be like Christ when he returns
1 John 3:1-2
But I admit, not all of these things have I really identified with. Many of them appear to be things I can look forward to or must work towardsbut not things synonymous with who I am: because I had been looking at myself through my old, tainted lenses. But I am encouraged to find that all of these things are already true! Indeed, these are not things that I must work for, or pay God back for. These are the character traits and the reality of who I am already as a New Creation; and this cannot be undone.
But now, I see differently. For when God looks at that same stone, he can see inside itand sees the “me” he created me to be in there. He is the Artist, and I am the sculptor. The sanctification is the process that I am undergoing to remove, with his help, all of the bits of stone that are hiding the real me.
And this changes everything!
Yesterday I would have asked God to shape me – to do the work for me. Or (and this is the norm) I would just get to work on that stone as I felt it needed to be worked on. I had no real vision of what that end result might be. I had the tools, but no understanding of how to use them. I had no skill set, no instruction, and no direction. There was no plan, because I wasn’t looking at the stone like God was. So I couldn’t see what the end result was supposed to look like. And I certainly wasn’t asking God to show me, because I needed to make the change. I needed to do the work to demonstrate to him that I love him and that I believed it to be important.
So, in the end, I was just guessing.
But today, everything is brand new! Because today I realize that there’s more to that stone than meets the eye. While this New Me is still encapsulated in an old shell, I can be purposeful each day when I ask God, “What part shall we work on today? What part of this stone do you feel needs attention today?” And, of course, there a parts of this project that I am not equipped to handle, nor ever will be.
Instead of me learning how to become an expert with all the tools in my toolbox, how much more effective to invite other experts into my life to help with this project? Yes, there are parts that require my special attention and careful direction from the Artist. But if God entrusts others to be enlisted for this project, how much more confidence should I have in their ability to help me with the work?
“Who would you have help me with my work today? And to whom might I be of service?”
This change in perspectivescales removedchanges everything else. Just by adjusting my point-of-view, I can see how I might fit into the bigger picture, and allow myself to be open to participation in the larger story.
Once, I was content to just swing my hammer into a rock. But now, I see not just a tool, but an instrument of his craftsmanship.
“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
2 Timothy 2:21