In order to walk in our real identity in Christ, we must rely on it as Fact regardless of our outer circumstances or inner soul-storms. But first let’s get the Facts straight; What does God say about our real identity?
I’m a child of God, John 1:12.
I have been justified and redeemed, Rom 3:24.
I am holy, Rom 11:16. I am righteous and holy, Eph 4:24.
I am a son of God; God is literally my Dad, Rom 8:14, 15, Gal 3:26, 4:6.
I have been freed from sin’s power over me, Rom 6:7.
My old man was crucified with Christ, Rom 6:6, and now I am a new creation, 2Co 5:17.
I am dead to having to earn God’s acceptance, or His sanctification, by my performance or my human effort, Rom 7:4.
I have been given the mind of Christ, 1Co 2:16.
I am a temple or house of God; the Holy Spirit lives in me, 1Co 3:16, 6:19, Christ Himself lives in me, Col 1:27, and He is now my life, Col 3:4. I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, Gal 2:20.
I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven, Eph 2:6.
I have been given a spirit of power, love, and discipline, 2Ti 1:7.
I am an enemy of the devil; he is my adversary, 1Pet 5:8.
In Christ all the Godhead lives in bodily form, and I am filled full in Him, Col 2:9-10.
Satan has tried to duplicate this in the world, but since there is no basis for his identity statements it’s all shadow and chimera in the end (“Because I’m good enough, and smart enough, and doggone it, people like me”). These Biblical truths I’ve listed are just a few of God’s Facts about believers in Jesus Christ. There are many more in the Word, but having the wrong Tree in our minds filters the information; we skip right over the “being” verses to the “doing” ones. We might go for years seeing that Jesus paid our sin debt but never really see that we are indwelt by Him, that He is our life. So there we go, trying to be like Jesus, trying to work for God.
When I first began to learn these truths in the mid 1990s I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil as God shook what can be shaken. I wrote many such verses on 3×5 cards and carried them in my back pocket; when it seemed as though all the world, my flesh, my mind, and the devil were saying the opposite about me, I grabbed on and wouldn’t let go. I had to fight to win the truths, and in any area where I’ve not appropriated Christ as my life there is a fight ahead.
For that is just exactly what happens – a faith-battle. We are reprogramming our worldly thinking that says, “I must become someone! I must make something of myself! I’ve got to try to be like Christ! I have to win souls for the Kingdom of God!” Note the pronouns.
In reality it all begins and ends with Christ. In the end we’ll be “casting down our golden crowns around the glassy sea” at His feet, because He’s the real Worker in us, the real Overcomer, the Man in us.
So we take these truths and eat them daily. We take them by faith because God says they are Facts. This mind renewal is a process; there will be days where it seems as though nothing is “happening,” that “this can’t be true.” But if our eyes are continually on our actions to see, “Is it working?” we’re not really relying on the Answer; we’re questioning whether it’s true and whether it “works.” We’re plugged back to the wrong Tree: “My actions determine my identity.” We’re really saying, “Lord, I see these truths, but before I really believe them, prove it in my behavior.”
It sure would be nice, but it doesn’t work that way. Faith is always plugged in first; before the air compressor kicks in we’ve got to connect it to the outlet. This is how God has designed us. Faith in what? In faith? No. The power is in God Himself, God’s Reality; the power outlet is His Word. The Word is the interface through which we can plug into true Reality.
If you begin to grab these truths and appropriate them for your own, renewing your mind daily, it will transform you over time, area after area. But don’t think the world around you will applaud you and believe with you. A few mature believers might, but the rest of the world through their own unbelief will attempt to keep you in the same consciousness you’ve always had. It might be your boss, or your co-workers, or even your spouse. Of course it won’t be intentional, but they will have the Thomas attitude: “I’ll believe it when I see it.” The rest of the world is going to be looking at your actions to determine your identity, because that’s how the world thinks, and even many believers are caught up in its thinking.
Some days it is going to be a big fight of faith in you. The storms of your own soul will scream at you that none of this is true. Say these truths again and again. Don’t try to believe them. Simply, humbly, with childlike faith, believe them, say them, confess them. Know they are fact, because the Fact of the ages lives in you and has spoken out your identity through His Word.
After a time of faith-stretching, faith-testing, the Holy Spirit will manifest these truths in you as reality, first in your spirit as a knowing rises in you, next in a particular area of your psyche and thought life, and then through your body in your actions. That’s how this operates, from the inner to the outer. Sometimes during this process it can seem as though we’re getting worse in our behavior – but that’s because God is drawing out the hidden, subconscious sins that are blocking the flow of His Spirit through a particular area of our psyche. Remember that it is not you, the real You in Christ, but some form of sinful independent-self thinking which has a foothold in some area of your psyche.
That’s why we don’t start with the outer form, our actions, our behavior, to determine our identity. That is a big mistake; it short circuits our real identity, and keeps us from living out all of God’s true purposes for our lives. If we want power, abundant life, and rivers of living water flowing through our inmost being to others, here is the Center: Christ and Christ alone, in me, through me, as if it were me living. We faithe in Him, in us, to live through us – as us. And we trust that He is sufficient for the job, and willing to do it, because that is what God is all about – redemption, restoration, wholeness; not someday way up in the sky but here and now.
God doesn’t desire that we grasp our real identity simply to feel good about ourselves. We’re to know who we are in Christ so we can forget about ourselves and get on with the family business of loving God and loving others through the abundant overflow of Christ within us.
Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he’s not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin’ on audiences around the world, he’s taking care of his donkey named “Trash” and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.