Watch out. If you're not careful, these seven identity killers will keep you from realizing your purpose in life and identity in Christ.

Lack of revelation. It is easy to wander aimlessly through life without giving any consideration to whether or not you are living in the reality of your essential identity. Too many Christians focus on outer image at the expense of inner image. They settle for less than they were created to be. The Word of God is the only influence that has the right to define you. But you will never discover your essential identity unless you have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Generational curses. One of the foremost ways that strongholds of insecurity and rejection are established in people's lives is by the spiritual transfer of the sins of the fathers to the children. A man will deal with his children exactly as he was dealt with unless he makes a conscious choice to do otherwise. This process will continue generation after generation until the curse is realized and broken through repentance and prayer.

Wrong relationships. The most powerful force in the universe, outside of God, is human relationships. Your relationships are the key to your personal success or failure; they will either coach you into destiny or restrict you from your ultimate purpose. Everything we are today, good and bad, is a product of the people we know and the lessons we've learned.

Insecurity. Much of the insecurity we struggle with is not a result of who we are, but rather a result of using a false measuring stick to determine our worth and value. We often fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with those whom we perceive to be "perfect" in those ways in which we desire to excel, and in doing so we block the wisdom of God from revealing our life's purpose. The measuring stick for your destiny is not your husband, wife, brother, sister or classmate; it is the divine pattern established by God.

Rejection. Man's greatest fear is that he will not be received, respected and loved. We search for significance in materialism, sexual gratification, achievement, self-improvement and even religion. But none of it works because this is a spiritual problem that cannot be solved with a natural solution. Some people even use rejection as a means to manipulate others. Rejection and manipulation will distort your essential identity.

Unforgiveness. When we allow unforgiveness in our lives, we set in motion a chain of circumstances that often results in emotional, spiritual and relational destruction. But forgiveness is for the sake of the offended as much as it is for the offender. Forgiveness is the act of believing the Word of God and making the conscious choice to release your offender from your desire for revenge.

Perfectionism. Perfectionism is the fear of failure expressed through an overcompensation to succeed, at the expense of personal fulfillment. While many perfectionists appear to be overachievers, their motivation is usually fueled by a desire to gain acceptance and to overcome a poor self-image. How much of your life have you wasted in a futile attempt to gain the approval of others? In order to unveil your essential identity, you must give yourself the freedom to grow into who you are.

Terry Crist is the senior pastor of·City of Grace church·in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is the author of The Image Maker (Charisma House) and The Language of Babylon (Baker Books).

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