For The Struggling Christian: Reclaim Your Identity!
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
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As followers of Jesus, we’ve all had seasons of struggle. If you are in one now, take heart! This little booklet should bless you.
Remember that you are an overcomer; you can stand in the face of attack! Remember also that you do not war against flesh and blood—that is, people—but against the powers of darkness—Satan and his minions. (Ephesians 6)
Satan's Weapon Exposed
Satan’s methods are often subtle but can also be somewhat predictable. What he tries to do is this: he will try to steal your past, your present, and your future by lying to you. That’s basically it.
Your Past: He tries to obscure your memory of all the wonderful things God has done for you. Remember the Israelites on the other side of the Red Sea? In their frustration, they opened themselves up to the wiles of Satan, who was trying to convince them how good things were on the Egypt side of the Sea! And he tried to make them forget the numerous miracles the Lord had performed for their benefit! (Numbers 11)
Your Present: He paints worst-case pictures in your head and tries to convince you they are reality. Or he makes molehills into mountains in your eyes. Or he points to real mountains, without indicating the paths around them.
Your Future: A favorite of the enemy: he tries to steal your hope. But … you have hope!
Your first step in resisting the enemy and standing firm in your circumstances is to remember who you are in the mighty and compassionate God!
Don’t let the enemy steal your identity!
The source of the problem when we Christians have struggles in our Christian walk is that the devil, the world, or our flesh has made us lose sight of our identity in the triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The source of our ability, or privilege, to have an identity in the Trinity is the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. John 3:14 records the statement of Jesus that He “must” be lifted up—meaning that His atoning sacrifice for mankind was necessary for the payment of our sins. He came to earth to live a perfect life and then offer Himself a ransom for the many—the finished work of the cross.
Our identity in the triune God
1. Our identity with Yahweh God: Jesus taught His disciples to pray “our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Our identity with regard to Yahweh is as beloved adopted sons and daughters of our Father, the King, to whom we have access 24/7. As we grow in that identity, we become less likely to blame God for the bad things, and more likely to move in our identity as beloved children of a caring God. A good father, to be sure, must discipline his children, but he uses the least amount of force necessary for correction.
2. Our identity with Jesus: There are several aspects, but let’s focus on two of them.
a. John 15: Jesus is the true vine, God is the vine-dresser, and we are the branches. To the extent that we remain attached to Jesus, we remain strong branches and wonderful fruit happens. Jesus tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing. The critical area is the junction where the branch is attached to the vine. We all have areas of hardness there (like sap from a tree that becomes hardened, or scar tissue)—unforgiveness, ungodly anger, unbelief, pride, envy, fear, distraction, and the like. That hardness produces two bad results: we become detached from Jesus and attached to the hardness, and the health of the branch suffers, as does the fruit. The solution is not gritted-teeth determination so much as attending to “tenderizing” the attachment to Jesus, through worship, praise, gratitude, and faith, creating a welcoming environment for the Father to “prune” the hardness through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
b. Epistles of Paul: Each of us is a member of the body of Christ, with Jesus as head. We aren’t to envy the gifts of others, nor to believe that we have to do everything ourselves. We aren’t to go “Lone Ranger” and believe that it’s all about our individual relationship with God, apart from the church. The Christian faith is a “team game.”
3. Our identity with the Holy Spirit: We are the beloved beneficiaries of “the positive ministry of the Holy Spirit.” (Thanks to Andrew Wommack for the quoted term.) The Holy Spirit is our comforter and our counselor; He guides us into all truth, and provides words for us when we are at a loss; He intercedes for us when we don’t have the words in our prayers to the Father; He empowers us; and He searches the deep things of God. How often we Christians ignore the yearnings of the Holy Spirit to help us! He is in us, through us, beside us, ahead of us, and behind us. Although the Holy Spirit does not convict the believer of sin, nevertheless, He guides us into all truth, and one of those truths may well be identifying particular sins in our lives that are entangling, ensnaring, or enslaving us! He will then help us escape the bondage of those sins—IF we go to Him, ask, and listen for and heed the answer.
Conclusion: The devil tries to steal our past, our present, and our future, and he is also interested in stealing our identity. When we are engaged in struggle with him, or the wiles of the world, or the weakness of our flesh, it’s amazing how simply reflecting on our identity in the triune God is liberating, and empowers us to marshal the weapons we believers have to defeat the works of the enemy. � 2018 El McMeen