When we begin to faithe in our true identity in Christ, that we are kings, priests, holy, beloved, having no more neediness but having everything we need for life and godliness in Christ who dwells in us, we step into “a great fight of afflictions.” Our false self, that collection of fears and ungodly ways of coping with life, begins to fall off like old grave clothes.
Quite often the people around us – family, friends, co-workers – will subconsciously try to keep us in the old, false self. We might think that they would be thrilled to see us change and not be emotionally dependent on them. But bear in mind that these people have learned to cope with us, as we have learned to cope with them, by the machinery and devices of the false self – passive-aggressiveness, aggressiveness, manipulation, control, fear, etc. They will fight to keep the old order; if we have been enslaved to needing their approval, or of lording it over them, we can be sure it will not be easy to extricate ourselves from the tangle. Most people dislike change.
But change we must, if we are to be everything Jesus Christ means us to be. This change of course does not come about by trying to change, but by abiding – resting, trusting, relying on Christ within us as the source and ground of our being. If we are “complete in Christ” and have “everything we need for life and godliness” in Him, what do we need from other people? What can they offer to those who have everything necessary and complete?
When they sense we are no longer operating on the ground of neediness the heat often gets turned up; they’re looking for their own coping mechanisms to work.
This is the cocoon from which we must emerge. Just as we received Christ by faith, so this struggle is by faith; it is the faith-labor by which we enter His rest. It is meant to be exactly what it is; people are meant by God to wrap us in this cocoon of their own thinking, their own ways, their own desires, their own coping mechanisms; it is God-ordained that we struggle to emerge from this cocoon. This makes us strong in faith and enables us to fly.
So if you have begun to step out in faith by relying on your real identity in Christ, do not be confused or angry or disheartened; be encouraged. Things often have to get worse before they get better; the way to renovate a house or room is often to first put it in seeming chaos, to pull things off the wall, to knock walls down, to take doors off, to strip the carpet. The house may not like this stripping, but it’s the only way to remodel and restructure the house.
We will feel this stripping in our life as God shows us who we really are in Him – that the new creation “I” does not need to puff or raise itself up on human approval or love.
That new creation you, in Christ, can fly. Don’t hold Him to the ground by caving in to the subtle manipulations, control, and fears of others; trust Him in you, continuing in patient faith. And by faith don’t retaliate; if they are not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit themselves, they are doing as they must. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That Spirit of forgiveness and love is Who lives in us.
Christ in a man is a majority.
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.