Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6 CSB).
Not knowing who you are—and letting everyone else mold you into their image—is a leading cause of stress for people today.
Jesus gives us another model. He shows us the principle of identification, which is the first principle of stress management from the life of Jesus.
Jesus had no doubt as to his identity. In fact, he defines himself with “I am” statements 18 times in the Bible. He does this every time he says “I am . . .” and then declares key truths.
Jesus says: “I am the truth. I am the way. I am the life. I am the Son of God. I am sent from my Father above. I am the door. I am the bread of life. I am the living water.”
Jesus knew exactly who he was.
And we need to know exactly who we are, who God created us to be.
If you don’t know your identity, you’ll depend too much on what other people say about you.
Stress happens when you try to be something you’re not. We all start off as originals, but too often we end up as carbon copies of somebody else—because we don’t know who we are.
When you learn who you are, you’re less dependent upon the approval of others and you’re more stress-resistant.
In John 14:6, we read this: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (CSB). Jesus didn’t need anyone else’s opinions to prop him up. Neither do you.
LEARN TO APPRECIATE difficult days. Be stimulated by the challenges you encounter along your way. As you journey through rough terrain with Me, gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything. This knowledge is comprised of three parts: your relationship with Me, promises in the Bible, and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times. Look back on your life, and see how I have helped you through difficult days. If you are tempted to
think, “Yes, but that was then, and this is now, ” remember who I AM! Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity. This is the basis of your confidence. In My Presence you live and move and have your being.
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
ISAIAH 41 : 10
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
PSALM 102 : 27
“‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
ACTS 17 : 28
Growth Requires a Teachable Attitude
While you were given a brand new nature at the moment of conversion, you still have old habits, patterns, and practices that need to be removed and replaced.
We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves.
We often build our identities around our defects. We say, “It’s just like me to be ” and “It’s just the way I am.” The unconscious worry is that if I let go of my habit, my hurt, or my hang-up, who will I be? This fear can definitely slow down your growth.
Only as God is allowed to shine the light of his truth on our faults, failures, and hang-ups can we begin to work on them. This is why you cannot grow without a humble, teachable attitude.
Godly habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can’t claim to have integrity unless it is your habit to always be honest.
Your habits define your character. There is only one way to develop the habits of christlike character: You must practice them – and that takes time!
These character-building habits are often called “spiritual disciplines,” and they include such things as meditation, prayer, fasting, Bible study, simplicity, stewardship, solitude, submission, service and evangelism.