In an article entitled “Reframe your Identity and Have a Self-Revolution” a popular online life coach says: “Your self-identity is your sense of who you are and what you stand for. It’s the foundation for all the decisions you make in life… People behave in accordance with their identity. If you want to change your behavior and how you feel, change the beliefs you hold about yourself.”
This statement is profoundly true as far as it links human behavior to an underlying “sense of identity”. It is less true, or at least not applicable (if you are a Christian), in its suggestion that you can choose how to “reframe” your identity. For believers the reframing has already happened.
According to the New Testament, the Christian’s task is not to work towards an identity, but to come to terms with an existing one. It never suggests that we must become something. Rather, it paints a magnificent and mind boggling picture of who we already are in Christ.
The only “reframing” in Scripture is the ongoing task of renewing our minds in accordance with our identity in Christ. We are not becoming. We are learning who we are.
Perhaps this has been the institutional church’s biggest error: Portraying the Christian life as something that we need to “make happen”. This has not produced the joyful community of brothers and sisters, living by the glorious life of Jesus Christ within, that we read about in the Bible. Rather, it has produced a performance driven, guilt-ridden and oftentimes-judgmental society that has regularly alienated their own children and the lost world around them.
In the final analysis, it all boils down to the startling difference between the efforts of the flesh (I must) and the accomplishment of the Spirit (He has).