The world talks a lot about discovering self, and how much that would transform your life, making you a better person. Well, all that is very true, but in the Christian life there is an obstruction. This obstruction is very important, and we must not skip it. There are Christians today talking a lot about identity in Christ and all that. It's a good thing, but we must acknowledge the obstruction. The obstruction is the cross.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20).
First there is the self, and then that self must die—it must be left on the cross till it is totally broken and drained of its life. Then another self emerges out of the grave of that first self. The old self must die in order for the new one to arise, you can't have both at the same time. This new self is Christ, the new man. He is our new identity. There is a process here and this process is very important. We humans have the tendency to exalt self, promote self, and preserve self. We must come out of our old self in order to truly have the new.
Many Christians have not pass through the process of coming out of their self before proclaim this new identity in Christ. The problem you will have with that is that the "identity in Christ" that they would be proclaiming will be nothing more than a repackaging of the carnal self. Yes, it is repackaged of the old in the name of "identity in Christ". This is why the process is very important. You simply cannot skip the process. You must come to that place where you lose your self, before rediscovering the new self in Christ. You lose your self by looking away from yourself unto another.
"Looking away unto Jesus," (Heb 12:2).
Until you come out of your self, you cannot cling to another self. You will only end up joining two selfs together, and then you won't be able to tell when one self stops and when the other starts—big confusion. You must pass through that journey of loosing your self, and you must stay in that for a while. Yes stay, let it sink in, let it leave a permanent mark on you, let it register into you. Processes are very important, we cannot rush them.
You lose your self by growing an obsession for Jesus, falling so deeply in love with him. This way your gaze would be so fixed on him that you won't be able to resist when the Lord takes you and nail you on the cross, causing your old self to bleed to death. You can only stay still on that cross when your gaze is fixed on your lover (Christ). As you pursue intimacy with this lover you will join and enter into him. Yes, you become one with Christ and he becomes your new self. You cannot rush the process of intimacy, it takes time. So press on, trust the process, yield to the Holy Spirit because he is the one assigned to take you through this process. Hunger to experience the cross and lose yourself in Christ. And then you will enjoy oneness with Christ eternally.