The Jesus Identity
(a journal entry written in 2007)
Over the past few months I have seen a series of movies based on the Jason Bourne books. This man, by his own choice, was stripped of his identity, of his memory, of his old self ,and trained to be a ruthless killer, ruthlessly obedient to an organization, a government, a cause.
Now he wants to go back. He doesn’t want to be a killer any more, he wants to escape his new identity and remember who he was before he was brainwashed into being Jason Bourne. He does not want to kill, and yet it is what he does automatically, instinctively, seemingly without thought or intention, because this is what he has been trained to do. And now he must fight his way back to a place where he can unlearn who he has been made to be.
Is there not something here that I must learn from Jesus?
I had an old IN Adam identity. But it was never my true intended identity. I was made in the image of God, and so my real name, and my true nature, only He knows. I know now that I must go to Him to find it out.
But I too, like Jason Bourne, have found myself awake and alive in a false identity that IS NOT ME. I will call it the flesh, since it is not me, and yet I seem as hopelessly linked to it as I am to my own body. I cannot seem to remember who I was made to be. I know that it is not this flesh, but I have not yet discovered, or remembered, WHO I really AM.
Along comes Jesus, and He offers me His cross. This cross is the place, He says, where you go free from the old identity: the brainwashed self. This is the place where the ruthless killer goes to die. In Jesus, on His cross, my flesh is dealt with through crucifixion, and in His resurrection I am raised and I am given that New Identity that I was always intended to have, my Child of God self. (John 1:12-13)
The identity that was forced on me at birth, in Adam, was a son of disobedience, a child of wrath, (Eph. 2:1-3) and yet as I grew up into this world system, I chose to live out of this identity. I chose to be brainwashed in Adam. It was all that I knew, because it was what I was trained to do. Even though I received Jesus into my heart at only 6 years old and was granted a death of my old self, and resurrection life in a new identity, I still learned to play by this worlds’ rules, to survive as best I knew how, without enjoying or accessing the life of Christ I already had in me.
In my first six years, I learned to operate out of the fleshly identity, to move effortlessly through life wounding those around me as I went, for my own protection and benefit. Just as Jason Bourne would, without a thought, break a policeman’s arm and render him unconscious to subdue him to his purpose and his will, I too, in Adam, learned to wound and parry and defend myself from rejection and hurt directed at me by those in Adam around me. Like him, I was desperate to survive, and so I did what I had to do: a ruthless killer in the flesh.
Even after age six when I received a new identity in Jesus, I did not know that I had everything I needed inside me already: a spiritual Source of healing and life and protection and strength that makes all my fleshly efforts to protect myself and meet my needs irrelevant. Even though I was a Child of God now, with a new identity in Jesus, I acted out the part I had been trained to play by the world, the flesh and the devil. I guess that “spirit that was at work in the sons of disobedience”(eph. 2:1) trained me too well in those first six years before I came to know Jesus, and I kept following the initial training program, like Jason Bourne. I kept on walking after the flesh, protecting myself to meet my own needs, and expending myself in effort after effort on an endless quest to discover who I was, to gain significance, worth, an identity. Like Jason Bourne, I did not like it one bit, and so I understood that bitter smirk of desperation and determination he wore on his face through every movie.
But now, after allowing me 30 plus years of walking in that old identity, of plan after plan laid down to finally prove who I was and get to the bottom of this mystery of life, Jesus has finally awakened me to my new identity in Him, and I find that it is a GIFT, not a plan, not an accomplishment of mine, not even a martial arts self defense move. I have been this new person, yet I did not know it. I have, from the day of my salvation, always had this Child of God spirit living in me, joined to His Spirit, but I did not know it.
I wanted to know it, but my old programming in the flesh told me that it was impossible, too good to be true, a pipe dream (it still does tell me this). “God can’t be that good, He’s not that generous. He must be like the people that you have known, demanding, incredibly high expectations, and no help for it. The world doesn’t operate on Grace (a gift system), it operates on the law of my behavior. If I can get it right, then everything will be allright. If I can’t, then . . . all hell breaks loose.” And the vicious world around me still whispers that “life is hard, and you have to try hard or you’ll be destroyed. You have to live like Jason Bourne, in a desperate plight, always running, always protecting yourself, always scheming.”
But God has revealed something different to my heart, through His Word, and his words whispered gently into my innermost being.
“It is the Spirit who GIVES life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” John 6:63
Can this be true? Ask yourself. Is Real Life, life as God lives it (ZOE) a gift and not the result of my own effort?
I used to think that God would never show me what He had in mind when He created me.
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 cor. 2:9
I wondered if I could ever love Him enough, and I thought I had to be content with this mystery of never knowing.
But then a friend told me to read the next verse. “10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”
Now I believe that He has already revealed everything that I need to know, in my heart, in my Spirit, and that He will unfold it to me as I need to know. He will reveal my new identity, and yours, as we go “for we have the mind of Christ.”
Perhaps the first thing He reveals is that my love can never be enough, because it can only be a response to Him, who IS LOVE. (1 John 4:10)
It is good to know that I am not like Jason Bourne anymore. I’m not a man, living alone and uncertain of who I am, constantly haunted by memories of what I have done and dogged by assassins who would kill me to fulfill their purposes. I am now the Beloved of God. I have received complete forgiveness for all that I have ever done, or will ever do. I no longer have to live in guilt. I am free. I no longer have to react out of my old training. It is no longer kill or be killed for me. I know who I am, and I’m receiving new insight, and new orders to obey from a Lord who loves me deeply and not only has my ear (those little ear buds are a dead give away aren’t they?) but has my heart in his hands. (Ezek 36:26ff).
In fact, according to God, I now have a totally new identity in HIS SON. I have the Jesus Identity. I am His and He is mine. I have become a member of his body, able to work perfectly as He directs. moving flawlessly, effortlessly as His very life expressed in this world. I thank God that I can discover that my role is not kill or be killed, but love my enemies and bless those who persecute me. Though to the flesh this seems impossible, with my new Identity, it is the only natural thing to do. Now He is my righteousness, my wisdom, and my redemption. (1 Cor:1:30) and so, like Paul, I can say that I’m “a special agent for God, in Christ Jesus.” (eph. 1:1 Message) Unlike Jason Bourne, I’m not trapped in the web of a hopelessly corrupt government program called Treadstone, I’m part of a special task force that God has appointed to make the life of His Son known in this world, and I rejoice in following the impulse of His Love in me
14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer 17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:14-21).
Did you know that you died with Jesus on the cross? I believe that this is what Paul is saying here about your identity as a believer. Do you know that your death made possible the coming of a new resurrected life in you? So, do you regard yourself or your fellow believers according to the flesh any longer? I hope not. Rejoice with me, for if you have received Jesus and all that He has done for you, you are a new creation. You have a new Identity, and I do to. Because He became sin (v.21) we have become the Righteousness of God in Him. If you don’t believe that, then you don’t believe that God did what He said He did on the Cross, and you’ll just have to go on trying to live out the Bourne Identity in Adam. I’m done with that though, because even though it can seem exciting for a while to be always on the run, always trying hard to make it work, it wears you out, and in the end it hurts too much. God is calling us to something so much better, a life filled with joy. I’m ready to live this Jesus Identity. I hope that you are too.