Are You Having an Identity Crisis?

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

It is our conviction that Christ's life not only atoned for the sins of mankind, through our union with Him, a second Genesis began. Paul explains, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45).

The word Adam means "man" and is representative of "mankind." There are now two Adams or two species of man. The first species is the descendant of sinful Adam. His thoughts orbit around his carnal or "natural" desires. He carries both the DNA of Adam's nature and the consequences of Adam's sin. He is, indeed, a "living soul," who is controlled by fears, physical needs, intellect boundaries, pride, culture and sin.

The second species or race of man is Spirit-centered. His thoughts, dreams and experiences originate primarily from the Holy Spirit, who lives in union with him. The highest aspiration of the Spirit-centered man is not on attaining natural successes, but upon attaining conformity to Christ. While the first man lives to experience what the world around him can give, the last species of man, the Christ-man, lives for what he can give to the world: he is a "life-giving spirit." The first Adam engendered descendants with problems; the spiritual descendants of the last Adam, Christ, provide the world with answers.

New Creatures

While men divide over many things -- culture, skin color, language or social status -- from God's view mankind is only truly divided into two subsets: those controlled by their souls and those controlled by the Holy Spirit. One race is dead in sin; the other is alive in Christ. One species of man is destined to perish; the other will live forever. Just as the first Adam passed sin, weakness and death to his children, so the second Adam, Christ, passes virtue, power and eternal life to the children of God.

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:17).

"For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Gal. 6:15).

We are not merely creatures of flesh temporarily acting spiritual, but we are spiritual beings temporarily living as men of flesh. If you have received Christ into your life, you are part of the second Genesis. You possess a new nature that, like Christ's, shall live forever.

Identity Crisis
Yet too many of us suffer from an "identity crisis." We are confused about who we really are. We attend church, but internally we are still deeply identified with the traits and expectations of the first Adam. Paul rebuked the church in Corinth, which suffered with fleshy attitudes, saying, "Are you not walking like mere men?" (1 Cor. 3:3).

Hear me well: If you have received Christ, you are no mere mortal. The very same power that raised Christ from the dead, abides also in you. While you may experience many of the same trials that the descendants of the first Adam face, you are buoyed by God's Spirit as He faithfully works all things for good in your life. On the other side of your trials is not death, but resurrection!

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom. 8:11).

We may look human, but abiding within us is a treasure more valuable the earth itself: resurrection power.

"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power" (Acts 2:24).

Just as it was impossible for death to hold Christ in the grave, so it is impossible for the substance of "death" still in us -- our sins and failures -- to hold Him as well. Christ conquers death as readily as light drives out darkness. Indeed, in all things we are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37 NIV).

Seated With Christ
I was once engaged in a particular struggle, and a friend asked me, "How are you doing under the circumstances?" I answered, "I'm not under the circumstances; I'm seated with Christ in heavenly places. My Father is God. There is no weapon formed against me that can prosper. I'm born again from above, a new creation; I am a partaker of the Divine nature."

Everything I answered came directly from God's Word and represents the reality granted each of us by faith in God's promises. Faith unlocks the power of God's promises. My friends, none of us need be under circumstances or "the weather," or pressures or curses; you are alive together with Christ (Col. 2) and positioned in the shelter of God's domain. Yes, we face conflict, which God uses to perfect our character, but He also "always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place" (2 Cor. 2:14).

Beloved, if you are not using God's Word to define and shape your spiritual identity, you will, in fact, be under circumstances and clouded by the oppression that abides on the first Adam. You may still be a Christian, but you will suffer from your identity crisis. This is why Paul said, "Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Eph. 4: 24). You must accept, believe, and then apply the word of God until you are fully established as a new creation.

"Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).

The quest to walk in your new nature is the crux of your primary battles in life. This is not just a war between your virtue and your vices. No, it is a war between your identity after the flesh and your true identity as a new creature in Christ. Faith, John tells us, "is the victory that overcomes the world" (1 John 5:4).

You see, you are a citizen of a new realm. As such, you must learn the customs and understand the language. In the kingdom of God, everyone believes what God says about them. When God speaks, His words create realities. Our faith accepts the grace and truth of God's Word and, in so doing, our lives are transformed.

Yes, we will still fail, but Christ is greater than our failings. True, we will still err, but in all things God works good. Indeed, we pass through hard experiences that God uses to transform us. (see Phil. 3:10), yet He also brings us through such things so we can possess eternal life!

Consider Paul's analysis of his personal journey:

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20).

Again, he wrote:

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16).

Let us ask ourselves: Is our spiritual consciousness focused upon what is outwardly "decaying" or are our hearts lifted to that part of us that is "being renewed day by day"? Are we living as mere men or as new creatures fashioned after the likeness of Christ? Would you agree that it is time to get over your identity crisis?

Lord, forgive me for dwelling in the basement of my old nature rather than the penthouse of Your love and promises. You have chosen me to reveal Your life; You've given me Your Holy Spirit and spoken to me through Your Word. I am Your child, born from above and destined to inherit Your glory. I worship You, my Lord and King.