My name is Keith Giles. I love to write so that people can know Jesus and experience His life in their own.
So, I started this blog to help people understand who Jesus is, and how He reveals what the Father is really like.
This is a safe place to talk about all those questions you've had about the Bible, and Christianity. It's also a place to learn how to put the words of Jesus into practice.
Friday, May 03, 2013
MY SECRET IDENTITY
I’ve come to realize that I have an ongoing conflict
within myself. Part of me wrestles with pride and self-love while another part
of me wallows in self-loathing. So, my pendulum swings between these two
extremes. Either I feel an inflated sense of self, or I beat myself up for not
being a better person.
If I’m prideful then I hate myself for being so full of
myself. If I feel sorry for myself then I hate the fact that I have given in to
these feelings of self-doubt.
Then the cycle repeats.
Self-love or self-doubt. Bravado or pity. Pride or
condemnation. Those are my choices. I either compensate for my feelings of
inadequacy by telling myself I’m better than I really am, or I beat myself up
for being too self-absorbed. Where do I find the balance? How do I change this
inner struggle? How do I rewrite the script that continually plays in my head
over and over again?
I recently began reading a book about self-image.
Specifically, about how our identity is wrapped up in Christ. Not all of it was
great. In fact, a lot of it really didn’t click at all for me. But what God did
show me was significant and important.
Identity has always been a fascination of mine. It’s why
I love the books I love. It’s why I love the movies I love. If I listed them
for you now you’d see what I mean. The point is that the question I’ve been
asking all this time is, “Who am I?” and deep down, deeper than I’ve known
until now, the other question I’ve been asking is, “Who is God?”
Frankly, answering the question, “Who is God?” is easier
for me to answer than “Who am I?”, as crazy as that sounds. I’ve never doubted
God. Not in the sense that I’ve doubted His existence. Truthfully. I can
remember being a little boy and talking to God, thinking about Him, reasoning out
how He could have created everything without needing to be created Himself,
praying to Him for help, promising Him that I would be a preacher if He would
put my parents back together again. All of these things took place years before
I formally went forward and surrendered my life to Him. I have always felt Him
near me. So finding out who God was and is has never been that much of a
struggle for me.
But finding out who I am? That’s another story. In fact,
I think it’s difficult for most of us. We can tell people our name, and our
address, and where we’re from, and what our hobbies are, and who we love, but
none of us can accurately answer the question, “Who are you?” Because my name,
and my address, and my hobbies, and my job, and my associations do not define
me. They are all things that exist outside of me, they are not me.
What I learned from reading this book was this very
simple truth: “To know myself I have to know God, and to know God I have to
know myself.” In other words, my identity is revealed in Christ when Christ is
revealed in me. Jesus put it this way:
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself,
and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will
lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it
profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a
man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26)
Denying myself is part of finding myself revealed in
Christ. It’s more than simply saying “no” to my sinful desires. It’s also about
giving up on defining myself. In other words, I am not who I pretend to be. I
am not who you think I am. I am not who others tell me I am. I am only who
Jesus reveals me to be.
So, letting go of my ideas about who I should be and
embracing the person that God made me to be allows the veil to be removed from
my eyes. Losing my life allows me to find my true self hidden in Christ, where
I have been all along.
At the same time, I have to fully embrace the person that
God has made me to be. For a long time now I’ve been hiding from my true
self. I have a teaching gift yet I often
sit quietly in the background and let others talk. Yet, God made me to be a
teacher. That’s part of my identity. To deny that is to deny my true self.
All of this takes me back to when I was five years old,
laying on my bunk bed in the dark, whispering to God from my heart of
simplicity. The more I shared my heart with God, the more God revealed His
heart to me. It takes me back to sitting in my closet and pouring out my soul
to God as a teenager. This is a relationship. The more I know God, the more He
allows me to know my true self.
Over time I think I’ve forgotten how to let God love me
like that. I’ve become so used to pretending to be the person I think I’m
supposed to be that I’ve been hiding my true self from Him. I’ve been rolling
over in the darkness when He calls my name. I’ve been going through the motions
instead of coming before Him just as I am; simply trusting that He will love me
because of who He is.
The beautiful truth is, He just wants me to know Him. He really
wants to show me who I am, too. The more I open my heart to Him, the more I
know Him, and the more He reveals myself to me.
One of my favorite promises in scripture is found in
Revelation 2:17 where Jesus promises that one day He will give each of us a
white stone, and on that stone is written a new name. It is a unique name that
Jesus has already picked out for each of us individually. He tells us that no
one will know that name except the two of us. It’s a special secret name that
reveals our true identity through His eyes.
I can’t wait for Jesus to drop that white stone into my
open hand. I can’t wait to turn it over and to read that secret name etched
there by His own hand.
I am only who I am when He whispers that name to me.