How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp
THREE KINDS OF BLINDNESS
The “here and now” hole in the middle of our lives produces three fundamental forms of spiritual blindness. First, there is a blindness of identity. Many Christians do not have a gospel perspective on who they are. For example, Phil was a good theologian, but his personal identity was more rooted knowledge and achievement than the gospel. This lack of gospel identity shows up in two ways. First, many Christians underestimate the presence and power of indwelling sin. They don’t see how easily entrapped they are in this world full of snares (See Gal 6:1). They don’t grasp the comprehensive nature of the war that is always raging within the heart of every believer (see Rom .7) they’re not aware of how prone they are to run after God replacements. They fail to see that their greatest problems exist within them, not outside them. My work with teenagers has convinced me that one of the main reasons teenagers are not excited by the gospel is that they do not think they need it.
Many parents have successfully raised self-righteous little Pharisees. When they look at themselves, they do not see a sinner in desperate need, so they are not grateful for a Savior. Sadly, the same is true of many of their parents. Many believers also fail to see the other side of their gospel identify: their identity in Christ. Christ not only gives me forgiveness and a new future, but a whole new identity as well! I am now a child of God, with all of the rights and privileges that this title bestows. This is important because each of us lives out of some form of identity, and our gospel identity amnesia will always lead to some form of identity replacement.
That is, if who I am in Christ does not shape the way I think about myself and the things I face, then I will live out of some other identity. Often in our blindness, we take on our problems as identities. While divorce, depression, and single parenthood are significant human experiences, they are not identities. Our work is not our identity, though it is an important part of how God intends us to live. For many of us, our sense of identity is more rooted in our performance than it is in God’s grace. It is wonderful to be successful at what God has called you to do, but when you use your success to define who you are, you will always have a distorted perspective