This question has brought about philosophical debate for centuries. Most recently, it’s a subject found in self-help books. The answer may lead you down paths of how to improve self-esteem, self-worth, self-discovery. The attempt here is to ultimately feel secure about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with feeling secure, good about yourself, and worthy. So, why tackle the question in this blog? Because, I believe, the very answer to this question helps us to better understand our behavior, emotions, and spiritual connection to God.
The foundation on which I counsel is based on the answer to the question of who we are. Following is a condensed version of this foundation.
We can break the course of humanity into 3 stages: The Garden of Eden, The Fall, and The Restoration.
The Garden of Eden: Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, with perfect flesh, and a perfect union and intimacy with God.
The Fall: Adam and Eve sinned and turned away from God, resulting in a fallen world, fallen flesh (bodies and minds), and fallen union with God. Relation with God was attainable through a very strict set of rules and laws.
The Restoration: Christ died for our sins, to restore our union with God. So, as Christians, we live in the still-fallen world, our still-fallen flesh, and yet have a spiritual restoration with God! Romans 8:5 speaks to this: “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” And, Romans 8:11 ” If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
As Christians we have a new identity. Romans 8:14 (ESV), “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
How does this apply to counseling? Our sinful nature (negative behaviors/thoughts) no longer needs to be our identity. Our true identity is as sons (and daughters) of God. Will we struggle with our sinfulness? Yes. But, with the power of the Holy Spirit now in us, we can combat this sinful nature. When we think ourselves as failures, we need not take ownership of that lie. The God who dwells in you and created you did not produce a failure. He IS perfect, right?!!!! When we fall in sin just one more time, we no longer identify ourselves with that sin. It is the flesh nature (sin nature) within you.
In counseling, we address the issues/conflict/problems resulting from still living in the flesh, with the goal focused on helping you tap into the power of the Spirit within you, while living out the fruits of the Spirit in the midst of the problem.
Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have been renewed as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). Wow, talk about an amazing privilege and blessing!