Confidence (Identity in Christ Part 4)

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, 1 Peter 2:9.

Who is the most dangerous Christian in the eyes of the enemy? The one who knows who they are and who they belong to. Since the devil can’t steal our salvation, he tries to make us weak and wimpy, fearful and worried, or overly preoccupied with what people think. He consistently attacked Jesus’ identity. If you are the Son of God, then do this? The Pharisees continually asked Jesus, “Who do you think you are?” It all boils down to one thing, identity. If we don’t know who we are, we will look for things outside God to find significance; people, careers, ministry, appearance, social media, family, etc…. The truth is confidence in who we are in Christ is from God. Self loathing and low self-worth are from the enemy. We are the weapons on this planet that were set up to destroy the works of the enemy, yet we cower from him and people.

What is Confidence?

I have heard Eric Johnson describe confidence this way. Confidence is a right assessment of oneself in relation to God. It is agreeing with what God says and feeling good about who you are in Christ, in your God-given identity.

No Confidence =

  • We don’t risk much. We are so afraid of pride or failure; we don’t take risks. We struggle believing God’s words about us and settle for our own. Here’s an example from my life. When God said, “Go teach the gospel,” I responded with, “I am not a teacher. I haven’t been to seminary. Can you send someone else?” Somewhere inside we think we are being humble, when it’s really pride. All the while God is saying, “It’s not about you. It’s about who I am in you. Now go.” So off I went, unqualified by man, but called by God.
  • We get beat up in spiritual battles. Jesus rested in storms. He wasn’t unsettled, unnerved, or worried. He knew who He was and what He could do. He wasn’t afraid. He spoke to the problem and went back to sleep. He didn’t fight with the devil, He used the Word against him. He didn’t strive. He walked in peace.  I’m reminded of the scripture, “Cease striving and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10. I, unlike Jesus, can get really unsettled or overly concerned. It’s because in those moments I have forgotten who I am and whose I am. It’s something God is still working on in my life.
  • What will people think of me. Who cares. We aren’t living for them. Let people think what they want. So what if people think you’re arrogant.  “Confidence can look like arrogance to the unbelieving,” Bill Johnson.  If I don’t believe I am highly valued by God, then I will be offended by others who do. If I don’t believe I have a lot to offer or gifts from God, then I will be offended by those that do. If I am insecure, then a confident person will seem arrogant to  me. Insecurity keeps us offended because we don’t realize how valuable we are. There is only one secure identity, in Christ. And it is one of nobility. So, my friends, hold you head up high. It’s not about us. It’s about who we belong to, and oh how He loves us. Plus we will never please everyone. It’s much easier to live in God’s already given approval.
  • We don’t trust God to do great things for us. When we know we are co-heirs with Christ, we expect to share His inheritance. It is a gift. God has gifts stored up for us. When I am at my dad’s house, I eat what I want. I don’t beg. I ask, and know he will give me what I ask for. I even eat off his plate. He’s my dad. I am his daughter. Everything he has, he longs to share with me. God is more generous than my earthly dad.

What’s the Difference Between Confidence vs. Arrogance (Eric Johnson). A confident person is looking for what they can give or contribute. A confident person uses what they know and have to help other people. An arrogant person is looking for what they can gain for themselves. An arrogant person uses what they know or what they have to make themselves better or appear better.

Here’s a practical example. The Queen of England is the queen. She is royalty. She has certain rights. She is noble. What if she refused her assignment saying, “I am not a queen. I am poor and lowly. I can’t do that. I can’t be queen.” Well, she is the Queen whether she walks in her identity or not. She is noble whether she acts like it or not. We are royalty, not paupers. We have been given the King’s name and a new identity.

“Abba I pray you would remove any lies that keep us from being confident in You. It’s not about us but about who You are in us. May we be the biggest threat against darkness, and do all You have placed us here to do. You love us. We are Your children.”

Identity Crisis (Identity in Christ Part 3)

 

 

I am American. I am a woman. I am a daughter and sister. I am Scientist and Engineer. I am a worshiper, artist, and singer. All those statements are correct. However my true identity is a child of the King. Most people will tell you about their earthly citizenship. If we are a follower of Christ, we have a heavenly identity that is the most secure identity. Let’s look at Paul’s instruction.

Philippians 3: 12-21

12b I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Following Paul’s Example

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Paul was speaking in the previous passage about all the things that made him a model citizen, but none of those things made him right in the eyes of God. We are citizens of this world, but our eternal citizenship is in heaven. If we live from our true identity we don’t have an identity crisis. Many of us walk around unsure of who we are, what we can do in Christ, how valuable we are, and what we have access to as God’s child. We can live with only this earthly life in view struggling with our identity. Here are some examples.

1. People strive to be successful thinking that if they are, they will be more valuable. The truth is every person is already valued in heaven. God views success very differently than we do. God defines success as being faithful. Are we faithful to do what He says and faithful over what He’s given us. See passages on the talents, Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28. God expects us to use what we are given.  We can be rich, respected, and successful and it does not make us more valuable to God. We have the highest value we can obtain in our identity in Christ.

2. People strive to have the perfect body, image, or looks. The truth is that every person is beautiful in the eyes of God. He made all things and people beautiful. Obtaining the perfect body, image, or looks does not make a person more valuable. God is so creative that He refused to make every person look the same. Every person is made in God’s image and the delight of His heart.

3. People strive to please God, instead of living loved by God. It’s easy to get caught up serving God and find identity in doing for God. Our identity cannot be in serving, ministry, or doing for Him. Our identity is in Christ and from that identity we serve, minister, and do things for God. He does not value us more for doing things for Him. Also if our service is out of obligation, it’s not from a pure heart. In Christ we are 100 percent approved of already.

4. People find their identity in their marital status, family, or relationships. In heaven none of those things make a person more valuable. God doesn’t look over at the angels and say, “Hey that’s John’s mom or dad, or Jack’s wife, or Susie’s best friend.” The relationships we use to find our identity and worth are not what God uses. Our marital status, family, or friend relationships are not our true identity. They do not make us more valuable.

5. People find their identity in the things of this world. This world will pass away and only God’s Kingdom will remain. Our identity in Christ will not change.

6. People find their identity in other people’s opinions of them. God doesn’t take a survey of other people opinions. People pleasing, allowing others to label us, and living under the umbrella of others opinions leads to idolatry. We either live for an audience of One or worship the opinions of people. If we live by the applause of people, we will die by their criticisms.

7. People find their identity in what they do. This does not just apply to occupation. It applies to not so positive things as well. People will say, “I am loser,” defining their worth by what they do or have done. People say, “I am an angry person or type A personality or …fill in the blank.” Labels limit what we can do. The way we see and define ourselves is important. If we see ourselves differently, we will behave differently. Also God doesn’t define us by our shortcomings, “That’s impatient Patty and angry Anita.” In Christ we are covered by the blood of Jesus. He looks at us through the finished work of the cross. He says, “That’s My child.” He doesn’t approve of everything we do, but He continues to love us. Our do (what we do) does not define our who (who we are in Christ).

You get the idea. If we are followers of Jesus, then our identity is only secure in Him. In Him we are forgiven, loved, cared for, accepted, chosen, set apart, and valuable. May we not have an identity crisis. Our lives are hidden in Christ.

No one could replace you. tumblr image.

Heirs to the Throne (Identity in Christ Part 2)

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

1 Peter 2:4-10

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

will never be put to shame.”

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected

has become the capstone,”

and, “A stone that causes men to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory, Romans 8:17.

But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree–some of the people of Israel–have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree, Romans 11:17

Being God’s child and living in the covenant of His love brings tremendous blessings. Many people spend their lives believing God wants them to have a low opinion of themselves or they are to suffer through life. Part of being a child is being adopted, grafted into a new family; a Royal Family. When a skin graft is performed skin is removed from one area of the body and placed on another part of the body. They become one. The part that was grafted in begins to merge. God does not become like us. We become more like Him. We become a new creature in Christ. We become a beloved child reconciled to the Father. Hearing those things, how does that make you feel? Does it make you feel differently about who you are? In the eyes of God, you are a child, a co-heir with Christ, a chosen person, a royal priesthood, etc…You are not more than or less than anyone else. You hold your own special place in God’s heart.

Key Notes About Nobility.

1. Nobles have been known to have pure blood. They have been able to trace their bloodline back generations. In Christ you are made new by the blood of Christ. You are considered a family member of Jesus by the Spirit of God. Your sins have been wiped clean.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! ~2 Corinthians 5:17.

2.Nobles have certain privileges. In Christ you may go boldly before the throne of God, Hebrews 4:16. You have been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Jesus, Ephesians 1:3.  You may ask God for what your heart desires. You are a beloved child. I expect my earthly father to respond when I ask for something I want, God is better than any earthly father. He may say no to requests that may harm us, but mostly He is generous. You may also boldly ask God to do things for others or the world; it’s called intercession.

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13.

3. Nobles walk in their identity. I’ve heard so many Christians speak poorly of themselves and call it humility. It’s not humility. It’s saying that God makes junk and that the finished work of Jesus on the cross wasn’t enough to transform us. We were made new, and we are being transformed into His likeness.  Knowing who we are in Christ should not make us arrogant, but cause us to worship Him more. We rest in knowing that any good in us comes from God alone.

4. Nobles honor others. Part of nobility is treating others with dignity, respect, and kindness. Jesus had some moments with people that we would consider unkind (ex. rebuking the Pharisees), however God knows the heart of every person. Sometimes a rebuke is needed. Mostly throughout scripture we see Jesus displaying kindness and honor (ex. the Samaritan woman, and dealing with the woman caught in adultery). “Honor is what we give away because of who we are,” Danny Silk.

5. Nobles are concerned with justice and executing proper justice. The more time we spend with God the more fully we become in tune with His heart. He is not only perfect in love and mercy, God is perfect in Justice. He cares about the poor, widows, orphans, homeless, fatherless, hurting, sick, oppressed, and works through His children to bring justice to earth. You and I are partners with Him to bring justice.

So after reading these things do you see yourself differently? You have a special place in God’s Kingdom. You are not a worm on the floor in the palace. You are a beloved child. You are important to God. Some application questions to think about.

1. How can knowing who I am in Christ help me to fulfill God’s purpose for my life?

2. How can I honor others so they see God more clearly?

3. How can I partner with God for justice in the world?

4. What lies have I believed about who I am and how can I replace those lies with truth?