Identity and Unity

by Judith MacNutt
2019 Vol. 01

All of us have different identities or roles in life. When I’m with my parents I am their child. When I’m with my husband, I am a wife. When I’m with my kids, I am the mother. These are healthy roles and identities. Some people have a strong sense of who they are in Christ, and others have lost their sense of true identity. This state of being is what we call living out of the false self.

The true self is created by God. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:13)

Jesus is our example of someone living out of the true self. Everything in Jesus’ character — his integrity, honesty, courage, commitment and obedience — all demonstrate that he is authentic. He is original and pure and holy! As a believer, you have the Spirit of Jesus within you. The Holy Spirit working within you is going to bring you out of your false self into authenticity. This is good news! The church needs to proclaim not only that your sins are forgiven, cleansed and you are restored, but that the Holy Spirit leads you on from the point of salvation and transforms you to be like Jesus. This is your destiny.

Think for a moment about who has been the most authentic person in your life. You can sit in his or her presence and feel loved and accepted. You can look at them and see the heart of Jesus. That is the way I am with my husband. Never in all our years of marriage has he looked at me with judgment or criticism. That kind of love makes me feel secure and that is the way I think we are meant to be for each other.

The enemy, though, may whisper lies to you. "No one cares about you, no one loves you, no one understands you." We can help break the power of these lies by speaking words of affirmation and love to one another. When I sit down to pray with someone, I ask the Lord to give me his eyes — to enable me to see the person as he created them. He promises that God’s love for that person will be poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)

I often encounter people who have no sense of their true self. I once talked with a woman who was in major beauty pageants, like Miss America. She had no clue how beautiful she was. I would ask, “Do you know how beautiful you are? You have the loveliest eyes; they just sparkle, and they bring such life.” As we met together over time, she began to grow into her true identity.

In Luke Chapter 8 we read the story of Jesus healing the demoniac. Here is a man who has been sent away from his community. He is living in the tombs. He is chained hand and foot and kept under guard. He is naked, and he is bleeding because he cuts himself. Often he had broken his chains and the demons had driven him into solitary places. When he was delivered from the demons, not only was he healed, but Jesus sent him back home, restored to his community and family.

Satan drives us into isolation, but healing is very relational. All healing brings us into relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit and the community of believers.

Sometimes in the church we think judgment and criticism will get us to a place of unity and reconciliation within a community. As Jesus taught us, only love will bring transformation, not judgment. When we hear someone referred to as a “Pharisee” we often think of someone who is self–righteous. This word actually means a hypocrite or an actor (someone wearing a mask). When I was in college the self–help book craze was huge. Many books told us how to be ourselves and remove the masks we hide behind. I read many of them, yet they certainly didn’t help me to change! What helped me was the Holy Spirit healing me and leading me to find wholeness and my authentic self.

In Matthew 6, Jesus warns us not to role–play before God.

  Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role–play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. — Matthew 6:6, The Message  

In the beautiful prayer in John 17 Jesus prays: 

  Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. — vs 11, 23, NIV  

When I was a girl, I was part of a church that split. The split wasn’t over moral failure or scandal, it was because some didn’t like how fast the hymns were sung! This church division felt like a divorce because we loved the people in that church. The Holy Spirit is working toward unity in the church, not division. Always consider that Satan will move you toward isolation and the Holy Spirit will move you into relationship. In our personal lives, the Holy Spirit brings us into unity with God himself. Then he moves us toward unity within the body of Christ. We are meant to walk into and enjoy our personal freedom, with the purpose of blessing others. You are meant to take your place in the body of Christ as a healer, a transformer and a lover of people.

Judith MacNutt Judith MacNutt is author, teacher, conference speaker and co–founder and president of CHM. 2019 Vol. 01