Understanding Identity. Day nine...
“Feed a cold. Starve a fever,” is a familiar home remedy, and one that's easy to follow. If you have a cold, eat—even when you don't feel like it. If you have a fever, don't eat—even when you do feel like it. We have all kinds of proverbs to help us keep a simple focus on what we are trying to deal with.
I think Christians need a new proverb to help us keep a simple focus on discovering our identity: “Feed the new person you've become. Starve the old person you used to be.” When he or she is born‐again, every new Christian, in my opinion, needs to be taught this proverb.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)
So how do we move into this new identity—this new life in Christ?
And what is this new life anyway?
It's all about vision and motion.
Establish and develop a vision of this new life, and start moving into it. And when your focus is totally on this new identity in Christ, you will starve the old identity by sheer neglect.
Whether you've been a Christian all of your life or just since yesterday, if you've never thought about feeding your new life in Christ and starving the person you used to be, this is for you. Why?
If you haven't deliberately been feeding your new identity—for years or for hours—then you've inadvertently been feeding your old identity.
The identity we live under has everything to do with our progress.
If we're not intentionally living with our identity in Christ, then we are unintentionally living under some assumed identity that circumstances, and the people behind those circumstances, have put on us. It's true. It may sound strange to you, but it's true. It may be an unfamiliar concept, but it's true.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
How strange is this passage anyway? It does not compute with intellect alone. How do you die and still live? How do you live in the flesh by faith?
As your understanding of identity develops this passage will come alive, and bring life you never thought possible to your relationship with God. I guarantee it—and so will anyone else who is deliberately and intentionally pursuing his or her identity in Christ.
So how do we start?
We start by developing a vision of our identity.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:16 KJV)
To paraphrase what God is saying to us: “Don't listen to or take seriously the words of people who are speaking a vision to you that's not from Me. Whatever they tell you—if it's from their own heart—will make you empty on the inside.”
How do we know what is not from God?
We develop the ability to know what is not from God by learning what is from Him. And this means time—time spent with God in both studying His Word and in prayer. The time we spend with Him in His Word shapes our overall identity, and the time we spend with Him in prayer shapes our specific identity.
Very practical, nuts and bolts stuff… nothing here to attract us like some rockin' worship service or some inspiring message… nothing that is until we realize we're uncovering treasure.
However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:7 AMP Bible)
If you struggle to find the motivation to take the time to study the Bible and pray, this is the motivation. Unlocking the identity God has for you will provide you with plenty of incentive to keep coming back for more.
Every time you study and consider a promise from God, and then ask God how it applies to your life, you are allowing a vision of your true identity to develop. And as you begin to discover and experience that identity, you will indeed keep coming back for more.
Have a good day,