Redeemed God Created Identities
By Dani’El Garvin
Having dealt with the subject of selfism and the evils of a world under the control of the New Age god of self and god within to make the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bathwater and totally annihilating all aspects of our personality and identities. When some Christians try to crucify self, they often strive to eliminate every part of themselves, including the very core of their being. We were created by God, body, soul, and spirit. The soul is the seat of our mind, will, and emotions. In Galatians 2:20, Paul states that he is “crucified together with Christ,” and then he states “nevertheless I live” and “the life I now live in the flesh, I live by God’s faith operating in me.” How can we resolve this dilemma in everyday reality?
One way is to define our sense of self on the one hand in terms of the “negative, unredeemed self,” and on the other hand as the “positive self,” created in God’s image, once fallen, and now restored and redeemed. From this point on we can approach the whole subject of “God Esteem.”
In Psalm 139:13-18, we find the truth about who we really are through our Creator’s eyes. As redeemed souls, we are reconciled back to the honored position of being created in the very image of God, and with that image fully restored through the blood of Christ. Forgiven, we become fully alive! (John 10:10) The truth about who we now really are, is as follows: (Psalms 139)
- We are wonderful, marvelous creations of God.
- We are created in His image and for His glory.
- We are worthwhile and special.
- As God masterfully created the universe, the sun, the moon, and the stars, we too are masterpieces of His excellent craftsmanship. Even God said “Very good!” after creating us (Gen. 1:31).
- We have been intricately woven together by God in our mother’s womb. Each part of our body, soul, and spirit has been recorded, including all the days we will live.
- Before we were born He knew us. He personally designed us, and He also designed the paths in which we were to walk. We originated from God.
- God puts His signature upon His artwork. We are rare and valuable!
- God used all of His resources and attributes in creating us, including His wisdom, His knowledge, His power, and His love. All these flowed into the creation of each of us.
As a Christian, to put your redeemed self down, or to degrade yourself, is to put your creator down. As a part of our worship and praise to God, we should “Esteem God” for the marvelous way He has created us. This in no way elevates the human “self,” but honors and esteems the One who created us saves us, and restores us back to our true Godgiven, redeemed identities.
PRAYER: “Lord, I bless You, and praise You, for the way You created me, a marvelous and wonderful creation of Your love. I praise You, Lord! Please forgive me for putting down and devaluing what You have made! I die to that negative, unregenerate, fleshly part of me that dishonors You and Your Son. I receive back my true original identity, which was created in Your image for Your glory. Amen.”
I wish to make a statement of caution against the concept of “self-esteem” which many have accepted in Christian circles without even thinking through its ungodly origins. Phrases are used by educators today such as, “Up with people!” They also say that you have great human potential to be anything and to look within yourself for strength. The focus then is on what the inner self can accomplish.”
There was a king who ruled the world in ancient times, who erected an image of “himself” to be worshipped by the whole world. Three Jewish youths declared that they would worship only the Lord God, Jehovah, and as a result, they were thrown into a fiery furnace. They didn’t bow and they didn’t burn! That king then tore down his image of “self-pride” and commanded all to only worship the God of those Jewish youths.
The day is here and is coming when similar choices must be made. We, too, need to tear down the images of negative self-aggrandizement and pride. Let’s stop esteeming self and begin esteeming our Creator, who is praised forever! Amen!
There also are positive and negative aspects to pride. Negative pride is being “stuck” on yourself, which is akin to rebellion and self-worship. Having a “big head” and being a “braggart” describes negative pride to a tee. But there is a redeemed, positive pride, such as taking pride in a job well done and thanking God. Even the Scriptures in Romans 12 states that “we are to have a sane estimate of our abilities.” The difference is in the motive behind your feelings. The negative elevates oneself as being godlike. The positive flows from true humility and worship of God.
This is also true with many emotions. Emotions are generally amoral; it’s what we do with them positively or negatively that determines their value. For instance, we can leave anger festering and “capped off” inside, so that it
kills us on the inside, or we can spew it out onto other people in rage which creates a chain reaction. Both ways are sinful.
The first response is to sin against ourselves and the second is to sin against others. To be angry while not allowing it to turn into sin requires that we process the feelings and then express them in a polite, yet assertive way to those whom we’ve offended, or to those who have offended us. I use the formula, “I felt angry when…,” thereby not attacking the other, but simply sharing my feelings. It’s like two distinctly different ways of putting a knife into someone: you can put a knife into a person as a murderer with evil motives, or you can be a doctor with good and healing motives. Galatians 5:22 and 23, describe those who manifest the fruit of the Spirit: “Against such, there is no law.”
Who, then, can judge our motives within the area of God Esteem? Christ taught us to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” The implication is that we cannot love others until we connect with a positive appreciation of God’s creative work in us. If we don’t have a full love tank filled by God, it is hopeless to attempt to minister love to others. To do so would be codependency, which is trying to care for others out of an empty love tank.
Suppose your neighbors’ car won’t start and you try to give them a jumpstart, only to find your own battery drained. You must first charge your own before you can help others with theirs. There are many Christian workers who don’t have a true sense of God’s love in their own identities, trying to minister to others. This leads to rescuing and enabling.
I myself was such a soul on the mission field in Asia, and my inadequacies and dysfunctions rose up to hit me right between the eyes, time and again. I was inwardly locked into a shell of survival and control, refusing to take steps to trust God and others, which would have allowed me to move toward growth and change. I have personally experienced the healing principles in this book throughout the years, and, praise God, I am out of that shell and moving toward love and intimacy with God my Creator. Growth and change are now a reality for me. Other passages which show our value to God include John 3:16 and Christ’s teachings about numbering the hairs on our head, and taking note of each sparrow that falls…and then Christ states, “Are you not of more value than these?” Even Paul taught that no man fails to take care of and nourish his own body, which implies that we all have, to some degree, a value for who God created us to be. Christ showed value and dignity to even the lowest sinner in His ministry.
However, in our culture, there are degenerate signs of the devaluation of God’s creation in us. In middle school and high school, negative namecalling, criticism, and putdowns are a way of life. “You’re stupid, fat, ugly, crazy, a dork, gay, and weird,” are only a few of the devaluative lies about our true identities. After years of being labeled with these degenerating criticisms, confidence goes downhill very quickly while negative self-talk and thinking becomes a way of life.
This produces all sorts of maladies, including drug and alcohol addiction; sexual addiction; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; and the performance trap. Such people start with the presupposition that “I am basically a bad person;” then, “No one would love me just as I am;” then, “drugs, alcohol, sex, or people-pleasing is my greatest need for self-nurture.”
Many of the problems that face adolescents today stem from a fractured identity. A teen who is teased and constantly put down suddenly gains a sense of power as he looks down the sight of a gun. “I’ll show you!” Our culture is full of similar crime scenes driven by self-hatred and rage. Of course, the media and video games reinforce this problem.
Many parents have failed to see God’s worth in their children’s unique design. They have failed to connect with “agape” love… the love that gives unconditionally. They have been worried about their own reputations, which has driven the conditional love scenarios of expecting their children to perform and please, and to be who they want them to be. Parents should be connecting with God and submitting their children to His plans, and His designs. One teen wrote a poem that stated, “My life was an open book and I let you read all of the pages, then you tore out some pages, replacing them with some of your own, leaving me untrue, and all alone…” Yes, self-hatred begins early in life and is practiced by all, during the school years. What then, are some ways that we can reverse these trends and rebuild a healthy sense of who God created us to be?
Dani’El Garvin is a Micmac elder and author of several books. For more information on Dani’El and other books he has authored CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE OF HIM.