Beloved, your true self is hidden in Christ. God reveals his beautiful truth in the Scriptures. So let’s look at key verses about identity and your responsibility to orient our true self to loving abandonment to God. This article by Donna Hart, PhD, appeared first here on her website.
Do we think of our lives as immersed in blessing? Ephesians 1:3 says,
. . . the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing . . . Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)
If not, what keeps us from living in complete abandon to God?
Ephesians 1:4 tells us that “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . .” Chose in the original language of the New Testament literally means to “speak forth.” The Apostle Paul is saying that we have been “spoken forth” by God before the world was made.
In essence, the primary center of our identity is the heart of God’s love before the world was made.
We are “spoken forth” out of the heart of God’s love to be “holy and blameless before God in love” (Ephesians 1:4). Our design is to be holy and all we do is to be blameless as the incarnation of our lives lived in union with God.
Our old self, before saving faith in Christ, is imprisoned to its pervasively selfish and self-centered way of living. We have no way out on our own.
Our old self is darkness and God reveals himself in the darkness as 2 Corinthians 4:10–11 illustrates:
Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:10–11 (NIV)
The death of Christ is operative in our old self, so that he will be revealed in our new self.
How does this happen? We allow the old self to be given up to death for Jesus’ sake, as Galatians 2:19 says, to be crucified with Christ so the life of Christ may become visible in us.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:15-17 (NIV)
This is abandonment of our old, fallen self, letting go of our whole self-referenced mode of life. As Jesus teaches in Then Jesus told his disciples,
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
How We Change
How do we move toward the true self in Christ?
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1–3 (NIV)
We strive or orient our entire being to loving abandonment to God. Our lives hidden with Christ in God begin to live forth in us. We are enabled to see ourselves and others through God’s eyes, developing the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Our lives become formed to the values of God’s kingdom.
This union with God has four movements.
1. Strength in our innermost being from the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).
2. Loving union with God is the indwelling presence of Christ in our hearts (Galatians 4:19).
3. Being rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17), which allows God to be God in our lives on God’s terms.
4. Filled with the fullness of God where the old self passes away and all things become new as we are drawn deeper into God. (Ephesians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17). God increasingly becomes our life in the world.
As we learn to live in loving union with God, our lives become a place where others experience God’s love, mercy, and grace touching their lives. What do we need to do? We need to be completely abandoned to God in love and fully available to God for others.
So how can this profound reality be actualized in your life?