Love overcomes evil by doing good, and one of the marks of genuine love is that it is generous. Paul spells out what this looks like in Romans 12:9-21: Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not...
Are you guarding your identity?
Earlier this week, we looked at ten ways the enemy strives to steal our identity in Christ. We learned that we must preach the gospel to ourselves while resisting the enemy’s schemes to steal, kill, and destroy the security, joy, peace, and other treasures Christ secured for us through our redemption. We learned that our security starts with our entering into a relationship with Christ, abiding in Him, and yielding to His will.
Now let’s look at ten ways that we can build up and guard our spiritual identity in Christ:
1. We must first be certain that we truly are “in Christ”. Unless we have been redeemed, we are outside of Christ and in a very unsecure position. If you are uncertain about this, please talk to a Christian whom you trust, or perhaps a pastor at your church.
2. We learn what it means to be “in Christ”. To name just a few of the things that define us, we are: forgiven, righteous, alive, justified, and redeemed; loved and welcomed by God; without blemish and free from condemnation; and adopted daughters of the King. We have an eternal inheritance that can never be stolen from us!
3. We fortify ourselves by daily renewing our minds with gospel truths. We realign our thoughts with who God says we are and what we have been given in Christ. We have dignity, power, and every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3, 19; 3:16, 20-21). We have significance that comes from being God’s child (Romans 8:16; 1 Jn. 3:1-2). We have security and confidence, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:18, 35-39).
4. We remember that there is a real war going on in our minds and are intentional about putting on the armor that God has provided for our victory: His Word, prayer, and standing firm on His promises (Ephesians 6).
5. We take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). We can do this only to the degree that we know God’s Word and are able to discern truth from lies. Therefore we aim to read the Word often and with perseverance.
6. We practice submitting to Jesus Christ, Lord and Ruler of all things. As Christ submitted to His Father, even to death on a cross, we submit to the authority of God’s Word, along with the authorities He has established on earth. This is possible only when we put our hope in God’s sovereign goodness and faithfulness.
7. We practice working heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord we will receive the inheritance as our reward (Col. 3:23).
8. We pray and meditate on Jesus Christ and the gospel. We ruminate over what He has done for us, and what He will do through us, as we depend on His grace. We remember that in Him we have limitless resources to meet our deepest needs and overcome the human problem of loneliness, insignificance, and meaninglessness.
9. We memorize some of the 160 identity verses in the Bible so that the Word of God may dwell richly in us (Col. 3).
10. We praise God that we have been chosen and adopted. We praise Him that we can boldly approach the throne of grace with freedom and confidence. We rejoice that we have been given victory over our sin and that, no matter what defined us in the past, the life of Christ defines us now. In Him, there is no condemnation. We rest in knowing that the Holy Spirit guarantees our inheritance until we acquire possession of it (Eph. 1:13-14). We take heart that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand.
Paul Tripp, in his book Dangerous Calling, says, “Stop looking at yourself in carnival mirrors. Carnival mirrors give us a distortion of who we really are, and they’re everywhere we look.” The only way we’ll be able to get a clear picture of ourselves is by looking into the undistorted mirror of God’s Word where we will see an accurate picture of both God and ourselves.
Imagine if the cross of Jesus Christ was the most dominant marking of our perceived self-image. This would mean that, regardless of our circumstances, we would never doubt that we were loved. We would be so stable and confident that our emotions would not toss us around or rule over us! When we failed ourselves or others failed us, rather than responding with judgment or self-condemnation, we would remind ourselves that, in Christ, our failures no longer define us! Finally, we would not be concerned about what other people think about us and would be more concerned that they know the Good News of the gospel.
This is the identity God has purchased for those who are in His Son Jesus Christ! Let’s believe, rejoice, and walk in the reality of who we really are as servants of the living God.