Look at the New You and Your New Identity!

You think you can’t change? Well, here’s good news!  You can have a NEW YOU and a NEW IDENTITY!

Paul recognized that the family of God is made up of groups of people with a new identity. If you are serious about the New Life as a New Creation you need to invest in a Bible that is easy for you to read and ask the Spirit to speak to you through it. You can find examples to choose from at

http://www.mardel.com/bible-translation-guide.aspx

Look up the following passage in your Bible. But if you don’t have one, read the version printed here.

“For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek (identity as a racial group), there is no longer slave or free (identity as an economic group), there is no longer male and female (identity as a sexual group); for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise (here on earth and not only in the hereafter or in heaven)…And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Father!” So you are no longer a slave (to whatever kept you in bondage before) but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Parentheses mine.)

Galatians 3:26-29 and 4:6

Membership in God’s Family and the Kingdom of God supersedes our membership in gender, racial, ethnic, or economic groups.

Our sexual and racial/ethnic identities have been parts of our self-identity, they have been core parts of our very being. Our sexual experience,racial experience and religious experience have all colored our views of self and others, depending upon our beliefs about maleness, femaleness, religion and race or color. It may take some time to determine what parts of our behavior to  retain and what parts  to leave behind, and what can be used in a new way for good in your NEW IDENTITY, the NEW YOU.

The prevalence of uninvited sexual experiences that affect a person’s sense of identity is high in the United States. Sexuality is a good gift of God. An explanation of spiritually centered sex suggested in a major religious position paper gives a helpful criteria to assist you in evaluating your own behavior. Do you “…feel clear, honest, and in tune with yourself and have the best interest of yourself and your partner at heart”? Is it “a substitute for another need that is avoided or being kept secret”?

In the family of God, we have a new identity, we have become new persons. That new identity comes from God as a gift of love without regard to our history or what we deserve. Our new identity comes with a purpose, for us to enjoy good works in this world. Think about what we read in this passage.

But God is so rich in mercy that, on account of His great love with which He loved us, He made us who were dead in trespasses, alive in unison with Christ…For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is God’s gift. It is not from works, so that no one may boast; for we are his formation, created as we are in Christ Jesus for good works, which God previously prepared for us to enjoy life in them.

Ephesians 2:4, 8-10 Modern Language Version

Through God’s grace, God’s kindness, we are newly created in Christ as a child of God that we may enjoy life doing the good things God has prepared us, and for us, to do. Our past may be part of our preparation, but it is not our prison.

For some, this NEW IDENTITY is so total that their former associates can not easily recognize them. They have new interests, new attitudes, and even their facial expressions and their postures are new. For others, the New Identity is more gradual and all that previously was good in themselves is retained and recognized.

Some even been chosen by God since before their birth, like the prophet Jeremiah, and yet have a personal experience of God later in life that fills their lives with new vitality. One of Jeremiah’s missions in life was to announce God’s New Covenant with the Jewish people. You find the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34 in the Old Testament of the Bible. Jeremiah is in the special section of longer prophetic writings in the Jewish Scriptures. The covenant describes how the new identity is given to individuals.

The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt–a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:31-34, NRSV.

We have had the opportunity to enter into this family of God and become a child of God. If you did not take that opportunity as you were reading the earlier material, please do that now. In your own way, invite God into your being and life, your present and future.

Many people imagine God as either in a high and mighty position, or as some mechanical force, and do not see that God is personally involved with people. But the message of Jesus is clearly different. Remember the prayer paraphrased earlier, often called the “Lord’s Prayer”, that he taught his disciples in Matt. 6:5-14 and Luke 11:1-13. It begins with “Our Father.”

You might think of Jesus as having an internal antenna tuned to God for directions in daily living. Jesus’ followers, as children of God, are expected to do the same. Actually, we should say Children of God, since we are part of God’s Family, A Royal Family of Priests. (I Peter 2:4,5,9)

Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22,23 about identification marks of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. There we have a “behavioral characteristics check list” for you to test yourself regarding the Spirit’s influence in the New You. Here they are with English spelling and explanations.

Agape–Love which extends sincere appreciation and respect to others.

Chara–State of joy, gladness, and great happiness.

Erene–Peace, tranquility, freedom from worry, anxiety and inner turmoil.

Macrothumia–Long-suffering, patience, even temper; state of calm, without irritation or complaint in face of provocation or misfortune.

Chrestotes–Kindness, activity which is useful, helpful, kind, benevolent.

Agathosune—Goodness and general positive moral qualities with acts of generous giving.

Pistis–Faith in God, faithfulness, complete believability, trustworthiness, dependability, keeping pledges and promises.

Praotes–Gentleness in attitude and behavior, mildness, without harshness.

Egkrateia–Complete self-control over ones desires and actions.

The Spirit of God in us teaches us inwardly as we study, pray, and meditate, and gives guidance through outer spiritual mentors given us by God. God forbid that we neglect our responsibility to teach our natural-born children, or the children of our congregations of worship, regarding God’s LAW, LOVE, and FORGIVENESS.

So now you have a picture, perhaps a portrait, of the developing NEW YOU and your New Identity as a Child of God!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s