Have You Forgotten Your Identity? {Because He Loves Me Book Study Week 2}

 

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith….For whoever lack these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleanse from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:5,9

I am a quote girl. I have this entire chapter heavily underlined, and so, instead of me trying to explain, I am just going to share what I am learning through meaningful quotes!

Take some time to really read these quotes and let them sink down deep.

Chapter 2 is called Identity Amnesia. What is that? 

The epidemic is seen is serious Christian book that focus on improving our outer behaviors such as communication skills or self-discipline, or even overcoming sin, without much reference to God’s love for us or his ongoing work in us. It’s seen in the hymns and choruses we sing in which we declare our determination to follow Christ without a mention of his determination to cause us to do so.” 

Even though we believe the gospel, the occasions in which the gospel (the incarnation, sinless life, death, bodily resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God) actually intersect and powerfully affect our daily life are infrequent.”

“We assent to these precious truths about Scripture but we frequently find ourselves living life like practical atheists.”

“How has the gospel defined and shaped you?”

“Most of us view God’s love and the gospel as elementary topics meant to get us in the front door of faith, and they are that. But we’ve forgotten how these truths are also to transform us every moment of every day.”

“This kind of disconnect between our stated beliefs–my identity is that I’m one who’d been loved immeasurably by God and am one with him–and our practical beliefs–my identity and self-worth are determined by whether I’m popular, respected, a winner, and well-fed…”

“[When we understand the gospel] We’ll love God because he has first and marvelously loved us, and this love will overflow to others as well (I John 4:8-9). These gospel truths are not insignificant, something only for beginners. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) The gospel message–you have been cleansed from sin–is the pinnacle of God’s loving work in the world, and just as it is this work that saves us, it is also this work that transforms and sustains us. The gospel is the message that must remain paramount throughout all our life.”

“‘Who are you?’ with the answer, ‘A child of God!’ but that’s a truth that must be pressed into our consciousness every moment of every day. When dissed by our friends, when we’re struggling with pain, when falling into sin (again!), we’re still his children. And that is the most important thing about who were are. God has graciously chosen, adopted, and sealed us for his own glory. He is giving himself to us, and if we’re not distracted by our self-efforts and self-trust, we will respond by defining ourselves by that love. Who are you? You’re his, he is yours, and you’ve been cleansed from sin. And that’s all the identity any of us need.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened….through his flesh….let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Hebrews 10:19-22

“He has called us, ‘Be Mine.’” If you’re his child, he wants to assure you of his unchangeable love for you and your place in him even now. We can boldly respond to him in the full assurance that he really does love us, that he really has welcome us to himself and made us his own.” 

This chapter has given me a lot to think about. I am speechless. 

Questions for reflection and discussion:

-What most impacted you in this chapter?

-Have you suffered from Identity Amnesia?

-Are these truths from the gospel impacting your life every day?

How do you join the conversation? Two options:

*Leave a comment below, and feel free to discuss with others there!

*Write a blog post either answering these questions or with your own reactions to the chapter, and link up your blog post below! (Remember to add the title and url for the specific post and not your blog url and name. Thanks!)

(It’s not too late to read along. If you haven’t purchased a copy of the book, you can do so here.)

 Join us again next week as Ruth over at GraceLaced discusses Chapter 3!


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  • http://www.facebook.com/ChristinaRFox Christina Fox

    This is one of my favorite chapters and one I go back to quite often. I am so very forgetful! I need to remember every day my status as a child of my Father. Blessings to you!

    • Joy

      Yes, me too. :) Loved your gospel reminder post, btw!

  • Kendra

    This is the perfect book study to complement the other messages God is trying to impress upon me lately. It is just by divine providence that I started the study with you guys. I peeked at the book and wasn’t interested in it at all (not sure what I thought it was?). But I decided, “If Joy likes it, I’ll give it a try,” and from the first page, I was hooked!

    I’ve been a Christian all my life, but never quite “got” it entirely. I always worked so hard to try to prove I was worthy of God’s love and I always fell short (of course!). It just never occurred to me until very recently that I have God’s love; I don’t have to work for it. That I’m already “good enough.” What an amazing thing that I am still daily wrapping my brain around!! So I am appreciating the daily reminders God sends my way, as I continue to emerge from my spiritual amnesia.

    The part that struck me the most was (p. 47): “… in our hearts there is also an unquenchable thirst for words and beliefs that reassure, flatter, and puff us up. Instead of humbly receiving the gracious love of our Father and depending daily on him, we want to believe that we really can improve ourselves. . . . . we believe that if we just try hard enough, we’ll finally be successful.” It speaks volumes to me. And later on that same page: “The attitudes of the world – self-improvement, self-reliance, self-love, self-promotion, pride, independence, and self-worship – resonate within each of us and drown out our Redeemer’s loving words.”

    YES!!! In the Oprah-generation world that we live in, we’re made to believe that if we work hard enough at improving ourselves, we can be good enough. When all that we need to be “good enough” is to trust God as the loving Father that he is and to lean on him. I have a new appreciation lately for Galatians 5:22-23. I had always interpreted the fruits of the spirit as things I had to work on – I have to be loving, joyful, peaceful… It just hit me recently that these are the FRUITS of the spirit – they are the byproduct of the holy spirit working in us. They are not the qualities we need to have fully developed on our own in order for the spirit to be with us. Oh my!! And of course, after this insight, I am relying more and more on Jehovah God (and less on myself) and indeed, I am more peaceful, more joyful, more loving… Ahhhhh….

    • Joy

      Yes, yes, yes. You should have written my post for me! This is what I wanted to say, but am still too overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me to speak. :) Yes. This PK who has known the “gospel” my whole life, feels like she is just now “getting it.” Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. They have greatly encouraged me today….it is SO good when we testify to one another what we are learning!

  • Kim

    It is really no coincidence that I’m reading this book right now as well as listening along to a series of sermons on Colossians focusing on God’s grace and love toward us rather than seeking approval and affection from Him. It’s been given to us in Christ and His finished work on the cross! I am trying to remind myself that I am forgiven by God through Christ’s blood and have been brought near to Him so I have ALL that I need in HIM!

    • Joy

      Kim, what sermon series? I am studying Colossians right now with a women’s Bible study, and I’d love to hear more on the subject. I love your thoughts, and I love how God is bringing it home to you in various ways! :)

      • Kim

        Oh I’m so sorry I haven’t replied to this sooner :( I always forget to check back here! I’m listening to a sermon series by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian and he wrote a book also based on these sermons called Jesus + Nothing = Everything. He actually has quoted Elyse’s book in his sermons too! I will probably buy the book as well because I can’t possibly transcribe all of his sermon messages which are so good. Here’s the link if you want to listen to some of them: http://www.crpc.org/resources/sermons/series/colossians

  • ellieconrad

    I really enjoyed the reminder from this chapter.

    My favorite quote from this chapter was ,”Rather than being inebriated with God’s mercy, grace, and Spirit (Eph. 5:18), we’re staggering around under the misconceptions that we really do need to love, accept, and respect ourselves to make it through the day. We’re reeling from the belief that the most important factor in any given day is our success or comfort.”

    Case in point…just this evening I found myself becoming upset, discouraged and impatient because my daughter’s birthday cake did not turn out perfect. In the middle of my agitation the Lord brought back to to my mind what we have been studying My success or failure at making a cake does not determine who I am in Christ! Therefore, I can continue to care for my family in a loving, Christlike manner! I know this may sound petty, but I think that this is what the author is getting at when she says that the “gospel should intersect with our daily life.”

    • Kendra

      I don’t think this sounds petty at all. This is what it’s all about. It can sometimes (I said sometimes!) be easy to be Christian for the big things, but “the devil is in the details.” That’s not what the phrase means (I looked it up and originally it used be “God is in the details” but I digress…) but it seems that sometimes it is the “little” things – the regular, everyday life things – that test us the most, because it can be easy to accept this world’s behaviors and customs as our own, and look to ourselves to do better and be better (even now, “I’m not saying this right”) rather than to remember – even for the “petty” things, that we are loved as we are.

  • The Bonded Mom

    My biggest weakness in life and in my walk with Christ, is my steadfastness. I like to call it my “staying-power”. This chapter opened my eyes to so much for me! I could have written a book on this one chapter for all the ways it enlightened me! I am so glad I am doing this series with you guys and posting about it too. I am not sure I would be getting as much out of it without the accountability of this blog. :) If you want, please check out my post on this chapter at http://thebondedmom.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/do-you-only-brush-your-front-teeth/

  • Diane

    Thank you for co-hosting this book study! It was just the push I needed to read a good book right now. It has been a real blessing and I am grateful! I am blogging about it at mylifeasrobinswife.com. Blessings to you! :)

  • Mandy

    To feed a little off Kendra’s post… I also need to remember that I am “good enough” regardless of the mistakes I make. I try so hard to make a nice home for my family, to provide healthy meals, to lead a “gentle parenting” lifestyle. When I make a mistake, I constantly think “I’m not good enough for this.. someone else could do it better.” I need to remember that I AM good enough. That we are all good enough… this world is so small and nothing in it matters as much as our identify through Jesus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/desire.coopermiller Desiré Cooper Miller

    I loved the point she made at the top of page 48. Her thought that “we’re too ashamed to say we still need a Savior” struck a chord with me. All too often we feel like we have to put up a facade of having it all together if we’re a “good Christian.” I mean, what kind of testimony is, “I was horrible and lost in the pit of sin, but then Jesus came and saved me and, well, I still stink at this and need him every day.” I’ve never heard that kind of testimony, but instead hear stories of victory and triumph. Christ certainly does change our hearts and lives and actions, but in this life, sin will always be a struggle. I have no problem admitting that I USED to need a Savior, but it’s much harder on my pride to admit that I continue to need him every moment of every day and will until the day I die. But that’s the beauty of the gospel and the more I wrap my mind around it, the more incredible it becomes!

    • gracelaced

      I so resonate with this! It makes me think of that chapter from Piper’s book, Future Grace, called “The Debtor’s Ethic” (I think)…and how we are so grateful for grace when we come to Christ, but then somehow seek to earn it and pay it back with our good deeds as if we don’t really need that grace any longer.

  • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    This was one of my favorite chapters in the whole book…
    Adding the post I wrote after reading it.
    Miss you two!

    • Joy

      Thanks for chiming in! Me too, this chapter….wow.

  • Deb

    I realize I am adding this comment very late and that is because I have just been thinking over what to actually say. I think that I am still IN a full blown case of “spiritual amnesia” as I still haven’t gotten much out of this. I know that I should, but I still have nothing. I think the biggest thing that made me think was just like Desire’s comment, who wants admit they are still are a flop… Things were supposed to improve and I was to look and act like a Christian, but I didn’t expect most of what my Christian life has been… or maybe what I tried to make it. I see many blessings but I can’t say I see the gospel in my everyday life.