Category Archives: Spiritual Maturity

Identity Theft

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:26 (KJV)

 The recent security breach of the million dollar merchant, Target, has left many of us extremely nervous concerning identity theft.   It has become a lucrative business as personal information is illegally accessed and sold to the highest bidder whose intent is to defraud and swindle.   It is an event we pray never happen to us.   Similarly, theft of our spiritual identity can be a costly event. 

 The identity thief, in this case, is Satan.  Our true identity was established in the Garden of Eden.  There man was created in the image of God and shared unbroken fellowship with the Father.  He was given authority over all creation and total access to limitless resources (Gen. 1:28).  That was God’s identity for man—beloved creature and ruler—until his identity was “stolen” through deceit and deception.    Satan took man’s glorious identity, given by God the Creator, and robbed him of his “good name”, leaving him “spiritual bankrupt.”   Why is spiritual identity important?

First, our spiritual identity “in Christ Jesus” connects us to our source of life, God the Father.  In Christ Jesus” we are reconciled to God.  Now we are “children of God” and His “son” (John 1:12; Rom. 8:14).  Understanding our spiritual identity, we can access those rights and privileges that are rightfully our “birthright”.   Our identity, which was loss in the garden, was restored at the Cross.

 Secondarily, our spiritual identity “in Christ Jesus” replaces the distorted view we have of ourselves communicated by Satan and the world, and through unhealthy attachments and relationships.  It is here that we develop “false identities” of who we are.  These false identities leave us broken hearted and emotionally damaged.  God’s truth, our identity in Christ Jesus, is needed to replace the lies we believe (John 8:32; 10:13).

 God, in His mercy and love, sent Jesus to retrieve and strengthen our true identity that was stolen in the Garden.  “In Christ Jesus” we have been given a new name and new blessings to be enjoyed now through eternity.   Our true identity is now safe and secure, “theft resistant” because of that which Christ accomplished on the Cross.

 Good to the Last Byte…

Want to take back your identity?  REJECT Satan’s attacks on our identity in Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).  RENOUNCE Satan’s presence and power over you (James 4:7).   RECKON yourself dead to sin but alive to God (Rom. 6:11).   Actively engage in proclaiming and pursuing your true identity in Christ.  

Learning to Forgive

“…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you,  so you also must do.”   Col. 3:13 (KJV)

  To forgive is not easy.  It’s antithesis, unforgiveness, is usually  entwined with the emotions we felt (or still feel) during the original offense–anger, shame, or fear.  Regardless, it is still an expectation of God that we forgive (Matt. 6:14-15). 

 In the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus makes the point that human beings are obligated to forgive because God has forgiven them (Matt. 18:23-35).  Jesus contrasts the “forgiving” heart of the father in the prodigal son story with the “unforgiving” older son.  It is a study in the stubborn refusal to forgive that is characterized by hardness, a demand for revenge, and arrogance.  Unforgiveness often causes as much pain as the original offense. The older son’s self-justified indignation and smugness “over being right” was causing just as much pain and separation between himself and his father as was caused by his younger brother. 

 It has been said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  The damaging effect of unforgiveness is seen not only in the emotional and physical health of people but also in their broken relationship with others and God.  Forgiveness is an act of the will (versus what we feel) and as believers, we are to forgive as an act of love and obedience to the Lord (John 14:15).

 Refusal to forgive indicates a rebellious, stubborn heart that has “not drunk deeply of the water of grace and mercy at the well of God’s forgiveness” (Luke 7:47). While forgiveness is not easy, God has provided His Spirit within us to show us how we can be freed from the death grip of unforgiveness.  Ask Him to set you free.

Divine Transformation

If we want to be “divinely transformed”, we must begin with “First Things First”.  We need to build a framework of FAITH, whereby we are able to continue on the path and purpose that God has planned for us.  We must: 

 F Have Faith in the truth of the Gospel (2 Cor. 5:17). “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Faith in the gospel places the believer “in Christ,” where everything becomes new.  Your new identity is characterized by faith and solidarity with Christ in his resurrection so that “we might bear fruit to God” (Rom. 7:4b; cf. Rom. 6:1–11; Col. 3:1–4).

 I Take on the Identity of Christ (Rom. 6:6). “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Formally, the transformation by faith is immediate, but we must work to bring about changed thinking or behavior.

 R Develop a Relationship with the God of glory (2 Cor. 3:18). “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  It is being in His presence that we are changed (2 Cor. 3:18).  Your relationship with God now must takes precedence. 

 S – Strive to live as Sanctified people of God.  (Col. 2:6) “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”  We now choose a lifestyle of holiness controlled (filled) by the Holy Spirit (Col. 2:6-7) Believers are to “pursue” sanctification (Heb. 12:14). God will judge any person claiming identification with Christ while not actively engaged in pursuing sanctification (Matt. 7:21–23).

 T – Trust in the finished work of the cross (Phil. 1:6) “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  Trust is living in the light of everything that characterizes the “new man,” even if it doesn’t “feel” right. All of this is done in hope, or forward-looking faith—confidence that God will carry out his sanctifying purposes to the end.