Detecting Your False Self

Jonathan Dodson, from his article, Gospel Identity: We All Have Identity Issues:

We all have identity issues. Many of us have created an alter ego....This alter ego contends for our identity. It pulls at your heart, your longings. It tells you that if you were just a little more like this or that, then you'd be somebody. If you were better looking, if you were more successful, if you were married, if you were more spiritual, if you had more of a following on Twitter or Facebook, then you'd be somebody.

How do you detect your alter ego? Where do your thoughts drift when you have down time? What do you daydream about? Follow your thoughts, your dreams, your heart-longings and you will find your alter ego — the thing or things that call for you to find security/identity in them.

Eric Johnson, Professor of Soul Care at Southern Seminary, calls this the "false self".  He writes,

It is indeed false.  It is every way that we choose to live outside of God's will.  It is our way of resisting God and others.  It is our attempt to control our lives and sometimes the lives of others.  It is rooted in a refusal to not trust God to secure us.  It is how we say, "I will do this my own way.  I will not believe God or his words.  I will be good on my own.  I will not trust Christ crucified and raised from the dead."

Some examples of the false self could be: the good boy, the independent one, the performer, the busy one, the perfectionist, the controller, the passive one, the religious one, the expert, the addicted one, the codependent, the stoic, the clown, the judge, the critic, the liar, the rager, the know it all ...  All of these are about control.  I will control how I experience life.

His conclusion: The false self must be identified and laid bare before God and others (Ephesians 5:8-14).  In this place of nakedness and brokenness, Jesus meets me, loves and heals me.