Monday, July 2, 2007

Who Am I: Your Identity


Anybody who knows anything about martial arts movies knows this line from Jackie Chan's Who Am I? movie.

First and foremost, the movie is hilarious with great kung fu. Second, the image of Jackie Chan screaming at the top of the his lungs "Who am I?!" is a great image of man from time immortal yelling in question to the cosmos for an answer to life's most prolific question.

The good news: I have an answer. (How cool is that? People have been wondering what the answer was to this questions since the dawn of thought. And I, of all people, have the answer.)

Now, I know what you're thinking. (Besides where you are going for lunch!) You are thinking, 'how on earth can Grant know the answer to who I am?'

Good question. Well, the answer may not satisfy all of your questions about yourself, but it may bring some explanation in some places.

First, some assumptions. All beliefs come from at least one assumption, even science. (Science has one great assumption: that what I see is true.)

My assumption is this: what the judeo-Christian God says is true. That would include the Bible. So, our major assumption is that I believe in God and His Word and all of that.

So, who are we? Well, to take it from the top, who were were when we were born? (I heard a Buddhist say once, 'when you have asked the right question the answer will appear.')

Who we were when we were born was, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:23, a being with a spirit, a soul and a body. Since we were "born of the flesh" we are flesh (sinful.)

So, the first image on the right shows a person and their spirit, soul, and body. The Body is where their material being shows up. It is the seen. The soul is where we have our unique selves; our mind, will, and emotions. The "sp" is the spirit. Notice it is blacked out. It has not yet been "born." It is dead. It can be said that we have a dead spirit.

From here we get all of our inputs from external sources. Our senses (attached to our body), give our brain (the gateway to our soul) input about who we are.

If family and acquaintances at work or school or home have given audio/visual/sensory inputs that someone is inferior, that person develops a belief of inferiority that affects their day-to-day decision making and self-perception.

This creates well-worn pathways in our brains; synaptic pathways, habits, old files and tapes, facts etc. The electronic impulses begin to travel easier and easier through these well-worn synaptic pathways. This gives one the feeling that they "believe" this particular thing, or that they "just feel" that way.

They say things like "I can't help it. I am just this way." Which is true to a point, but it is not unchangeable.

Basically this is where the statement goes 'its easier to stay the same than to change' becomes a fact. In many cases, it goes against these neurological habit-patterns to think "outside the box", or to begin to believe something new. This creates a friction, and a resistance to believing anything new that conflicts with current thought patterns.

Much more can be said about a being in this state of mind, but you will get a better picture of this thing as I talk about other aspects of our minds.

Let us look forward to who we became when we got saved.

When we got saved, Jesus described it as being "born again."
Nicodemas asked Him what you may have asked the person who spoke to you about God. "Dude, how can one be born again? Can he get back into his mother's womb?"

Of course not, Nicodemas!!
"Well, there must be SOME kind of birth. So what is it?"
Another great question. It is a spiritual birth. BING! (See image at right.)

So, here we have the image of a saved person. They may still have well-worn pathways in their brain. They may still have habit patterns of some sort. But, according to their spirit and the Lambs Book of Life, they are saved.

"Ok, Grant. So who am I? Why am I dealing with all of the stuff I am dealing with? Why don't I always feel saved?"

Another great question. (You certainly have some good ones!)

Well, lets look at this. Before you were saved, you got your inputs from your senses. And, over time since you believed the external inputs, your brain also reinforced those inputs.

Once you became saved, however, a new source of inputs arrived on the scene, an internal source; the Holy Spirit.

Take a peek here:


So you can see how before you were saved your inputs came from outside, and this created your well-worn pathways and patterns of thought.

Once you were saved your Spirit now offers new inputs.

There are several cool things to understand here:
  1. You can now CHOOSE what to align with: the external inputs or the internal inputs, info from the world or info from God
  2. You may (not necessarily, but may) experience an internal struggle to believe certain things. This is merely a struggle to create new synaptic pathways. Some people I know can decide to believe in something God says, and align with it immediately no matter how far fetched. Other people I know bounce between that which is rational and that which requires faith.
  3. It all really resides in the decision; again the CHOICE of which you will align with.
This brings up the question: "then what is truth?"
I want to speak about this at length in the next installment of 'Who Am I.'

For now, suffice it to say that what comes from the outside is factual. What comes from God is Truth. They do not always conflict, but many times do.

Check back next time to learn more about Truth vs. Facts.

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