Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Identity Defined by the Word

Contra to Joel Osteen and most American pop-psychology, having proper self image is not just pumping up "self esteem," but instead believing both the good and bad of God's proclamation about who we are.  I like and agree with what Jared Wilson said at You Are Who God Says You Are (is Not Osteenism):
We are who God says we are.

Does that sound like Joel Osteen to you? Whenever I say something along those lines, someone asks me if I'm not just dipping into the shallow dredge of self-esteem. But no. When I want to know who I am, I dip into the well of the external word in the gospel. God declares me a sinner deserving of hell. Nobody can say anything worse to me than this, really. God declares me a beloved child, a joint-heir with his Son, and eternally secure to future glorification with Him. Nobody can say anything better to me than this.

Cornelius Plantinga says, "We are redeemed sinners. But we are redeemed sinners."

Because of Christ, I am free to confess that I am a sinner deserving the wrath of God but I am also free from both sin and wrath. Why do some Christians think that to seek our identity in Christ, the way the Scriptures say we ought to, is thinking too much of ourselves? Why are they afraid to trust what God says about them? When God says to his people, "whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye" (Zech. 2:8), am I to think he doesn't mean it? Why ought we to side with the devil in accusing ourselves as if the gospel is not true? As Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, we need to stop listening to ourselves and start talking to ourselves!
 So today I am going to echo God's word abut me and talk to myself!  How about you?