Your TRUE Identity

Think of the Bible as the picture frame in which God stores the images He wants you to see.  How you view yourself, others, and the world are all captured in God’s picture frame of the Bible.  Now imagine that God has a big house where He hangs His favourite pictures.  YOU are one of the portraits He has hanging in His house.  He sees you as He created you to be and as He redeemed you to be through Christ our Lord.  Faith is the journey of bringing your daily self into alignment with His perfect picture of you. 
Your true self is not the person you see yourself to be.  The ancient prophet told Israel that we can’t trust our hearts to tell us the truth (Jeremiah 17:9).  The real you, as you were meant to be, is the person who was created in God’s image and then re-created in the likeness of Jesus Christ, the one and only source of personal transformation.  Your true self is not what others have told you to be.  Good or bad, or most likely a combination of the two.  You are not defined by either the tragedies or triumphs of your life.  You are not your dreams of who you want to be. 
You are a man or woman created in the image of God.  You are also a person made in the image of God who is lost, confused, and lonely.  You were born physically alive but spiritually dead because of your sin.  And your sin has separated you from God and thus from the source of your true self as you were designed to be.  Only in repentance and faith can you begin the journey of piecing yourself back together as prescribed in the Bible. 
One of the reasons that Jesus came to live among us was to show us what life was meant to be in God’s original design.  Of course, He came to be the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  When you come to Him as your Saviour, He makes you a new creation.  As I like to quote, “the saving of a soul is the miracle of a moment but the making of a saint is the work of a lifetime.”  The forgiveness of our transgressions takes place in an instant by the mercy of God.  But turning us into fully matured sons and daughters of God, takes much longer time. 
For me it’s a simple formula to find my way to the person I was created to be by the Mighty God of the universe.  I have to learn from Jesus while living in relationship with Jesus (my definition for discipleship).  His Word, the Bible, is the source of renewing my mind, and the Holy Spirit is the source of transforming my heart.  The new you, the real you and the only you that will experience abundant life, is the person that follows after Jesus. 
The Bible promises personal transformation into the whole and healthy person you were meant to be.  But it takes faith, work, and time to see the results that are promised so that the life you now live in the flesh you live by faith in the Son of God.  It is no longer you but Him.
This Sunday I will continue the series I started last week.  I can’t wait to show you the personality anchors in the life of Jesus that made Him the perfect example of God’s new humanity.  Join us at 9AM or 11AM.
Praying with you and for you church family,
Pastor Deric

Picture Frames and Maps!

Understanding how personal identity is formed is a key component in the healthy development of human personality.  Up until 100-150 years ago society at large understood “self” to be shaped externally, i.e., identity was derived.  Historically a person’s sense of identity was grounded in commonly held objective categories such as gender, class, age, race, ethnicity, and religion.  A simplified list to be sure, but you get the point.  The world has adopted a whole new way of viewing personal identity.  The new normal is best summarized in a quote from the 20th century French philosopher and activist Michel Foucault, “We have to CREATE OURSELVES as a work of art.”  Our world has fully imbibed the idea that identity is what you create for yourself.  From a Biblical perspective this ideological change can simply be viewed as the world re-framing its understanding of itself, of humanity.  It’s the world being the world!  No surprise there.  And no insult intended.  At least the world is being true to itself. 

BUT a recent Barna survey found that 91% of adults and 76% of practicing Christians agreed with this statement, “The best way to find yourself is by looking WITHIN  YOURSELF.”1  Now that’s a SHOCKER because the Christian worldview has always been derived from sources other than ourselves.  The world creates its own identity according to its own pleasure.  We derive our identity from our Heavenly Father, Creator of all things. 

What could possibly go wrong with a Christian shaping their identity according to human understanding and wisdom?  What is so dangerous about “following one’s own heart” on any given matter?  How could it possibly be wrong to “follow one’s dreams?”  These and other questions will be addressed in my new sermon series that starts this Sunday.  I will be addressing several key concepts like identity, gender, sexuality, pluralism, and spirituality especially as they relate to the Gospel in general and you, the Christian believer in particular. 

My audience is YOU.  Christian members of City Centre Baptist Church.  I want to help you address some of the most pressing ideas being championed in our world.  My passion as your pastor is to “build believers by the Book” which is another way of saying that my goal as a Bible teaching pastor is to assist you in carefully building a Biblical worldview.  I think about “worldview” as the FRAME through which you see the world.  Picture frames capture the images and values that shape our lives.  The pictures they contain reveal who we are and what we love the most.  I just did a quick sweep of my office and counted at least 25 frames.  From family pictures to special memories to a giant portrait of an eagle (painted by a beloved member of our church, Jim Thompson).  Our picture frames define our lives. 

I also like the way that Dr. Gordon Carkner (UBC) defines worldview.  He calls it a MAP for understanding the world and then asks the clarifying question, “Which worldview makes the best sense of the evidence for the problem before us?”

I have two aims in this new sermon series.  The first, as always, is to be faithful to the teaching of the Bible.  The second is to show you that the only path to the abundant life promised by Jesus is by framing your mind and shaping your life according to His teachings. 

I’m so excited to start our new series, “The Gospel and Culture: Prepared to Answer.”  See you Sunday at 9AM or 11AM.  Don’t forget to register.  Space is limited. 

Pastor Deric


1“The State of Discipleship: A Barna Report Produced in Partnership with The Navigators”,, 2015