Walking fully in our identity as Christians.
Over and over again, I find myself confronted with lies we believe. I find it in my own heart, in the hearts of my children, my husband and the women I disciple. We have so much guck in our minds that we’ve latched on to, we don’t even see or realize it.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:31-32
Sometimes it is hard to find the truth in the midst of the lies rolling around in our heads. But scripture tells us where truth is found.
- it is not found in our reasoning
- it is not found in our debating/arguing skills
- it is not found in philosophy
- it is not found in the world
Abiding in the Word of God, proving to be true disciples of Jesus, is where we find truth. And that truth will release us from the bondage of the lies and deceptions that hold us captive.
Abiding in Christ sounds nice, but what does it really mean?
This was a question I pondered a lot as a new believer. It sounded like Christian jargon to me. Abide means to dwell, to live. Pure and simple: we are called to live in Jesus. He lives in us and we are to live in Him. But I think this is deeper than we realize.
I currently live in the prairies of Illinois. I’ve also lived in New Mexico, West Virginia, Indiana, and North Dakota. I’ve dwelt in each of these places, they have been my home. But in a very real sense, they have never been a part of me. Not like my New England roots.
I’m a Yankee girl through and through. I often wonder if you slit my veins if you’d find salt water! 😀 The north Atlantic sea, the White and Berkshire mountains, the islands of Massachusetts and Rhode Island – these are in my soul.
When I think about abiding in Jesus, I don’t think about pitching a tent or buying a home in a certain place. I think about the depth of what I call home – how I identify myself. I’m not a Christian for a certain time in my life. I am forever and indelibly stamped with the image of Jesus into my cells! HE is my identity.
What does my identity have to do with how I live my life?
In a word, everything.
Many years ago there was an obituary in a Maine newspaper of a man who died at age 94. His family had moved there when he was 6 months old. The obituary read:
Mr. X resided in Maine for 94 years, but was a native of Kansas.
I found this very telling, mostly concerning how New Englanders view “outsiders”. But also the truth that claiming to live somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean that you are part of each other. For me to say I am a Christian means more than saying a prayer or walking to the altar or spending Sunday mornings in a certain building. When I say it, I mean that my entire life was changed — I gave up my citizenship in the world and took on the citizenship of heaven. I don’t hold dual citizenship, flipping from one to the other and never lining up my allegiance. I have renounced my ties, my identity with any and every thing to do with the world. I am no longer a “native of Kansas.” I am abiding fully and completely in Jesus.
- He is my home
- He is my soul
- He is my heartbeat
- He is my identity
Walking fully in that identity.
So often we walk as if we have dual citizenship. We walk with one foot in the world and one foot in heaven. We want to claim the promises of the Word but we live as if we don’t really believe them. Why is that?
Are we afraid? Afraid that God won’t follow through? That we’ll be left unsatisfied and looking (and feeling) stupid?
Evie (who discipled me through Sharron) used to say, “trusting God is following Him so far out on the branch that, if it broke, He was the only One who could catch you.” This truth has molded my faith. Do I live it faithfully? I wish I could say yes. I struggle with that fear that God will let me down. But even in that fear, I have come to the place where I KNOW there is no other place to go.
Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69
When you come to the place where you are convinced, to the very core of your being that Jesus and Jesus alone holds the Truth, Light and Life, you begin to see that we really only have one citizenship that will protect us. Learning to walk fully in our identity has to do with giving up on the lies the world (and the enemy) have told us. It’s about finding the Truth in the Word of God and letting that Truth CHANGE US!
Just like the caterpillar is changed in the chrysalis, so too we are changed at salvation.
Are we allowing the Spirit of God to fully work in us?
When the Holy Spirit works in our lives – the process of sanctification – we change. Deep, fully and eternally. Lies are exposed and removed; Truth fills that void. The Truth fills us with hope and life. We begin to walk as if this world is not our home. We cling to the spiritual and see this temporal as only a stopping place. A place where we get to live and speak Jesus to those He brings in our path. We get to ease physical suffering while addressing the spiritual suffering that goes much deeper. These are the results, the expression, of our internal change.
When we begin to walk in the fullness of our identity, the cares and lures of this world seem to have less and less impact on us. Our joy comes from the Spirit within rather than the pleasures without. It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the physical gifts and blessings God showers on us. It’s just that we see them differently and we don’t grasp them with the same fervent desire that we did before.
How are YOU walking in your identity?
What are the areas in your life when the Lord is freeing you up? What lies has He stripped away to reveal His blessed and liberating Truth? How can you be a light of hope to those around you who are walking blind and filled with fear who are longing to be free?