Monday, October 22, 2007

Self Perceptions and Deceptions

All too often we, as human beings, confuse "what" we are with "who" we are. For example, think about virtually any social setting in which you are in a room of people you do not know. When pleasantries are exchanged and introductions are made, what is the first question asked? You got it - "What do you do for a living?"

And, as frustrating as that can be, there's hardly a way around that question, as insignificant or unimportant it may be in the grand scheme of things. I guess we ask that question because we're fishing for common ground, and it's a less threatening question than, "Have you ever been arrested?"

But, as platonic as the "What do you do?" question can seem, the danger of that question being repeated is that we begin to adopt "what we do" as our identity. It becomes a label. "That's the mortgage guy." or "You know Jim. He's the guy who cleans gutters and pressure washes houses." Or, "She's the stay at home mom who is the President of the PTSA." Labels.

In a sense, others' perceptions of who we really are can be considered cases of mistaken identity. But, this becomes even more problematic when we are the ones short-changing ourselves and begin a pattern of self-deception. Nowhere is this more of a threat than in the spiritual realm.

Our enemy taunts us and convinces us to believe the worst about ourselves. When we make mistakes, he reminds us how flawed we are. When we make poor moral choices, he shames us. He entices us to beat ourselves up. He urges us to eliminate and disqualify ourselves from being in the game. Before we know it, we identify ourselves as "sinner." And, when this happens, he accomplishes his goal.

As followers of Christ, we have a new identity that Satan cannot remove - child of God. This is the true identity that we must embrace. In times when we fall short, this is what we have to cling onto. Without this identity, we are everything Satan tells us we are.

We all will make stupid decisions, poor choices, and use bad judgment. In those instances, the enemy will be looking for the upper hand. We can deny him this opportunity by remembering who we REALLY are, and to whom we belong.

Don't fall into the pit of mistaken identity.

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