There are Two fundamental ways of being in the world shown to us from Genesis through Revelation: trusting in our human resources and abilities or a radical trust in God. These can be described as the “false self” and the “true self.”
“Repentance is not being sorry for the things you have done but for being the kind of person who that does such things”
The false self stands in the way of the true self for which we were created. This is illustrated to us in the example of Cain and tower of Babel where man tried to center itself in its own purposes and desires and while trying to maintain a life centered on self apart from God- seeking to make God part of their lives in their own terms with their control
Fear is a part of the false self which may manifest itself in anger when we perceive something is threatening our false self. This leads to a protective representation of our false self as we seek to protect our false self from invasion.
The false self is also a possessive self- seeking to accumulate things as we associate our own identity of value with the things we possess or don’t possess which are interwoven with qualities of fear and protection produced by our false self. As in acts 5:1-11 in the example of Ananias and Sapphira.
The false self is also manipulative as it seeks to control situation, people, etc out of fear, possessiveness, or protection
The false self is destructive of our true self and other areas of our lives such as relationships- we begin to see the world as things there for our use and people the same way
The false self is also self-promoting examining everything through the lens of “what’s in it for me” things are done to gain recognition or to advance to our desired goals of acceptance etc
The false self is also an indulgent self seeking to consume resources or things to produce the desired effect and then move onto more. The indulgent self will treat symptoms which result from the indulgence without ever addressing the root of the issue.
The false self is a distinction making self that distinguishes who we are and classifies all others to be inferior to us as we view ourselves as rich and others as poor or educated and others uneducated
Galatians 5:19-21 is a good reference to Paul’s’ view of the false self- the truly dangerous false self is one that is a religious false self that seeks to control God for its own purposes and appear to be one who has it altogether-anytime we choose to root our being in anything other than God we are choosing a false self
Whenever we attempt to have God in our life on our terms, we are a religious false self.
Any God we have in our lives on our terms is an idol (see Colossians 2:20-3:17)
For more info on how we live out our False Self vs True Self see:
- The Deeper Journey: The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self
By M. Robert Mulholland Jr.
- The Relational Soul: Moving from False Self to Deep Connection
- The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World
Inspired by Fake