Saturday, 5 January 2013

YOUR IDENTITY AS A CHRISTIAN


Who am I, why am I here, what is God’s will for my life? These are very tangible questions on the lips of many. The defining moment in every person’s life is when an answer for the identity question is found.
OUR IDENTITY IS IN JESUS CHRIST
  • In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:4-5).
  • For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:9-10).
  • I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me… the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
  • For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (Act 17:28).
“In Him…In Me…In Whom” are some of the fascinating phrases in scriptures that powerfully describe who we are as believers.

Our identity as believers is in Christ. This is not another psychology or self-help theory. Psychology and self-help attempts to deal with our emotions—but in Christ, the target is our spirit—described by Paul as the inner man (the hidden man)—the real us.

We are nothing—absolutely nothing outside of Christ. Our education, our careers, our family backgrounds, our achievements and medals if any are all “sinking sand” without Christ. He clearly and emphatically stated: “… without me ye can do nothing.”

In Christ we are anchored from the storms of life. The storms will come, the challenges will follow: but we are unmovable, unshakable and grounded in His everlasting love.

  • Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock (Luke 6:47-48).
We are in for great exploits if we settle our identity in Christ and walk in it. See some of the specific “things” we are In Him.

·       WE HAVE LIFE (John 1:4-5)
  • In Him was life; and the life was the light of men [and women]. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Life—essence, fulfilment, purpose, meaning, satisfaction and above all eternal life are all guaranteed IN HIM.
Jesus is the embodiment of life. John 1:3 says it well: “…without Him was not anything made that was made.

·       WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD 

  • Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
  • As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 8:12).
Plain truth—outside of Christ, life is full of darkness: confusion, frustration, hopelessness and emptiness —but In Him—our life is filled with light—glory, radiance, illumination, understanding, wisdom, direction and confidence. Because we carry the life of Christ, we are also to be a source of light to other people—our light should illuminate other lives that are dark. So long as we represent Christ on earth we are the light of the world.

  • Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven ( Matthew 5:14-16).
The life of Christ in us serves as a light which brightens our path.
  • …the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble ( Proverbs 4:18-19).
  • Thy word [life] is a lamp [light] unto my feet, and a light unto my path( Psalm 119:105).
The light of Christ in us is a mystery to the kingdom of darkness—the kingdom of darkness doesn’t understand the light we carry— “…the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5). We confuse the kingdom of darkness with the light we carry; that is why the kingdom of darkness always seeks for an opportunity to destroy a child of God. We carry light: when we manifest darkness is dispelled.

Don’t settle for lies and intimidation from Satan. Our life is hidden in Christ—we are beyond the reach of the kingdom of darkness. We are indeed mysteries to the kingdom of darkness. We are dead, yet living. When Christ was crucified, we were crucified with Him. When He resurrected, we resurrected with Him—are we not mysterious?
  • For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).
  • 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).
Rise up and let your light shine:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising (Isaiah 60:1-3).
Naturally, light dispel darkness and so do Christians; we chase and drive away darkness. Hence evil, sin and wickedness should not prevail in our lives.

·       IN HIM WE ARE COMPLETE
  • For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:9-10).
Jesus the son of God walked on earth as a human being and in Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (vs 9). This means Jesus was carrying in Him or in His body the fullness of divine power, life, essence, attributes, nature and character of God. When Christ walked on earth the whole of the divine nature was deposited in Him—He was full of the Godhead—God the Father and God the Holy Spirit—and bodily [God the Son]. 

Now when we believe Christ, we become complete in him…(vs10). Understanding this should sustain us for the rest of our lives. Complete in Him? Wow! Jump back to vs 9 where the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus. Mind blowing! If we are complete in Christ, it follows from vs 9 that in us also dwells the fulness of the Godhead— Am I peddling blasphemy? Of course not: 

  • Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16).
  • In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22).
  • And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace (John 1:16).
  • And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
  • Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23).
·        IN HIM WE HAVE POWER

  • But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you (Acts 1:8)
If we are the temple of the living God; then we have power—not just any power, but the power of God that is far above principalities and powers. 

Dunamis! That is the Greek word translated as power in the scripture above. It literally means the “ability to do”. This means the power of God within us gives us the ability to do.  The power of God within us makes us:

CREATIVE
  • In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
As Christians indwelt by the power of God, we have to be creative and make things happen. God’s creative power comes through Faith. The world should be a better place because of us. We should be problem solvers. We have to preserve a flavour on earth by our relationship with God.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men ( Matthew 5:13).

EXCELLENT
  • Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey (Psalm 76:4).
If our God is excellent and our body is His dwelling, then we must also exhibit a spirit of excellence. Mediocrity must not be mentioned among us who believe in Christ. Everything we do should carry with it an excellent spirit.
…an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel …(Daniel 5:12).

WISE
  • Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:17).
Our God is a wise God so we also have to exhibit wisdom. Wisdom is just “a asking away”. Just ask:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5). Wisdom also comes by studying the word of God.
  • The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple (Psalm 19:7).
HOLY
  • But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
PROSPEROUS
  • But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:18).
We can’t talk about the power of God and not talk about wealth. Wealth is prosperity, affluence, riches and blessings. Prosperity is a controversial topic in Christendom today. Some believe the prosperity message has been blown out of proportion. Well, probably it’s because the poverty mentality was also blown out of proportion when sometime past Christianity was equated to poverty.

There is a world out there to be reached for Christ and no matter how anointed we are: our impact will be minimal if we don’t have access to finances. But the quest for wealth should not be our first priority. The first priority should be:
Seek[ing] first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness… (Matthew 6:33).
The effects of God’s power on our lives are unlimited—the list cannot be exhausted. We exhibit miracles, signs and wonders, and we declare the good works of the Lord by the power of God. We also

BEAR FRUIT
  • Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:4-5)
In Christ we are FRUIT BEARERS—we get things done: we produce results, we affect lives, we change lives, we impact generations and we have success in whatever we do.

The only condition for fruit bearing is to remain In Him. We cannot by ourselves get things done.
 This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it (Zachariah 4:6-7).
No amount of trying can make us fruitful—if we want to bear fruit in our walk with God, we have to remain in the vine. To remain in the vine is to trust and obey.
  • Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil ( Proverbs 3:5-7)
  • Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3).
IN HIM… ( Acts 17:28)
  • “…We live, and move, and have our being….”
It is only in Christ that WE ARE WHAT WE ARE.

I have already discussed our completeness in Him but will want to reiterate again the point that everything we will ever be or become is in Christ—we are absolutely nothing without Him. Those are not my words or interpretations. They are the very words of the Saviour: “Without me you can do nothing.”
Let’s settle this once and for all. Our relationship with Christ is not mechanical, it is not formulas, neither is it rules nor regulations— it is a relationship bigger than “do’s and don’ts”—it is beyond religion. It is life.
Our relationship with Him is our very life. Our existence and essence of life is drawn from Him.
Always remember that we are absolutely nothing by ourselves.
  • …because [He] live, ye shall live also (John 14:19c).
  • …by the grace of God I am what I am… (1 Corinthians 15:10).