Understanding Identity. Day ten...
I need a picture of what I'm putting together. Whether it's a big project or a small one, I need a picture. If there are no illustrations or photos, then I read the instructions and develop a picture in my mind.
If I don't have a vision of what I'm putting together and how it's supposed to work, I feel like I'm walking down the ridge of a roof in the dead of night.
I must have inherited this need to have a vision of the project I'm putting together from my God‐given need to have a vision of the life I'm putting together. Take a look at this need expressed in different translations:
- Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)
- When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful. (Proverbs 29:18 NLT)
- Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction. (Proverbs 29:18 NIV)
- Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. (Proverbs 29:18 AMP Bible)
A life worth living is a life worth building under the direction of God. As mentioned yesterday, it's all about vision and motion. Establish and develop a vision of this life and start moving into it.
What does it look like to establish and develop the vision of this new life, this identity in Christ?
If you are interested but don't know where to begin, let me give you an illustration that works for me but is certainly not unique to me. I take a passage (any passage) that stimulates my thinking and then I camp on it. Let's use this passage for example:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…. (2 Corinthians 10:3–5 KJV)
I look up every word in the original language (there are plenty of online resources to help with this) and just go over them and over them in my mind—building a vision or a picture of this concept so strong that God might as well have inspired me (instead of Paul) to write these words. And I translate these words into a vision I can describe from my own perspective. (You will need to translate God's words into your own personal vision based on your perspective—your culture, your history, your upbringing, your experiences, etc.).
As an example, after camping on this particular passage in 2 Corinthians, here's what I come up with:
“I may walk as a man, but I don't fight as a man. My weapons aren't the typical weapons that a man would use. My weapons, in comparison to man's weapons, are strong, powerful, and able to get the job done—always. Because my weapons are from God, they empower me to tear down anything in my life that is not of God.
“I'm pulling down and destroying any reasoning that is hostile to my faith in Christ. I'm pulling down and destroying any thing, no matter how lofty, that makes any attempt to elevate itself above God and the knowledge of Him.
“I'm bringing every one of my thoughts under control through Christ's obedience here on this earth… not through my obedience because I'm not that good… but under the perfect obedience of Christ. I can take any thought going through my head and bring it under control by requiring that thought to be accountable to Christ's obedience.”
I now have a general outline (an outline that applies to all Christians) for just one part of my identity in Christ.
And as I pray about this one aspect of my identity, God adds specific details that may apply only to me. Let's continue as I illustrate how God has personalized this concept regarding business:
“As a businessman, I no longer need to fight for every dollar. I don't need to play politics and use human methods to obtain an advantage. I don't need to be anxious about a competitor's latest attempt to gain an advantage over me. I simply don't play by those rules anymore!
“I may live in the business world, but I am no longer subject to the system. Oh, I certainly have to play by the rules that are God‐ordained (such as dealing fairly, respecting people, providing value) but I don't have to play by those rules that elevate themselves above God.
“I don't have to use the business weapons that man has developed on his own, without God. I've got better weapons available. For instance, I can get favor where needed using God's weapons that I could never get on my own no matter how much politicking I did.”
The example I've given you is not made up for the sake of discussion.
It is an actual representation of the process I went through to discover just one aspect of my identity in Christ. And every day I continue this discovery process. I encourage you to do the same.
Actually, I beg (yes, it's important enough for me to beg) you to intentionally pursue a vision of your identity in Christ, through time with God in study and prayer. You can open the Bible to almost any page and start.
Since this may seem a lot like work and not much like entertainment, you might ask, “Where's the motivation to do it?” Just make yourself dig until you find a little treasure. As you begin to uncover an identity that gives you freedom and effectiveness beyond anything you can imagination, you will be back for more.
Have a good day,