Recently, I have been doing a study on our identity in Christ. It is something I’ve studied and thought often about over the years. The more we meditate on anything the more revelation we get about it. I’ve been looking at the lives of different people in the Bible and seeing how they identified with God in the situations they came up against.
Abram (exalted father) has an encounter with God and his name is changed to Abraham (father of many nations). Can you imagine calling yourself “Father of many nations” when you only had one child? Abram didn’t flinch. He called himself Abraham and became “the father of many nations’. His identity wasn’t based on his circumstances. His identity was in what God had spoken to him. Abraham believed God.
Joseph was the 11th child of Jacob. His mother had passed away and his father cherished his relationship with him and his brother, Benjamin. This made the other 10 brothers jealous, so they sold Joseph into slavery. Joseph ended up in Egypt and became a servant in Potiphar’s house. While there Potiphar flourished in every way because of God’s hand on Joseph’s life. Joseph was not bitter about what his brothers did to him. Potiphar’s wife tried to entice Joseph to have sex with her. He repeatedly told her “No”. The reason he gave was so that he would not sin against God. In spite of all that happened to him he pressed into his relationship with God. It was his identity with God that came him from sinning with Potiphar’s wife. It Is the same with us. As we identity with Christ’s death on the cross for us we flee from sin and do what is right in God’s sight.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego chose not to worship the idol of the king and they were thrown in a fiery furnace.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
They knew whom they believed in. There identity was not based on anything other than their faith in God.
As we look at the New Testament, we find Judas who chose not to embrace his identity with Jesus. He betrayed Jesus and instead of realizing he was forgiven, couldn’t forgive himself and hung himself. On the other hand there is Peter. Peter denied he knew Jesus three times in spite of the fact that people could tell he was a follower of him. After doing so, he wept bitterly and went back to fishing, but he could not stay in his self-pity and self-hatred. He responded to the call of Jesus when he saw him on the shore, was in the upper room on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved as a result of his preaching on that day. The difference between Judas & Peter was that Peter embraced his forgiveness and identified with Jesus.
The only way to true victory in this life is through embracing who God says we are in Christ. Identifying with his death, burial and resurrection makes us overcomers.
I am of God because I am his child. I have overcome because greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
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• Prayer Devotional •
What a wonderful country we live in. This Labor Day we pay tribute all those who have contributed to the social and economic growth of our country, the United States of America; producing strength, prosperity and well-being. There is a chain of authority that has been established in order to organize people to work together in unity to achieve a common goal, and mutual benefit!
As we get involved in our families, our churches, our work places, things can get a little out of hand, causing stress.
PRAYER IS A KEY TO YOUR STRESS RELEASE!
"In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people.” (Psalms 118:5-8 NLT)
Sometimes we depend so heavily on people that when things slip out of our control, we embrace bitterness and resentment towards people. You can never control the thoughts, actions and words of another, but you can submit your thoughts, words and actions to the Lord in prayer.
There is a powerful release that occurs in your mind as you submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As you come to Him in prayer, recognizing that HE IS LORD, you begin to yield your will, thoughts and confusion to Him. The Lord is our VERY PRESENT HELP in times of trouble. When we lose our patience and become overwrought with fear and worry about our futures, we are giving in to confusion and self preservation which ultimately brings destruction.
There is a fine line in our thoughts between sacrificing to achieve a goal, or submitting to the Lord for His outcome. We think that sacrificing will produce the desired effect (although we are called to sacrifice), when in fact, we should be requiring God’s will as the necessity. Jesus showed us this in the Bible when He prayed in Gethsemene, He was in great anguish, the ‘sacrifice of his life’ was not the goal, His goal was OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF THE FATHER, even if it meant sacrificing His life.
All authority was given to Jesus by the Father. The authority Jesus obtained was not to do HIS WILL, but to do the FATHER’S WILL.
That authority was later given to us as we united with Jesus, by repenting for our sin and self reliance, and transfer our trust to the Lord of All. This authority that has been given to us is used to ESTABLISH THE FATHER’S WILL ON THE EARTH!
As Mark and I read the Bible each morning, I came across this scripture in Psalms.
“Though hostile nations surrounded me, I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. Yes, they surrounded and attacked me, but I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD. My enemies did their best to kill me, but the LORD rescued me. The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done." (Psalms 118:10-17 NLT)
When we join with the Lord in prayer - no matter who or what our enemy is, no matter what the size is, no matter what the intensity is - He delivers and sets free with HIS STRONG RIGHT ARM, causing us to triumph and walk in victory! That is GOOD NEWS. Get under the AUTHORITY OF THE LORD and His leaders, and DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER! There can be no authority in our lives unless we submit to the authority of God and His ordained leaders.
Ahhhhhhh, what joy ... we reply ...
"I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory!" (Psalms 118:21 NLT)
Written by Colleen Aitkenhead. Co-pastor with her husband, Mark at Christian Family Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.