Value of Personal Authenticity vs. Identity In Christ

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So, why in the world would someone need to examine the traits of personal authenticity vs. the aspect of our identity in Christ Jesus? Don’t we want to be authentic people in all that we do? Shouldn’t we strive for authentic living in this world of ours? And, is personal authenticity something that is at odds with our identity in Christ?

I don’t think it has to be. As believers, we can live authentic lives as we accept the true identity of who we are in Christ, and what He has done for us – demonstrating personal authenticity within our Christian faith. Living authentically in our relationship with Jesus Christ is what the Christian life can offer us. If that authenticity is defined correctly within a relationship with Jesus Christ, then it’s a great thing.

The problem that seems to arise more and more in our culture is this:

Many people have defined personal authenticity as what they personally feel, think, and believe apart from using the standard of God’s word.

In much of our culture, even well-meaning persons can raise this false type of personal authenticity up to the place where it sometimes becomes the highest goal of personal and character values. However, if we are followers of Christ we need to be sure that we link personal authenticity to our relationship with, and identity in Christ Jesus.

Okay, if our goal is true authentic living as a part of God’s family, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through us, we might just need to define some simple terms.

Defining Authenticity

Well, let’s start with one of Mr. Webster’s definitions of the word “authentic.” It seems to fit in well with where we are going with this.

Authentic: “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.”

Okay. That definition seems to be one with which many in our culture will agree. It’s not a bad definition of the word- depending on how we interpret “personality, spirit, or character.” If we are going to talk about personality, then we will consider that as the behavioral and emotional characteristics that distinguish us as individuals.

Many of those characteristics come with us at birth simply as a part of our unique makeup. But, even among siblings when environmental factors are quite the same it’s easy to see how one child can be very outgoing and gregarious while another child will be more reserved or shy.

We’re operating on the principle here that says no one has a “perfect personality.” We are also coming from the belief that we are born into a spiritually fallen world (Romans 5:12), so, therefore, we can’t always trust our personality traits to lead us to the right and just actions and decisions.

So, how does that relate to personal authenticity?

Well, it’s fairly simple. Trying to be “authentic” becomes a problem when there are aspects of our personality that are not good, Godly, or not controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Let’s go back to the example of the siblings. Let’s say that one is quite an expressive extrovert – easily letting their thoughts and opinions known, while the other is an introvert – shy and withdrawn, rarely even stating their opinions.

An extremely extroverted person might sometimes be overly aggressive with their outgoing personality and state their opinions in a way that is uncaring, insensitive, and can hurt feelings.

You will find that this person may justify their words by saying, That’s just who I am. I call them as I see them. That’s just me. I tell it like it is! That’s my personality.” Or, they may state, “That’s just the way God made me.”

Here’s my opinion!
personal authenticity
No, here’s my opinion!

Well, certainly some people show up on planet earth with more outgoing and even aggressive personalities than others. And…we realize that anyone who has a Biblical worldview will offend people just by their belief system from time to time.

That’s not what we’re talking about here.

God’s intent for a person with a more outgoing or aggressive personality isn’t to constantly offend people.

Likewise, let’s look at someone who has the opposite personality traits. This person may make the mistake of not speaking up enough. They may lack the confidence that they need to speak up when they need to. So, this person can just sit back and let the world go by them and never stand up for their beliefs or values. They also can say, “That’s just my personality. It’s who I am.”

But IS the combination of our personality traits who we really are? Does living by your inherited or learned personality traits make you an authentic person? Not really. It’s deeper and more meaningful than just our personality traits. It’s easy to let false beliefs invade the deeper recesses of our personalities.

That’s why we need the ability to see things as God sees them. WHAT? That’s impossible! Yeah, on a certain scale it certainly is. But, as we engage in spiritual growth as believers we certainly learn more about how to see things as God sees them. That is a huge part of spiritual growth.

Look at what the Apostle, Paul has to say about having the mind of Christ.

For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

So, when it comes to WHO we really are as God’s children, as believers in Christ, it IS possible to embrace our true identity in Christ and embrace authentic living as God wants.

Our Personal Identity

I have never seen a point in my life where people are so overtly seeking and taking great delight in what they think is their identity. It’s not my goal here to be political, but when we look at the issue of identity we are unwise to ignore what is happening in our culture.

People are desperate for an identity. They want to find their identity, celebrate their identity, or find a new identity for themselves. And guess what? Wanting to establish your identity is not a bad thing! It’s only bad when we only rely on our own emotions and self-knowledge without trusting God for the truth of who we really are.

personal authenticity and our true identity

We can’t find identity in something that we’re not. We simply can’t “identify” as something that we’re not. It’s just not the way things are Biblically and in the realm of common sense.

I could let it be known tomorrow that I identify as an NFL quarterback with a 30 million dollar salary. I could get a jersey, pads, a helmet, and dress like an NFL quarterback. I could learn everything I possibly could about being an NFL quarterback.

However, nothing would make me an NFL quarterback. It’s not, and it will never be a reality no matter what I say. I can’t have an identity that is not based on truth or reality. To have genuine authenticity and live in our true identity it must be based on truth.

At this point, we could go on a tangent and talk about all sorts of ways that people try to falsely identify as people or as a part of a group. Maybe some other time. But right now let’s focus on the basics of learning and finding our foundational identity.

Author, Neil Anderson, wrote much about our incredible identity in Christ in “Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ.” 

Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ
  • Anderson, Neil T. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 06/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Bethany House Publishers (Publisher)

True Identity

The only way someone can live with personal authenticity is to know their true identity. That identity should be based on much more than the way we feel, our opinions, or our personal wants or desires. It has to be based on something more reliable than those things. At we look at the truth found in God’s word, the Bible, for an honest assessment of who we are.

Understanding our true identity in life can only come from knowing and understanding our relationship with our Creator.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ
  • Anderson, Neil T. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 06/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Bethany House Publishers (Publisher)

“Spiritually Alive” or “Spiritually Dead”

When we strip it down to the core we must look deeper than our personality to find an identity. We must look to the spiritual realm.

“For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24

We know that God wants to work in our minds, our bodies, our emotions, etc., but His first and foremost concern for us long-term is our spiritual condition. We basically checked into planet earth with a dead spirit.

Look at what the Apostle, Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth in the New Testament.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.

He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

Ephesians 2:1-5

Those believers at the church in Corinth were originally spiritually “dead” in their sins. However, they had accepted the message of Jesus Christ, believed in Him as their Savior, and were given true spiritual life.

That is the essence of our identity as Christians. No person, place, or thing with which we try to identify supersedes a Christ follower’s identity as a believer – a child of God.

personal authenticity by being born again

Born Again? Really…Come On Now…

Since we inherited the sinful nature of Adam we are spiritually dead. We have an incredible need to be brought to life spiritually. We need to become a “new creation.” When we use the term “born again” some think that it is some kind of right-wing talking point for those who have more conservative values than others.

However, Jesus saw that as being much more than a talking point when he was talking to an inquisitive Pharisee named Nicodemus.

“Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’”

John 3:6-7

If that phrase “born again” bothers you in any way, don’t let it. It is the doorway to your true identity. The writings of the holy scriptures (that have been preserved for centuries) teach us about the great love that God the Father has for the world. His love is personified by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ to the earth to live a perfect, sinless life, and suffered a cruel death on a Roman cross.

However, as you may know, that wasn’t the end of it. It was reported by hundreds of people that Jesus rose from the dead. The scriptures tell us that He has conquered death so that we can have new lives.

We can have eternal salvation, become a new creation, and live with the authenticity of one who has been forgiven and placed in right standing with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. We have the invitation to become a true child of God fully loved and fully embraced by the Creator of the universe.

…”just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:4

God offers us the greatest identity of all! He offers sonship, (daughters too, of course) – He offers right standing before God, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit to guide us while we are here on earth.

We come into this relationship with Jesus Christ by repenting (turning away from our sins) and accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, which puts us in right standing with God.

You literally get a “new identity” in Christ. He becomes your life. You become a part of the family of other believers and can approach God as your heavenly Father at any moment of the day or night.

Life in Christ becomes your true self. You’re no longer just dependent on human nature but on the one and only Son of God to work in your personal life. That is the life that God prepared for those of us who accept Christ and can be truly called children of God.

Displaying Personal Authenticity Within Our True Identity

So, it’s really not about personal authenticity vs. our true identity. It’s embracing our true identity in Jesus Christ and therefore, being a transparent and authentic person because of the life of Christ within you.

It’s an identity to be celebrated. It’s not one in which we should be arrogant because it’s not our good works or deeds that bring us into a relationship with Christ. It is by His love and His grace.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

The late author and teacher, Bill Gillham, spoke so clearly about our position in Christ, our identity in Christ, and the amazing things God has given us that we overlook so much of the time.

What God Wishes Christians Knew About Christianity
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Gillham, Bill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 07/01/1998 (Publication Date) - Harvest House Publishers (Publisher)

Embracing It All

So, how about your own life? Your own self? Are you dealing with identity problems? Have you been looking for your identity in the wrong places? Give God a chance. Consider what an identity in Christ can do for you!

You can live as one who has confidence as a new person in Jesus Christ!

Being an authentic person is not simply displaying the natural traits of your personality. Being authentic is believing what God says about you when you become a Christian.

There are so many great things that come with a relationship with Christ.

We Can Have Peace With God.

Peace is something for which we have an innate desire. However, real peace can only be found in the context of a relationship with our Creator.

Knowing that you can have peace and hope for the future is a wonderful part of being a Christian.

Scripture says that we can have a “peace that passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4:6)

Peace is something for which we have an innate desire. However, real peace can only be found in the context of a relationship with our Creator.

peace of God in personal authenticity

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:1-2

We Inherit the Righteousness of Christ

Although we aren’t made perfect in this life by becoming a Christian, our true self, our new self is made righteous in the sight of God.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

A Brand New Start

Giving your life to Jesus Christ and having a personal relationship with Him doesn’t mean that all of your problems on earth will magically go away. However, you will have a newness of life in that you can have a new beginning – with the new you – the real you – a true and loved child of God!

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Live Authentically in Christ

If you choose a relationship with Christ and lean on God’s word, you can live the most authentic life that is available. You will not only have a relationship with Christ but you will have Christ IN YOU through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit who is willing to guide you on a daily basis.

YES – you can be personally authentic. You can do so by giving your heart and life to Jesus Christ. Begin to search the scriptures found in the Bible. Living authentically in Christ is a life worth living.

For more info check out God’s plan of salvation here.

Blessings to you as you seek to live life to the fullest!

Other Resources:

The Bible at A Glimpse

Best Bible For Beginners

How To Worship God

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