There's Nothing Wrong With You

“’Nana, ’nana, ’nana!”

I was about to die. I wasn’t feeling right and couldn’t act right. My vision was blurry, and my body felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck. Something was terribly wrong, but I didn’t know what. All I could do was curl up in fetal position and say, “’Nana, ’nana, ’nana”—banana, if you don’t know kid talk.

Once I got the ’nana, I knew I’d be better.  But that got thrown up too.

What was my four-year-old self thinking? Did he realize what people would say at his funeral? And did he really just choose a banana as his last meal? But I guess in his defense, if a ’nana couldn’t help, what could?

As I moaned and groaned, my mom whispered, “Zach, it’s just a stomach virus. There’s nothing wrong with you.”
“But, Mom, I’m sick." With how I felt, I couldn’t believe nothing was wrong.
“Honey, it’s not your fault,” she tried to assure me.
“You’re sick because of a virus. You’re okay.”

This didn’t make sense to me. How could I feel so awful and yet having nothing wrong with me? The reason: I was not the sickness. The sickness was in me, but it wasn’t me. I was sick because of a virus, not because there was fault in who I was.

Many years later, I learned that the same is true for Christians. What if there’s nothing actually wrong with you and me? What if we sin because of something that’s not us?

I’m still learning what my mom taught me that day. You see, sin is like a stomach virus. It’s in us, but it’s not us. It can tempt us to act in weird ways and make us feel bad and wrong, but sin is not us and we are not sin. We may think we need to fix ourselves, but God is asking us to just fix our focus on Him. We may think we’re the problem, but sin is. We may think something’s wrong with who we are, but we’ve been lied to.

The church has believed the lie that we are the problem, that we’re dirty, bad, sinful people who are just “saved by grace.” We’ve believed this cheap message that Christianity is only about what happens when we die. But what if the message of Jesus changes everything about how we live and see ourselves every day?

I didn’t have any choice in choosing how the stomach bug affected me. But in our Christian life, we do have a choice. Sin has no power over us, and in any moment we can choose to trust Jesus or we can sin. We may feel like we’re bad or that something’s wrong with us, but our feelings are not indicators of truth. God’s Word is. And He says there’s nothing at all wrong with us.

When Adam and Eve sinned for the first time, was it their identity that caused them to sin? No, it was the power of sin and the tempter that led them to sin. There was nothing wrong with Adam,yet he sinned.That’s why our struggle is not with ourselves, but with sin.

Not only that, but Adam and Eve believed a lie. They were both perfect and righteous like God, but they believed the lie from the Enemy that they weren’t like God and that sin would make them like God. That’s one of the Enemy’s greatest tricks—to try to make us think we need something when we already have it.

In Christ, God makes us new, flawless people. Yet we still sin. We’ve believed the lie that we ourselves are the reason. But we aren’t; sin is. Sure, we make a choice and play a role in sinning. But we are good and holy, and nothing is wrong with who we are spiritually. We’re perfect people who still sin. That’s the good news of Jesus: He doesn’t define us by our behavior; instead, we’re defined by who we are in Him.

There’s no flaw or mistake about who you are. Who you are in Christ is not affected by what you do or don’t do. Your identity is irreversible and unshakeable, because it was given to you by God’s grace; it was never your doing.

Think about it. We did nothing to become sinners. The Bible says we’re born that way; we’re born in sin. In the same way, we did nothing to become flawless believers. We were reborn that way. We’re reborn in Christ. The Bible calls this being born again.

Put simply, we get our identity from what we’re in. The moment we believe in Jesus, we become new creations. Our identity is not progressively becoming good or flawless. In Christ, we’re good, blameless, right, perfect people the moment we believe in Him.

Your struggle is with sin, not with the new person God has made you. There’s no flaw in you. If you’re in Christ and Christ is in you, then everything true of Christ is now true of you. Popular teaching says that when God looks at you, He sees Jesus. Or He has to look at us through Jesus. But this isn’t true; God sees all of you and loves what He sees, because He created you new and perfect. Pride, anger, lust—these are all things you may struggle with, but they are not you. You’re the perfect child of God who struggles with those things. See the difference?

Learning my identity took me many years of searching.

Drugs, alcohol, girls, shame, guilt, and religion all led me to learn the simple truth that nothing at all was wrong with me. Nothing. Many of us have heard about our identity in Christ, but then we move on to “deeper” things. But identity is the core message. It’s the good news we need to hear every day, because we live in a world that’s telling us the opposite. I was taught my identity by mistakes, problems, and messiness—not by success, goodness, or religion.

God uses everything to show us who we already are in Him. That’s why the Christian life is not about working hard to become someone or something else; it’s about living from all that God has already made you to be. We’re not told to fight to get free or to get our sins forgiven or to be made new in Christ. The fight is to trust those things are already true. The best news is, God is relentlessly fighting for you to believe the truth that you’re free, forgiven, and new.  

Who are you? Our initial response to this question is typically based on our job, our addiction, or our status in society. “I’m an athlete ... I’m just an angry person ... I’m an alcoholic ... I’m a sinner ... I’m a minister ... I’m divorced ... I’m a teacher ... I’m rich ... I’m poor ... I’m a mother”—you get the idea. We base our identity around what we do or what we’ve done. Not only that, but we live out of who we think and believe we are. If you think you’re bad, you’ll live bad. If you think you’re a sinner, you’ll live like one.

But God is inviting us to base our beliefs on what He has done for us and to us. He’s asking us to rethink how we see ourselves in light of how He sees us. The world may reject you, but you are accepted. The world may say you’re not good enough, but you are enough. The world may say you’re a criminal, but you’re a child of God.

When you begin to understand who you are and Whose you are, you begin to live out of that new reality. Your old habits and behaviors start to change, and your actions start to reflect whom God has already made you.

I’m not saying behavior doesn’t matter. It does. But our behavior is the fruit of what we believe. We need to first believe who we are in Christ, then our behavior will follow. Put another way, our identity determines our behavior, but our behavior never determines or defines our identity.

The world, the Enemy, and sin feed us lies about who we are. If what we hear doesn’t liberate us, then it’s not from God. Jesus wants us to be free. And it’s through knowing the truth about Him and who we are that we’ll begin living in the freedom He won for us.

Hearing God’s Opinion
“My child, no matter what you or others think, there’s nothing wrong with you. In every mistake or sin or problem you face, My opinion of you never wavers. No matter what you do or what you’ve done, I’ll always be in you, I’ll always be for you, and I’ll always love you. Say goodbye to all those lies religion taught you, and say hello to the truth of your new identity in Me.”

"There is nothing at all wrong with you."  Song of Solomon 4:7 NCV

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