YOUR TRUE IDENTITY –Case Study Part 1a

Introduction

Personal identity has been discussed for a long time. Questions like “Who am I? What am I? When did I begin?” occur to nearly all of us now and again. In Part1 of this case study we will explore the subject of identity and look at how it is formed and affected. In Part 2 we will reflect on the various ways people seek to identify themselves and suggest a process people can follow to find their true identity.

What is identity?

Identity is nothing more than a person’s perception of who they think they are. It is the way a person defines themselves, which is driven by their beliefs and values. Identity in most cases is self-defined, however for some people their need to belong and be valued results in them looking up to others to determine who they are.

How is identity formed?

When a baby is born, it is not conscious of who he or she is. In the formative years, ages 0-5 years, a child is like a sponge which soaks up everything in its environment.

In most cases the opinions and actions of our parents, guardians and teachers as the primary nurturers go a long way to shape our personal belief of who we are, what we can do and our self-worth.

Children who are often praised by their parents will learn to love themselves and be more confident compared to children who have experienced rejection or abandonment.

Additionally, external influences shapes children’s perception of who they think they are, as well as the image they want to project. These influences come in the form of anything or anyone who has the power to affect the mental picture children or people have of themselves. This could be siblings, classmates, a bully in school, TV programmes, chat sites and social networking sites like facebook etc…

Let me give what initially looks like a harmless example – sibling rivalry where one sibling is trying to assert themselves over the other or competing for the attention, love, acceptance of the parents. It is not uncommon to find siblings say really hurtful things to each other. The case is worsened when the child in an attempt to fit in with his or her classmates in school finds they have to give in to the pressure of dressing, behaving, talking in a particular way so as to gain acceptance.

CASE STUDY no. 1

What other people say about us? – Hurtful Words

Lisa overheard a boy in her class Grade 6 say to his friend who teasing him about her “Ugh, no way! I would not be caught dead with her. She is so fat and her legs are like big sausages.” From that time onward, Lisa became so conscious of herself. She would always dress in clothing one size bigger to cover her shape and long flowing skirts or trousers so as not to show her legs. Lisa never wore sleeveless tops for fear her arms would show. Every day she would look at herself in the mirror and she would hear the words of Stuart whom she really liked. She started spending more time at home either in front of the TV or on online chatting sites, pretending to be someone she was not.

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New Year Resolutions. What will yours be?

As we are approaching the end of another year in our lives, for many of us, we will probably be reflecting on how we have shaped up in our personal, spiritual or emotional development as individuals.  It is usually a time when we begin to mull over various New Year resolutions that we want to keep.  In these present times of uncertainty and turmoil in today’s world, it is important to ask ourselves where we are, where we want to be, and more importantly, how we want to get there. What role do I have in society, and how can I influence society with what I have been given by God; my skills, talents, possessions, abilities, etc? Of course, all these will mean nothing, if love is not the number one priority i.e. love for God, and for each other. As they say, love conquers all, and loving our Maker and each other is the foundation of who we really are.

So in the last days of 2011, take some time out to reflect and review who you are, and what your current position is in your world.  Identify the positive and negative things in your life and how these affect you and others, and resolve, in 2012, to take positive and practical steps to seek renewed approaches for living, that will make a positive impact in your environment e.g. home, work, place of worship, etc. I would suggest adopting the template of the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23) – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Explore, Meditate and discipline yourselves around these principles, and you will gain new ground to your progression in life. I’ll be doing the same.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year 2012 full of His endless mercies, peace and love.  Never give up and keep on keeping on!

Ade Fashade

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Born Free

I have been meditating on the book of Romans in the Bible. For those who have not really looked at the book in close quarters, they are the Apostle Paul’s letters to the Romans. Here, explains in full, what it means to be justified and be free to claim and establish your identity as God’s own child. Being trully free to live the identity that has been bought through the blood of God’s Son Jesus who died for you, means no one can condemn you or defeat you. The best verse for me comes in Romans 8 verse 1, which proclaims that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. This is where true identity really begins. Don’t let the world condemn and control you. Allow the true source of power and divinity flow through you and drive you forward to the real purpose you are called to fulfill. Your worldy identity leads to decay and death. Your new and heavenly identity is accepting Jesus as your Guiding Spirit, your Counsellor, to guide you in a world that is influenced by deceit, lies and decadence from Satan himself . Your identity in Christ allows you to stand out and stand tall – and be free from sin and death.
I urge you to take a look at the book of Romans, especially chapter 8. You will come to know that to be born free of condemnation is to claim your true identity and to be free indeed!

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Exploring the principles of creation

The book of Genesis begins with the account of creation – how God recreated the earth out of nothing, without form and empty and dark. Subsequent verses reveal how God used words to bring into existence things that were invisible. The writer of Hebrews puts it thus: Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.                      

An interesting and very important concept is revealed through careful examination of this very first chapter in the book of beginnings. After creating the day and night by separating light from darkness, and the atmosphere by separating the waters from the waters, and land and seas; from verse 11 God began to create living things.

Let us look closely to see if we can recognise a particular trend or principle established by God during creation.

Genesis 1:11 – Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”. So God spoke to the earth when He made plants, so the source of plants, trees, herbs etc is earth! Therefore plants are made up of 100% earth.

Genesis 1:20 – Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens” Again all fishes and sea creatures and birds were sourced from the waters.

Genesis 1:24 – Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth” 

We see here that all kinds of animals that dwell on land were sourced from the earth and are made up of earth. No wonder the science of nutrition finally discovered that protein from fish and birds (water as source) are healthier than that from animals (earth as source).

Now let us examine the case of man or humans.

Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them..”  Wow! What a distinction! God turned around and spoke to Himself when He decided to create humans, clearly making Him the source of human beings. Human beings are therefore 100% God! God is a spirit (John 4:24) and we are therefore spirits. God gave us His attributes, to be able to rule and reign on earth as He rules and reigns in heaven, effectively making us His representatives on earth, with a mandate to replicate the order of heaven here on earth. No wonder Jesus taught us to pray: thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Human beings are the only creation that God equipped with the freedom of choice (like Himself), with unique endowments like self-awareness, conscience, imagination and independent will. Human beings can initiate like God, create, lead, rule and succeed in whatever they put their minds to. So the only authentic source of our true identity is God. “I said ye are gods, and all of you children of the most high.. but they know not, neither do they understand.. therefore they die like mere men”

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The best work of Art? You are!

The Best Work of Art? You are!
On the way to work last week at Liverpool street station, I had a bit of time to kill. I sat down and watched the overflow of human traffic on the crowded platforms. My eyes were focused on the many sad faces and sagging bodies dragging themselves across the platforms, clearly weighed down by the worries and strains of everyday living, and the pressure of self-existence. I suddenly found myself asking; do these people, really know who they are? Have they discovered that they are, in fact, God’s best Work of Art on the planet? Or are they still searching for that so-called elusive answer to the meaning of life and going nowhere fast?
In the very first book in the Bible, God declared ‘Let us make human beings to be like us… So God made human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them’. This was after He had created the sea, sky, land, animals and everything else. Clearly all these were not enough for the Artist, so He reserved the best for the last. The Creator God reserved the very best display and made you and me. His investment did not end there. Generations later, we are reminded in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, of the ‘incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms’. Wow! The same power that God displayed in raising Jesus and defeating death is the very same power within those who accept Him as their Creator. This same life-giving power reserved for His only Son, He has placed inside us. He has literally identified Himself with us.
In the world we live in, our perspective on identity are mistakenly embedded into the world’s standards, into belief systems and socio-political and economic structures created by the many ‘gods’ of earth. However, the only true way of discovering self is to discover and accept Him and what He has done for us. From them on, we can lay claim to be able to operate in His likeness and adopt the full power He has invested in us. The challenge for us is that we must first submit and decide who is in control of shaping our identity, God or ourselves.
I wish my fellow commuters in Liverpool Street station can discover what God has invested in them so that they come to know who they are and be transformed into wonderful and powerful work of heavenly artistry on earth! Heads will be held high, and we can truly love, talk and walk ‘in His image’.

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Self-esteem, key to respectful living.

Esteem means respect and admiration, typically of a person.

Self-esteem therefore is to have a proper respect for oneself as a human being, deferential regard for one’s own standing or position.

We have probably heard the axiom that ‘respect is reciprocal’ which means that when respect is shown; it is also deserved in return. So if you are respectful, then you automatically qualify for respect.

What happens when you don’t have respect for yourself, when you don’t regard your own standing or position in life? A poor self esteem will adversely affect your value of or respect for others.

Whether you have self-esteem or not will be reflected in the way you carry yourself, the way you dress, the way you speak etc. When you have truly discovered your value in Christ, then you will more easily appreciate and respect all His human creation.

It is easy for me to respect others because God has helped me to understand that I’m a person of high value, therefore I expect people that I come in contact with to show me respect. It is therefore actually easy for me to respect others, whether young or old, rich or poor, spiritual or carnal, tall or short, thin or fat. I have come to understand that every human being is valuable to God (his / her creator), therefore it would be wrong for me to hold a contrary view!

Let us search the scriptures diligently and affirm our position in God and how He sees us so we can receive a correct revelation of our self esteem, I believe this will help us to live respectful lives and show appropriate respect towards others.

Fearfully and wonderfully made… apple of God’s eyes… a treasure in earthen vessel… God is mindful of me

The above scriptures are but a few of the numerous assertions that God has made concerning our innate value in Him.

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