We must first embrace our own old identity, as Jesus said, “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself . . . “ We must embrace it and deny it, then by faith accept our spiritual identity in Jesus Christ. The analogy is given, for purposes of illustrating, of a fifteen year old, unmarried and pregnant girl. Abortion is not an option and the girl has made the decision to give the baby up for adoption. Should she see the baby prior to giving it up or not. One might suggest it would be easier to have the baby and leave the hospital without have seen him and avoid the trauma of separation. That would seem easier, but would she have faced the reality of the situation?
Did you ever try to give away something you never had? Without seeing the baby, there’s a sense of unreality about the situation. Of course, she’s carried the baby in her womb, but there’s a difference between that and holding the baby and owning him. Once the young mother has held the baby and owned and loved him for a day or so, and then given him to the adoptive parents, the reality hits with full force. Then it’s possible to go through the grief process, the separation anxiety or whatever sense of loss the mother experiences.
My point is, when it comes to our humanly achieved identity, each of us needs to ask the question, “Have I owned my ‘baby,’ or is there still a sense of unreality about the identity out of which I live?” For us to accept our new identity in Jesus Christ, each of us must define our humanly achieved or fleshly, worldly identity and look it squarely to understand what we must lose if we are to live out of our true identity in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must “lose our baby,” which has been in the formation stage for a lifetime, if we’re to know the joy and blessing of our new identity as accepted and dearly loved children of God in Christ.
I’ve “owned my baby,” the identity I’ve held of positive performance-based acceptance, of being a good pastor, of performing well as the preacher and receiving the acceptance I get from “a job well done” or “a great sermon,” that handshake of affirmation at the back door, of pleasing other people which is all a part of my past identity. I own it and I’ve given it up and I receive the identity of Jesus Christ.