Friday, November 14, 2014

I.I.C. - IDENTITY INDELIBLY in CHRIST

The definition of "identity" is as follows from Your Dictionary:

"The definition of identity is who you are, the way you think about yourself, the way you are viewed by the world and the characteristics that define you."

Here is another one from the same source:

"The condition or fact of being a specific person or thing; individuality; the characteristics and qualities of a person, considered collectively and regarded as essential to that person's self-awareness; the condition of being the same as a person or thing described or claimed."

We become self-aware at a very early age, even before we learn to talk. From those tender and few years of life the image of ourselves begins to develop. What molds that image are many varied factors such as those listed above.

Along with talents, abilities, and other things, is our personality which determines how we respond to those factors as they impact our lives will form our identity. We view ourselves as successful, capable, and winners or failures, incapable, and losers depending on all of these variables.

I have met people who in my own estimation have a competent level of intelligence, and yet they consider themselves to be stupid or morons - only because they've had such assertions drilled into them by their parent(s) or teachers or other persons of authority for years. The same goes for looks; I've seen attractive (even extraordinarily attractive) people who believe themselves ugly only because that's what they've been told since they were knee high. People often have a very low (and inaccurate) estimation of their abilities and strengths just because they heard mean-spirited and repetitious words spoken to them - like, "you're no good" and "you'll never amount to anything."

Or even if such words aren't ever spoken, some children simply never excel and are either content or not motivated enough as were their parents or siblings who have 'made something of themselves' and are living 'the American dream' of prosperity and live a life style of the upper class. As a result, the low acheiver may feel themselves to be worthless, inept, or that somehow something is wrong with them.

On the flip side of this, there are those who esteem themselves far too highly (self-esteem) and as far as our general feeling about ourselves go, we all more or less think too highly of ourselves. I love how Dave Hunt illustrated this:

He was having a discussion with someone who claimed that they hated themselves. Dave tried to assure them that they really didn't, quoting from EPH. 5:29. Yet they insisted that they really did hate themselves. "OK," said Dave, "why do you hate yourself?"
"Because I'm fat and clumsy and I never have anything intelligent to say, all sorts of reasons!"
"Well, that proves that you don't hate yourself," replied Dave.
"What?!" the person exclaimed.
"Did you ever feel bad because an enemy of yours, someone that you hate, was fat or clumsy or never have anything intelligent to say?" 
The person just stood there, non-plussed and thought deeply on the question.
"We really love ourselves so much, that we hate the fact that we are fat and clumsy or whatever, because we think it's unfair, that we deserve better!"

That's the truth! It's true that we believe things about ourselves that are untrue, such as the things we will go over today . . .

What helps us identify and discover ourselves for what we are, are those we can relate to and find that we have things in common; we also understand ourselves by those who are different in the way they think, act, and achieve goals by their abilities, talents and knowledge. We often group together with those of common interests and find a sense of belonging by such socialization.But there are those who never seem to fit in anywhere . . . they are loners or even outcasts.

When a person discovers the truth of the Bible and learns who they are through God's perspective, this may lead the person to salvation because they recognize that they are a sinner, unable to achieve God's standard of holiness, but that they are also someone that God loves, and desires to spare them from judgment for their sin, and further, to develop a relationship with them as a Father to a son (or daughter). Once such a person receives salvation through Christ by faith in the Gospel they are born again; they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In a very real sense, they acquire a new identity. The personality remains intact, but in some ways is enhanced and 'enlivened' but the thinking begins to change as do motivations, goals and desires.

They no longer desire to live the sinful life styel that they previously enjoyed; they are hungry for God's Word the Holy Bible, they desire fellowship with the LORD and His people (the church); they want to please their heavenly Father and follow the LORD Jesus Christ by example. Such a person lives a life of fulfillment in that they are living in accord with the will of God Who created them according to His purpose - that is, to worship Him and experience fellowship with the Living Creator (What an astounding statement, isn't it?).

Still, there is a lot of 'baggage' that we carry into our new life from the old; many of the same ideas, attitudes and beliefs about self are still with us and impede us from becoming all that the LORD desires for us. We may still think of ourselves as unlovely in looks, or lacking in proper intelligence, or incapable in acheiving worthy goals.

Every Christian should be growing in their relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ, increasing in the knowledge and grace of He Who is our LORD and Savior (2 PET. 3:18); part of that growing is becoming more Christ-like in character. Just as He loves the unloveable, defends the weak and disadvantaged, encourages the disheartened, strengthens the weak, provides for the poor, the widows and the orphans so we who follow Him. The LORD always speaks the truth but with the motive of love and so too does the mature Christian. 

Yet we too often find ourselves struggling with the ingrained and established habit patterns and beliefs that defined the 'old man' (ROM. 6:6) - that which we were before we became children of God (JN. 1:12-13). How do we break such behavioral bondage and established habits?

We must learn from the truth found in Scripture that tells us who we are in Christ and by faith believe them, act on the truth expressed in those verses and submit ourselves to the LORD to conform us to the image of Christ (ROM. 8:29; 12:2).

Do you have some of that old baggage from your 'B.C. Days' that you find is hindering you in your walk with the LORD? Do you believe that you're a loser? That you will never amount to anything? Then let us go over some Scripture and by God's grace my prayer for you is that you will be greatly encouraged, gain a better and truer perspective and rise in the joy of the LORD with hope in your heart.

The LORD God has amazing and wonderful plans for you, which will be fully revealed in eternity, but the training for such begins now, in these every-day-life experiences and by which through His Spirit will bring us further along in this adventure of LIFE with CHRIST!

Each of us, I believe are granted by God our individual looks, personality, talents, emotional make up and so much more. While Adam was directly created by God, I believe He in His sovereignty selects the genetic information that builds each of us as human beings, as well as fashions our souls and minds.

ISAIAH 49:16
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

What the LORD God told Jeremiah (with the exception of course being a prophet of Israel) could well be said of all of us:

JEREMIAH 1:5
 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

God created us as individuals, and as such we are unique. Certainly others may mirror our own personality and, or looks, but there really is only one of 'me' in all the wide world. The value of things is based largely on scarcity; this is why gold is so expensive - there really isn't a lot of it, compared to wood, or sand.
You are even scarcer than gold however - you are the only one like you, and God fashioned you so! He is the One who gave you your eye and hair color; your personality, your talents. He lovingly formed you as His own handiwork and admires the work of His own hands. Every awesome parent loves their child, but in reality they are only stewards of the precious souls that God has given them charge over. As much as our parents may love us, God our Creator loves us more! Let that sink in!

God is broken hearted over the curse of sin that lies upon all of us, members of the (fallen) human race. He desires to liberate us from the death-saturated curse of sin and free us from its bondage (if you don't think "sin" is bondage, wait a while, you'll find out. The alcoholic and drug addict knows this; so do those who are addicted to porn or those who are enslaved in their hatred towards another, as well as those who are under the burden of bitterness, etc.).

Here is a verse that we all know - even those who watch football games:

JOHN 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

GOD loves you! Even if no one else in the whole wide world ever showed you any love at all, the very fact that the Eternal GOD, Creator of heaven and earth KNOWS and LOVES you is astoundingly good news! He has loved us so very much that He gave us the greatest, most supreme gift that He in all of His Almighty abilities could possibly give to us! Look at this!

ROMANS 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You and I might be content to know the love of God for the full duration of our lives, but God isn't! He wants to have fellowship with us both now AND forever and ever in eternity! He rejoices when His children pass from this world and enters into glory where He then fellowships with them face to Face and not in a 'dim mirror reflection' as it were (See PS. 116:15; 1 COR. 13:12-13).

As a child of God, the LORD delights in revealing Himself and His Word of truth to us! See MATT. 11:25-26; also the parallel passage in LUKE 10:21. God has always shared His secrets with His beloved friends! See this other FMF article - SECRETS AMONG FRIENDS.

GOD has so thoroughly washed us from our sin, that He has seen fit to dwell in us as His very own temple! He is no longer content to visit people once a year in a temple made of stone, but is overjoyed to have intimate fellowship with His beloved by dwelling in our newly fashioned hearts (EZEK. 36:26; JN. 3:3; 1 PET. 1:23; ACTS 17:24-25; 1 COR.3:16; 6:19-20).

When God the Father looks upon us, His children (JN. 1:12-13) He sees us in the Person of Christ, and as much as He approves of His Son (MATT. 3:17), He likewise approves of us who are in Christ (1 PET. 2:5; 2 THESS. 2:13).

You are the light of God in this darkened world of sin - MATT. 5:14; PHIL. 2:15.

You are His ambassadors officially sanctioned and authorized to bring His Gospel to the lost - 2 COR. 5:20-21.

You have the Spirit of Christ in you so that by His power, not your own, you are able to do all that the LORD intends for you regarding His glorious plans tailor made just for you - 1 COR. 15:10; 1 TIM. 1:11-13; 2 COR. 12:9-10.

You are a priest of God who has the spiritual authority to pray for sinners and saints alike; by the blood of Christ you are privileged to enter into the HOLY of HOLIES (the genuine one located at the very THRONE of GOD!) and there experience fellowship with the glorious and awesome GOD of all creation! 

(On a side note (but not really 'on the side') I am blown away at the fact that I, a redeemed sinner am able to visit the throne of God and as His child in a sense, push passed powerful angelic beings who must cover themselves in their wings for all of the glories of God's majestic light and approach Him Who I call Abba - HEB. 4:16; ROM. 8:15.)

You are chosen of God as part of the generation of the righteous!
You are a member of God's Holy nation!
You are peculiar! - uh, well that's not what you think it means. Today, 'peculiar' means strange or weird. In the old English it means something highly valued and prized and therefore purchased (Although I do use this verse out of context sometimes with tongue in cheek as an excuse for my own peculiar weirdness, ha ha!)

1 PETER 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

You are a heavenly ruler in the making! The LORD God intends for us to rule and reign along with our LORD Jesus Christ, Who humbled Himself as the Supreme Servant, even providing the holy service as a sacrifice Lamb Who took away the sin of the world and because of this extreme humbling and servanthood, GOD highly exalted Him above all others! See PHIL. 2:5-11; REV. 1:6; 5:10.

NOTE: Being humble is not being self-denigrating ("I'm just the dirt under the toe nail of Christ" sort of thing); it is complete and transparent honesty before God and others. On the one hand we can humbly admit that we are sinners who in our own right are worthy of hellfire and damnation. Yet with equal humbleness we can say that we are children of God, beloved of the LORD, heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ (ROM. 8:17) by the grace of God.

If you have expressed faith in Christ and have witnessed a holy change in your life then by biblical definition you are an overcomer! - 1 JN. 5:4.

If we are considered losers as children of God, from the world's perspective; if we are rendered as worthless and such that will never amount to anything by family or (so-called) friends; if we find that we cannot do anything right, are always bungling things and see ourselves as inept - then so be it!

~ We have indeed LOST the death-saturated sins that once kept us in bondage by the grace of God!

~ We are in fact worthless to the kingdom of darkness and this fallen world of sin, both of which are on a collision course with GOD's HOLY JUDGMENT and will one day know destruction - by the way, you're in good company: this world looks at the prophets of God, the apostles of the LORD, and even JESUS Himself as worthless too!

~ If we find that we are weak, inept and never succeeding at anything we attempt, then praise GOD! We are only proving the Scripture true that in us, there indeed dwells no good thing (ROM. 7:18); may we therefore be encouraged to let the grace of GOD work through us instead of our own efforts and will power. His grace will do His work in us and HIS will be the glory as accomplished in our lives!

When it comes to godly ventures and missions of mercy and assigments of grace, PHIL. 4:13 holds true! 

PHIL. 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

So then, child of God, overcomer, prince or princess of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords; you citizen of heaven, you royal member of GOD's exclusive priesthood - the next time you fall under your previous identity, reinforced by the estimation of this world or those around you, shake that off and put back on those robes of righteousness and consider the truth of God's Word that you have read today! Regard what GOD sees you as, and no one else, according to the Truth of Scripture and your identity in CHRIST!

For more on who you are in CHRIST, please read the following from The TRUTH Under FIRESHOW ME


2 comments:

Tony Kiar said...

Praise the Lord! His work is evident in our growth in Him!

Race Hinnen said...

Praise the LORD!, for the initial and constant change that I am in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17).