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Recovering from a bad case of mistaken identity

What do you do when you’ve become aware of the false self, when your discontent has risen to a place of critical mass?   Something has to change.  The danger is that we’ll settle for the easiest and least intrusive of changes – changing what we do instead of changing who …
By Seth Barnes




What do you do when you’ve become aware of the false self, when your discontent has risen to a place of critical mass?
 


Something has to change.  The danger is that we’ll settle for the easiest and least intrusive of changes – changing what we do instead of changing who we are.  Changing what we do can happen in a day, it’s as easy as switching lists.  Changing who we are, in contrast, is an enormously complex and time-intensive task.

Many of us have bought the religious urban legend that if you “accept Jesus into your heart,” everything changes.  It’s true, he may change much about your life; your attitude, for example may change on a dime.  You may have hope where before you were hopeless.  You may become thankful  whereas before your friends saw you as cynical.  The subject matter you talk about may change.

But so many of your habits and your broken character will only change as a result of your conscious effort and Holy Spirit’s power over many months.  That’s where there is no substitute for discipleship.  Jesus will unlock the prison doors that have kept you incarcerated for years, but you have to step through those doors into freedom.

Let’s suppose, for example, that you have developed a reputation for not being dependable.  You may not even perceive the way that it hurts your relationships with your friends; you may perceive yourself as spontaneous, the life of the party.  But those who love you may be struggling with the question, “How do I tell Joe how much he hurts me when he breaks his commitments?”

Jesus may give you the desire to restore you broken relationships and the Holy Spirit may show you where you’ve hurt people, but you have to open your mouth and apologize.  You have to make yourself accountable if you want to change your bad habit of being undependable.  You’ll have to start by becoming more aware of the times when you actually make a commitment.  You may then write down the promise you made.  And, newly aware of your own weakness, you may need to make yourself accountable to a friend to follow through on your promise.
 
Many of us are victims of a bad case of mistaken identity. We’ve become this shabby little false self and feel claustrophobic inside ourselves. The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Jesus specializes in jailbreaks. It can start today. But recognize that it will take time and it will take a great deal of honesty.
 
And the even better news is that freedom is worth it. “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” You were meant to live without all the BS. It’s a glorious thing to live beyond the grip of pretense. Why not start living the life that God intended for you today?

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