Self-identity: With all the talk of self identity and gender nowadays, you may think this article is about bathroom choice. It’s not. Guest writer Joshua Waulk of Baylight Counseling in Tampa, FL, zeroes in on the “I am” statements we Christians often make about ourselves and suggests a better self-identity. His article appeared first here and is used with permission.
I am ADHD.
I am bipolar.
I am depressed.
I am an addict.
I am [fill in the blank].
Within the context of counseling, it’s common to hear people use these types of phrases to describe themselves. To be sure, there’s a sense in which they’re simply using a modern style of communication in order to say that they struggle, actively, with this thing or that thing.
Self-Identity: Do Your Words Describe or Define?
But, my concern is that, too often, embedded deep within the heart of the person, is this subtle notion that, in fact, the thing they’re describing defines who they are. In other words, my concern for some people I meet with in counseling is that their language is not merely descriptive, but is definitive.
My concern is even greater when working with followers of Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t simply identifying himself with God, but was defining, or declaring himself to be God.
How Does Jesus Define You?
As Christians, as people who have died with Christ, and through whom Christ presently and actively lives, we are no longer defined by the sins and struggles of this world alone, even though we continue to be affected by them.
If Paul’s words are true when he says in Galatians 2:20,
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Because of Christ, I am no longer defined by my sin or suffering, but am defined by Him. I am a sinner, yes, but I am also eternally forgiven, justified, and redeemed (1 John 1:8-9).
I may struggle with this thing or that, but that struggle no longer defines me. Like all things of this world, they are passing away, and who God is making us to be will one day be revealed in Christ (1 John 2:17; Hebrews 10:14).
Join the Discussion
- What is your self-identity?
- How have your own “I am” statements affected your understanding of who you are in Christ?
- Can you think of any adjustments you need to make to better reflect a biblical understanding of your identity in Christ?