As a pastor/marriage counselor, I have dealt with a lot of people who are confused about their identity. I have broken up the identity confused people I have counseled into three groups to help you understand them better. The first group is made up of people who have no idea who they are, where they live, or what they are supposed to do because they are suffering from some sort of mental illness (Alzheimer’s, dementia, schizophrenia, paranoia, etc.). I always refer people who fall into this first group to a mental health care professional because I am not qualified to help them.
The second group of identity confused people I have counseled is made up of people are who mixed up about their race, gender, or sexuality because they do not see themselves the way God sees them. Let me explain. We all come into this world as fallen creatures who are dead spiritually because of our sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). As sinners with a sinful nature, we do not know how to properly love God, ourselves, and others. We need someone to show us who we are and how we need to think and live. Unfortunately, Satan knows this and he has strategically placed people all around the world to deceive people with his lies (John 8:44; 1st John 2:15-17). Satan does not want people to understand how sin has messed them up or how Jesus died for their sins. Who does Satan use to confuse people about their identity? He uses people who have a lot of knowledge, but no wisdom (Romans 1:22). These people have a lot of degrees behind their names but they do not know the truth found in God’s Word – the Bible. These fools, tell mixed up people they can be whomever they want to be and do whatever they want to do. The truth is we are supposed to be who God wants us to be and do what He wants us to do.
The third group of identity confused people I have counseled is composed of people who do not know what a Christian is or how a Christian should live. People in this group are confused about their identity in Christ because they have listened to what their pastor, parents, denomination, or friends have said about Christianity instead of carefully examining the Bible. I have dealt with hundreds of people in my 35 years of ministry who believe they are Christian because they were… baptized when they were a baby, confirmed by a denomination, or dedicated as a child to the Lord. I have had to lovingly explain to these people that their parent’s good intentions did not make them a Christian. To become a Christian, they need to personally repent of their sins and receive Jesus as their Savior (John 1:12; Romans 10:9-13).
There is a big difference between Christians and non-Christians. The Apostle Paul made this clear to the Christians living in Ephesus.
“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:17–24 NLT
According to Paul, non-Christians are confused, or more literally, aimlessly wandering through life. Non-Christians do not possess the wisdom they need to live life properly because they have closed their hearts and minds off to God – the source of all wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-8). They do not understand the world around them or why they exist. This is why Jesus referred to unbelievers as “the lost” (Luke 19:10). Notice, Paul also said unbelievers are immoral, or more literally, they live morally unrestrained. Unbelievers live to please their flesh because they do not have the Spirit of God living inside of them – guiding them to do right.
Well, after he told the Ephesus Christians to stop living the way they used to live before they received Christ as their Savior and Lord, Paul went on and told them what they needed to do to live for Christ.
“But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:20–24 NLT
To live for Christ, a Christian needs to remember…
- Jesus changed them into a new person and gave them the power to live a new life! 2nd Corinthians 5:17
- To discard their former way of living. Romans 6:5-19; 1st Thessalonians 5:22
- To allow the Holy Spirit to use the Bible to renew their thinking. Psalm 119:9-11; Romans 12:1-2; 2nd Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12
- To live daily by their new nature. Galatians 5:16-17
I have found that people who are confused about their Christian identity fail in three major areas:
1. They spend their time, energy, and money on the wrong people, places, things, and activities.
2. They do not know how to properly love God, themselves, and others.
3. They do not allow Christ to rule in their marriage.
For these reasons, you need to make sure the person you are going to marry is a Christian who is living for Christ. Couples who go into marriage with an identity crisis seldom succeed in the most complex relationship on earth!
If you’re considering marriage, or you are looking to improve your marriage, I encourage you to purchase my book The 10 Habits of Magnificent Marriages. It is available through Amazon.