My True Identity in Christ
Like a father saving his child from a burning building, Jesus grabbed me, and, as we began to rise, I saw Him reach deeply into His chest and pull out His heart that contained His mind (thoughts), feelings, and will for my life (1 Cor. 2:16), and place it deeply within me.
HOW GOD SHOWED ME MY TRUE IDENTITY IN CHRIST
Have you ever stumbled across a phrase, or sentence, or even a movie (Finding Nemo was a huge one for me), that finally took what you had been carrying in your head, sometimes for years, and placed it directly into your heart? Recently, that happened to me. I was reading about how we died in Christ and became a new creation (Gal. 2:20) and, suddenly, I came upon a simple question that changed my life forever.
I became a Christian in August 1988. As a baby Christian, I was fortunate to find a ministry called, Lifetime Guarantee. The founders, Bill and Anabel Gillham, had a way of explaining the things of God in a simple, relatable way, with humor and practical examples. It was exactly what I needed. I attended their basic seminar and, subsequently, bought the corresponding set of tapes (no CDs in those days). I was eager to get this teaching inside of me, so I continued studying and listening, and managed to wear out two sets of the same tapes. I then purchased the advanced seminar set, and continued with the same gusto. From that effort, God blessed me with a good understanding of who I was in Christ, and how to live a victorious Christian life. I knew I had a solid foundation upon which to build. Remember, this was twenty-six years ago. Little did I know that much of what I had learned was still in my head.
Are you wondering why I’m telling you all this. Here’s why. A simple, little question that I read in a book, the name of which I cannot even remember, changed my life forever, and I’m hoping it will change yours, too. You never know when, or where, or by what vehicle God will reveal the very thing you may have been waiting years to hear. If you wake up every morning anticipating and expecting a breakthrough, your attitude of a same old life will change to a daily adventure with Christ. You will become a true God-chaser who lives from glory to glory as God molds you into the image of Christ. (2 Cor. 3:18)
Here’s the rest of the story! It was sometime in September 2009 when I read this book about dying in Christ on the cross, and rising in Him as a new creation. Much to my surprise, in between the dying and rising up, appeared this life-changing question:
WHICH ONE OF YOU HAS THE POWER TO GET OUT OF THIS GRAVE?
I had to think about it a while to get the full implication. Here’s the mental process that started me on the proverbial 18” journey from my head to my heart.
In order to personalize and own this supernatural phenomenon, I had to see it as something God did just for me; no one else was there. It was just Jesus and me, and I suggest you do the same. My inward dialog went something like this, “Since Jesus is the only one of us Who has resurrection power, I’m a dead goose; I’m stuck down here; I can’t get out in my own strength. Now, what am I going to do?”
Part of my early teaching imparted a clear (as is humanly possible) understanding of how God operates outside the time dimension, and I knew He did a whole lot of things, like choosing me in Christ, before He ever said, “Let there be light.”
Check it out...
Ephesians 1:4-NLT. (Scripture appears in bold text)
4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ [underline my emphasis] to be holy and without fault in his eyes. [My comment: Since I was in Christ before God made the world, then, when Christ showed up on planet earth, I was in Him. It also means that when He began His ministry, I was in Him; and when He willingly placed Himself on the cross, I was in Him, too.
This is what happened next:
Galatians 2:20-NLT. (Scripture appears in bold text)
20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. [My comment: I was in Him on the cross, and when He died, I died, and so did the power of sin in my life. The “old man”, or sin nature, is dead, and I don’t have to sin anymore (Colossians 1:13 CEV)! So, when He was buried, I was buried. But wait a minute! Since He’s the only one Who has resurrection power, how am I going to get out of this grave?
Like a father saving his child from a burning building, Jesus grabbed me, and, as we began to rise, I saw Him reach deeply into His chest and pull out His heart that contained His mind (thoughts), feelings, and will for my life (1 Cor. 2:16), and place it deeply within my human spirit. With power greater than that of a rocket ship on the launch pad (His Resurrection Power), we shot up out of that grave, and, instantly, I became a new creation in Christ Jesus. [1 Pet. 1:3]; It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God,... [My comment: By faith, I believe that it is actually the life of Christ, in the form of the Holy Spirit, that is working through me]. That is when I BECAME Galatians 2:20!
I believe, by faith, that, "I can’t even tie my shoes”* without Christ doing it through me. Simply stated, there’s only one Person Who can live the Christian life, and that’s Jesus Christ living His life through us.*
Put your thinking cap on now and follow me carefully. We are three-part beings; spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23), made in the image of God (Gen. 2:7; John 4:24). The part of you that looks like God is your born-again spirit. Salvation "married" our human spirits to the Holy Spirit, and the essence of God, Jesus, and all His spiritual blessings were released into our human spirits and then sealed (like a sealed jar where the good stays in and the bad stays out) for all eternity within us, right now! (1 John 4:17). Think about this a moment... There must be a part of you that remains perfect in order for the Holy Spirit to reside within you. Where is it? It's the sealed unit that was created the moment you said yes to Christ as life. We have the power and ability within us. The Holy Spirit resides in our sealed, born-again human spirit and wants to be released through our unique personality, our soul, and be expressed out of our body to a hurting and dying world. That’s the only life I have* - His life - and that’s the only life you have, too. Please pray and ask for revelation of what you have just read.
My dear brother or sister, make this personal. He would have gone to the cross if you were the only one in this world. That’s how much He loves you. Step out in faith, today, and begin the most exciting journey of your life - the 18 inches from your head to your heart. To God be all the glory!
*Bill Gillham, Lifetime Guarantee