The Original Authentic Self

I visited a college town the other day. I was nostalgic and inspired all at the same time. A
college campus is full of hopes and dreams. It’s full of students trying on personalities and
points of view. A place to find yourself.

I remember that feeling. The hopes of who you will become when you grow up and leave the
classroom. What you will do with all your brilliance and how you will express it in the “real

As an adult, I look back fondly on those days and smile. I feel comfortable in my skin. I have
survived the growing pains and have lived to tell about it. But I question, am I, are we, as adults,
really our true authentic selves like we believe we are?

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good
works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The Merriam-webster dictionary defines workmanship as the art or skill of a workman; the
quality imparted to a thing in the process of making.

If God is the workman, I can absolutely assume that the quality imparted to his workmanship is
something this world could never replicate or reproduce.

The Bible also says that we were created in His image. Genesis 1:27 says So God created man
in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.

He said this while we were still in the garden. He created us in His image and then told us what
to do. Be fruitful and multiply. I suppose the Old Testament version of good works like
mentioned in Ephesians.

The only thing was, something else happened in the garden. The creation that was created by God
in his image for good works decided to sin against its creator. We were now naked and
ashamed. Disconnected from the image of who we were intended to be. Sewing fig leaves
together and talking to serpents. Not the original design. No longer authentic to its craftsman.

Unfortunately, we’ve been adding to the original design since Adam and Eve left the garden.
Using good works to prop up our broken identity. We have tried to create for ourselves an image
outside of the authentic one. Trying to replicate what God had originally done through his
workmanship by earning and striving.

Notice this important piece to the Ephesians passage, “In Christ Jesus.”

In the garden, we were separated from God. In that separation, the proving and pretending
started. Apart from God, we as people, needed to prove our worth again. The definition of worth
has been distorted and confused ever since. We use appearance, success, perceived value, and a plethora of other lies to prove our worth and value. We pretend like we believe it and we
pretend to be people we were never created to be in order to maintain this illusion.

Here’s the good news: God knows we do this. God knows that our longing for worth, value,
accomplishment, and expression is built in us. He knows because He put it there!

We can’t do it while separated, but we can once reconciled back to him! Because the true
definition or our worth is found in Jesus and in belonging to Him. ‘In Christ Jesus’ becomes the
bridge and the only way to live a real life as our authentic selves.

There is freedom in knowing that we have been created and designed on purpose for good works.
We are kept in Jesus to be like Jesus and express our true identity through the good works he
prepared for us beforehand so that we may walk in them.

In college, I believed I wasn’t enough, but I would be once I got a job, got married, and created a
life I had always imagined. I didn’t know Jesus. I did know who I wanted to be, or so I thought I
did. Once I knew Jesus, I still imagined a life I wanted to live. Now that I know that Jesus knows
me, I’m grateful to simply be and become with him.

To be is to be loved, known, and created by Jesus, the Creator. To become is to continue to
express that identity in good works as I become more and more like Him. Just by being his
workmanship, remaining and remembering I’m in Christ Jesus, I have good works prepared
beforehand that I may walk in them. An authentic life full of authentic expression which reveals
and glorifies the creator who crafted me cared for me, died for me, and continues to create in
me the beautiful expression of that authenticity in Christ Jesus!