A young girl once asked her mom, “Where did we come from?” The mother replied, “We came from God; we were made in His image and likeness.” The young girl wanted to get a second opinion, so she went to her father and asked the same question. Her father, without hesitation, said, “We came from monkeys. It started off with The Big Bang, then came monkeys, and we evolved from there and are still evolving.” The little girl became confused and went back to her mother, “Mom, I am confused. You said we came from God, but dad said we came from monkeys, so who is right?” The mother replied, “Honey, both of us are right. I told you where my family came from and your dad told you where his family came from.”
Where you come from matters, because it determines your identity. Most schools in the USA teach kids that they came from monkeys. No wonder kids act like monkeys! Our school system stopped teaching abstinence from sex, and instead they teach safe sex. They have found it difficult to teach teenagers to say no to sex, so instead, they give them condoms. The school system has taught them for years that they are glorified animals, so, they shouldn’t be surprised when they behave as such. Animals are bodies without a spirit. Therefore, animals are ruled by their sexuality. If our educational system indoctrinates within the youth that they are animals, then how can we expect teenagers to behave any better than that? They will be ruled by their sexuality. You can’t teach animals abstinence because, they are animals and that is all they know.
In order to bring the young generation to a higher level of purity, we must bring them back to their identity. The issue teenagers are facing has less to do with sexual immorality and more to do with identity crisis. Identity crisis can come from negative experiences during childhood, but most often it comes from what we are taught to believe about ourselves. In order to rule your sexuality as God intended, you must know who you are.
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Build on the Rock
We discover who we are when we learn Whose we are. Many physical traits get passed down from our parents, but our sense of value and dignity comes from our Creator.
The wise man built his house on the rock, but the foolish man built his house on the sand (Reference Matthew 7:24-27). The foundation is always poured before the house can be built. Before you embark on your career and dating, you must build a secure foundation for your future. This means that for your blessings to stand the test of time, they must be built on a proper foundation. The foundation I am referring to is your identity. There are only two foundational options available for building one’s identity. Either upon the rock or on sand. The rock is something solid. The Rock I am referring to is a person whose name is Jesus. He is the Rock of Ages, the Cornerstone who the builders have rejected, and He is the foundation for who we are! Sand is shaky and unstable; in this case, it is anything that we put in place of Christ, that we draw our sense of worth from.
The sand of physical appearance. Good looks are a gift from God, but they are a terrible material to build your identity on. King Saul was very handsome but chronically insecure. In fact, he was so insecure that he hid behind bags on the day of inauguration. He struggled with jealousy all his life. As a result of not building his identity on God, he feared people, disobeyed God, was harassed by demons, and developed a mental disorder. If you think that if you could just be more beautiful, then you would feel better about yourself, you are deceived. Your looks would become your idol, the sand on which you would build your life. That sand will fail you. We should all try our best to look the best we can, but none of it should become our identity. Don’t let the mirror in the bathroom define who you are. The mirror of God’s Word is what reveals your true worth. Start looking into that mirror instead.
The sand of titles. Insecure people are into titles, but those who draw their identity from God are into towels (serving). At the Last Supper, the disciples were fighting about who would have the first seat in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given Him all things, and that He had come from God and was going to God, got up and grabbed a towel to wash the feet of insecure disciples. So many people get into ministry to cure insecurity. They think that the lights, applause, and miracles will heal their sense of worthlessness. Ministry is a Band-Aid, not a cure. If you are going into ministry to get healed of insecurity, that means you are not there to serve, but to use ministry to serve your wounded ego. That’s a dangerous and scary position to be in. We must imitate Christ; we must know where we come from and where we are going. We must anchor ourselves in God’s view of us, and out of that, serve those around us, not giving too much attention to titles. It will help us to not find nourishment in the compliments of people, or to be crucified by their criticism, since we are living for an audience of One. Insecurity will rob of you of opportunities to serve people because insecure people are driven by the fear of men, which is a trap of the devil. They can’t serve people because they are too busy pleasing them. Their identity is in people instead of the Presence. That is sinking sand.
The sand of wealth. Wealth is a blessing from God, but it was never meant to be the foundation upon which we build our identity. That’s why Paul told Timothy to instruct the rich to not be proud (Reference 1 Timothy 6:17). The only way that’s possible is if we don’t let wealth determine our worth. When wealth grows, our giving should grow, not our self-esteem. If your worth is growing with your wealth, then your worth is inflated. It’s like a balloon, big and bloated with nothing inside. All it takes is one small needle and BAM! You know how that balloon will end. Don’t live with inflated self-worth, where needles and sharp objects can deflate you. Build your identity on God, which is like building it on the rock. If you poke a rock with a needle, the needle will break, not the rock. The rock does not get bigger over time; it remains the same. The lesson for you and me is that no matter how many degrees and accomplishments we have, or how much money we have in our account, our worth must remain constant since it’s based on God, not on the sinking sand of material things.
The sand of failures. Failure is an event, not a person. Our failures should refine us, not define our identity. Satan will work extra hard to let the sins of the past determine who we are in the present. Many Christians can recall the story in the Bible about the woman with the issue of blood (Reference Matthew 9:20-22). The most interesting part is that we don’t even know her name. She is simply known as “the woman with an issue.” She had an issue, and then that issue became not only what she was known for, but who she was. It became her identity and her name. However, after she touched Jesus, she was healed. Jesus then referred to her as a “daughter of faith.” Not a woman, but a daughter. Jesus did not call her by her issue, but by her new identity. Satan knows your name, but he will call you by your past, since it’s the only information he knows about you. He is clueless about your future. Jesus knows your past, but He calls you by a new name. Jesus often changed people’s names to help them change how they viewed themselves. In Christ, we are a new creation; the old things have passed away.
Many Christians live with a “salvaged title” mentality. I currently have a vehicle with a salvaged title. That means the car was bought at an auction for dirt cheap and fixed up, but its value has decreased because it has been in an accident. It looks brand new and even smells like new, but in the glove box there is a document that determines its worth. That document contains verbiage that most Russians living in America are familiar with: “salvaged title” or “rebuilt title.” Many people have been through an “accident” of some type in their lives. Maybe you’re reading this book right now and feel as though you have been totally destroyed by drugs, fornication, or other sins from the past. Jesus, through the shedding of His blood, has restored you. The devil will try to put your past on the title of your mind, and make you feel like your worth is affected by your past mistakes. But remember, you are new creation in Christ, not a rebuilt creation. Therefore, you must keep Jesus as the Rock upon which your identity is built on. If you don’t, people will put labels on you based on your mistakes, and you will sell yourself short based on these labels. If you have lost your virginity or have done drugs, don’t let the devil put that on your subconscious title. Don’t build your identity on your past, but on the blood of Jesus Christ and the truth of what God says about you. Then, and only then, you can have the future God designed for you, instead of settling for less than God’s best.
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How to build your identity:
1. Your identity comes from the Creator
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Identity, or self-image, is how you see yourself. Self-image is like a chain; it limits how far you can go. Like a wild dog on a leash that can’t go further than the chain allows him, so is low self-esteem; it limits a person’s potential. It affects their perspective and, many times, hinders them from being used by God. Insecure people often look to marriage to heal their inferiority complex. Romantic relationships are their last hope to cure their low self-esteem. No matter how much love, gifts, and attention you give them, it’s never enough.
God formed Adam. Unlike other creation, which God created by speaking into existence, God was physically involved in creating Adam from the dust. So also, God formed you. You were created from the touch of God; therefore, it is His touch that you will always crave. His presence becomes your hiding place. There will always be a deep longing in your heart for God’s touch, because He formed you with His hands.
God created Adam in His image and likeness. Man bears the imprint of God. That’s why the devil hates you, because you remind him of God. When God made vegetation and animals, He made them all “after it’s/their kind,”; the phrase occurs ten times in Genesis 1:11-25. When He created Adam, He made him after the God-kind. When the Pharisees asked Jesus whether they should pay taxes, he asked them to bring him a denarius. That coin bore the image of Caesar. Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” (Mark 12:17). That coin bore the image of Caesar; therefore, it belonged to Caesar. You bear the image of God; therefore, you belong to God. You carry His likeness and His image. Stop determining your worth from how many likes your images on social media get. You carry the image of God in you; therefore, your value is set by Him.
God blessed Adam and said he was good. Blessing is empowerment for expansion. It’s more than stuff; it’s power to increase. Just as God blessed Adam, when you discover your identity, you will realize it’s already blessed by God. In your identity, you are blessed, not cursed. It means you are empowered to grow and expand. God saw all that He had made and said that it was very good. You need to hear that personally, right now, from God…you are VERY GOOD!
If this is not enough to blow low self-esteem out of the water, then nothing will ever be enough to remove insecurity. Renew your mind today. Receive what God says about you – the truth will set you free. Everything else you see and feel are simply facts. Remember that facts change but the truth is eternal.
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How to Build Your Identity:
2. Your Identity is Restored by the Cross
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Genesis 3:11
After Adam ate from the tree, he felt ashamed in his glorious body. Adam did not gain weight after eating the fruit. Nothing changed on the outside for him. He had the same body as before. He had no one to compare himself with to make him feel insecure. For many of us, our insecurities surface because of comparison. Adam had none of that, yet he felt so ashamed that he hid himself and made clothing out of fig leaves. Even after being clothed he still felt ashamed. It’s interesting to realize that sin first brought insecurity and shame before it brought sickness and death. Shame, insecurity, and feeling worthless were the feelings he got after eating from the wrong tree. If you are aware of your nakedness, it’s probably not because of an issue with your body but with your diet.
Adam, you were not ashamed before, what happened? You were aware of God’s presence and your body was just fine. Now you are disgusted with yourself – you lost the sight of the glory of God. You ate something you shouldn’t have and it opened your eyes to yourself instead of God.
Anytime I feel “naked” and ashamed, the Lord reminds me that if I am aware of who I am not, it’s because I lost sight of who He is. He shows me that I have been eating from the wrong tree – the tree of knowledge. The tree of knowledge is not a tree of sin, it’s a tree of facts. It’s a tree of people’s opinions. It’s a tree of my appearance. It’s a tree of my past. This tree is in my garden; I can’t remove it. I should not even try to; that’s not the goal. God forbids me to eat from it. This means I must not draw my identity from it. No amount of fig leaves can remove shame and insecurity. Getting a better body, higher grades, more followers on social media, or connections to influential people – all of these things do not cure inner shame. Fig leaves can’t do it, but the cross can.
Are you eating from the tree of knowledge planted in your garden, or from the tree of life which God planted on the hill of Calvary? Your identity must come from the cross, or else it will come from your nakedness. If you are battling with insecurity, bleeding on the inside, then do as Israel did in the wilderness and lift your eyes to the Brazen Serpent. Take your eyes off yourself and lift them to the hill where your help comes from. Then, and only then, will Jesus clothe you with His love and righteousness. All of your insecurity and shame will be covered by His blood.
The cross not only restores your identity, but the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives new significance to the value of your body. Your physical body is valuable because the Holy Spirit lives in it. It’s His temple. Many young people struggle to accept themselves because of their physical appearance. Society tells them they don’t measure up. We must understand that our body is valuable to God. He created it. He heals it. He will resurrect it. He will reward us in heaven, based on what we did in the body. Satan wants to use our body to spread his evil. Precious Holy Spirit made His residence in our body, not just in our spirit.
When Barack Obama became president, his 2005 Dodge, which he drove before he became president, was auctioned off on eBay for $1 million USD. That car was not even worth $20,000 USD. Why would anyone pay $1 million for it? Because Obama drove it. The value of that car increased drastically because of who had it before. Holy Spirit is not Obama; He is God. He doesn’t just use you and then trade you in; He lives in you! Your body is His home. Just as the value of that old Dodge was determined by its owner, so also your value is determined by your Owner. You should take care of it. You should not compare it to others. I am not advocating that you should walk around with pride and arrogance about yourself, but walk with dignity, deriving your identity from the Creator and the Cross.
There is still 294 words in this chapter about how we should not doubt in the dark what God reveals in the light about our identity.
Here is little teaser of the book:
Table of Contents (Single Ready to Mingle)
- Fish Love (Chapter on Intimacy with God)
- Born Identity (Chapter on Identity)
- No Money, No Honey (Chapter on Money Management)
- Dating Donkeys (Chapter on Dating Non-Believers)
- Find Your Shoes (Chapter on 6 Red Flags of Dating Wrong Person)
- Sexual Sleep (Chapter for the Teenagers)
- God Presents, We Choose (Chapter on Biggest Myth of Dating)
- Best Marriage Advice (Chapter on What You Need to Know About Marriage Before You Get Married)