I think it all began with the discovery that the denying ourselves I read about in the Bible is not talking about the denial of Me. Jesus was talking about people denying self-rule, and turning to Christ-rule. He was describing people renouncing the kingdom of the self, the world, the devil, and surrendering to the powerful work of salvation that would bring them into the kingdom of heaven. Instead of depending on ourselves for right standing with God, we would deny ourselves as our hope of righteousness.
In other words, Jesus was not telling us to deny our identity as persons created in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, but to deny the sarky, independent, ignorance of the flesh that was holding us prisoners to sin. Everyone who hears the gospel of Jesus Christ must come to the conscious decision to repent of self-rule, to renounce our decision to eat from the forbidden tree, and return to God’s love where we become in Christ all that God ever wanted us to be.
Today this became clear to me in four-part harmony. This is the introductory movement, the quartet that showcases the whole symphony, if you will. The rest is in the works.
1. I Find the Real Me in God my Designer
After more than half a century to consider how I fit into the world I’m living in, and how to understand where I came from and why I am here, the only thing that fits everything to do with life is the acknowledgment that there is One True God who had me in mind before the beginning of time. The magnificence of the universe, and the micro-complexity of the inner workings of life, all speak of the God who is bigger than it all, and who brought all these things into existence.
When I look in a mirror, I see someone who is here because someone else designed me. I am too well designed to deny a Designer. Once I acknowledge a Designer, I also understand that he is my Designer, the Designer of the Me-ness of Me. Therefore, I can only know who I really am when I come to know who I really am to him. And, once I recognize that he designed me to be “in the image and likeness of God”, I am on the road to understanding the real Me in ways that the world around me could never reveal.
2. I Find the Real Me in God my Creator
The fact of my design takes me all the way back to my Designer, and the fact that I am more than a design, but a living, breathing human being, makes my Designer known to me as my Creator. My Designer took his blueprint for man-in-the-image-of-God and created what he designed.
It is exciting to be living in a day when Darwinian evolution is being debunked right, left, and center. Satan’s attempt to destroy faith in God through the evolutionary religion is being exposed as the red-dragon-masquerading-as-an-angel-of-light deception it really is.
Both Science and Scripture make it clear that the God who designed Man also created Man. The God who wanted to have a creature in his own image and likeness also created a creature with such unique glory. I am here because God created a man as his image-bearer. I can only explain my incessant need to know myself, and to know where I came from, as the expression of the Designer and Creator of all things, with humanity as the crowning jewel of his creative genius.
3. I Find the Real Me in God my Savior
My understanding of myself has to explain why Man is so “fearfully and wonderfully made”, and yet so thoroughly messed-up at the same time. Man has such incredible ability because God made us like himself, and we are so broken and messed-up because we have all “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
Therefore, if God were going to have man in his image and likeness, something that was severely damaged within us during our fall into sin, God himself would have to find a way to save us out of our sin and bring us into the Christlikeness he desires. It is well documented that he has done this very thing in the salvation he has given us through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The fact is that, through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, people like me, people who have trusted in Jesus Christ through repentance and faith, “with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” The real me has been found in Jesus Christ who has saved me from the unreal me, the broken me, the sinful me, to make me once again like him.
4. I Find the Real Me in God my Forever-Home Maker
The finishing touch to this grand symphony of divine genius is that the God who designed me, the God who created me, the God who saved me out of my devil-like condition, is presently preparing a home for me where I will be just like him forever. That means that, in being just like him forever, I will be just like myself forever. No more pretense; no more role-playing; no more self-protection or denial; no more pseudo-comfort in the deadly pleasures of sin; no more dissociating from pain and sorrow, for pain, sorrow, sin, and death, have no place in my Forever-Home.
Jesus, the Creator of the real me, promised, “In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” This tells the real me that I most definitely have a Forever-Home in the works, and I will one day live there forever.
God’s word goes on to tell me this: “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” One day, with my own eyes, I will see Jesus face to face, and, in seeing him, I will become just like him. At the same time, I will feel within myself the fullness of becoming myself, all that I was designed, created, saved, and adopted to be. I will be at peace with God, at peace with me, and at peace with the whole household of God’s children. We will all be ourselves, like Jesus, and yet each as unique as an individual snowflake.
I share this with you because I know that many of us have been the victims of the church throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, there is the dirty water of the “self” that must be thrown out. Yes, we are to deny this sarky-self, and all that makes us self-centered, self-dependent, self-protective people.
However, at the same time, we cannot throw out the in-the-image-of-God person we were designed, created, saved, and adopted to be. This person is as loved by Jesus as Jesus is loved by his Father. This person is called Jesus’ friend. This is the person Jesus is not ashamed to call his brother. This is the person that is God’s beloved who is now able to imitate God’s love.
So, while we seek to fully obey Jesus’ line-in-the-sand that we can only follow him if we deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him, we also rejoice as the beloved children of God who have been saved through this cross of Jesus Christ, and repeat with the wondering Psalmist:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 
From my heart,
© 2014 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~ email@example.com
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)
 “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’” (Luke 9:23).
 This began as a Ping, changed to a Pings (Plus), and ended up a Pondering, with much more to say on the matter!
 “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3); “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1)
 Accepting, of course, all the flaws, deformities, and deficiencies that sin has added to life’s experience.
 Genesis 1:26-27
 Genesis 1-2
 II Corinthians 11:14 and context
 “13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139)
 Psalm 139:14
 Romans 3:23
 Genesis 3
 “29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8)
 II Corinthians 3:18
 John 14:2-3
 I John 3:2
 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (John 15:9)
 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
 “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,” (Hebrews 2:11)
 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5)
 Psalm 8:5-9