In my last post I discussed how what we believe about our real identity impacts our lives. These impacts can be destructive or constructive.
The good news is that we can find a foundation for our identity based on what God says about us and that will empower a life of power and joy. It is no empty set of promises and blind faith. Instead, it resonates from within where the Holy Spirit is at work.
If we base our identity in our gender or history or race or community or accomplishments or reputation or number of Facebook followers or what others say or by some expert, then we will find the end to be destructive. Why?
Because each of these change day by day and minute by minute. We are trying to build a foundation for our life on what Jesus would call “sand”. Matthew 7:26-29
But if we base our identity in God’s word, Jesus’s actions and the Holy Spirit’s presence we will find a new freedom and live life more abundantly. Yet that is no easy task. It is clear that we are often like reeds swayed by the wind.
We shift. We waver. We question. We doubt. We say our identity is that. But we live like it is this. We think we believe we are this or that but find ourselves sliding into a fluid sense of identity. And it hurts that life is hard. Problems, pressures, and the challenges of life tend to push us off our carefully balanced position of identity. As we fall from our identity position, we then grasp for something or anything to arrest us.
That grasp often leads to a lesser identity that will soon fail us (I’m a good person… I’m a rebel… I’m smarter than others… I’m worthless… I’m an accident…). Even as professed Christians, we often claim our identity is based on God’s word. Yet how quick we are to lose our balance and grasp some lesser and false identity.
Why is this? Because we are in a war for our identity.
Every day our identity is being attacked by our old nature and the accuser.
Every day our identity is being attacked by our old nature and the accuser. Both influences work through our feelings to bring doubt, devalue our identity and move us away from the life God created to enjoy. They offer cheap, substitute identities which devalue us, cause confusion, destroy relationships and lead us to a sense of despair.
But the identity God wants for you is so different. Our true identity, in Christ, elevates us and defines our relationships with God, our old nature, other people, Satan, nature, work, etc. This identity is constructive. It builds us up, clarifies questions, encourages us, is not affected by circumstance or emotions and it is an identity that the Holy Spirit (living inside us) confirms within. John 14:16 John 14:26-27 Romans 8:11
The good news is that in the Kingdom of God, there is a provision to meet this challenge and give us a growing victory over it. With practice and time, we can experience and maintain our identity in Christ despite the challenges of life. Paul, the Apostle clearly understood this. Romans 7:22-23 Romans 8:14-17
Others constantly challenged his identity and yet He grew increasingly resolute. Despite physical, emotional and spiritual attacks (Philippians 1:17), his identity as a follower of Jesus continues to grow. Philippians 3:14-17 Philippians 3:20
The primary provision to support our identity is the Holy Spirit who lives in each believer/follower of Jesus. While the voices we hear in our heads (Song: You Say) often speak from the heart of the enemy, the Holy Spirit gently assures us that those lies are not from Him. Romans 8:26 Philippians 2:13
Many times I have heard this same accusing voice in my thoughts. To be honest, I’ve believed it, for a time. That voice has never been from the Holy Spirit. It speaks of my unworthiness, character faults and identifies me with everything but what God has said.
But when I am hearing the Holy Spirit, the message is biblical, positive, accepting and even challenging. It is the same for you, but will you hear it?
Look, I know. For many of us the Holy Spirit is the unsettling person in the Godhead. Jesus is the loving older brother. The Father is like a kindly grandfather. But who is this Holy Spirit? Is He a dove? And don’t forget all the weird things people do claiming to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Who would want that to happen to them?
But the Holy Spirit is our only hope in this body. Jesus went away so that the Holy Spirit could come into us (Acts 2:33). Now the Holy Spirit is our comforter (Mark 13:11), our guide (Matt. 4:1, Acts 16:6), our teacher (John 14:26, Acts 15:28), our power (Acts 1:8, Acts 7:55), our assurance of salvation (John 6:63), and the revealer of truth in God’s word (John 14:17).
So, cultivate you relationship with the Holy Spirit and trust Him.
Romans 8:9-10 Rev. 1:10
To do this you must find a place in your life that is quiet and where there is time to hear. Pray, meditate on the word of God, ask questions, pause, listen closely and confirm what you sense with God’s word.
Romans 8:14 Romans 8:26 1 Corinthians 2:10-12
You don’t need rituals or magic words. Just be still, be willing to hear and you will find the Holy Spirit is present. Sometimes speaking, sometimes reminding, sometimes bringing peace, sometimes filling us with joy, sometimes correcting, sometimes quiet.
Follow His leading and you will know your identity in Christ.
- How comfortable am I with the Holy Spirit?
- Are there fears I have about the Holy Spirit?
- How open am I to fellowship with the Holy Spirit?
- Do I see the Holy Spirit as less than Jesus?
- How often do I consider that the Holy Spirit lives in my spirit?
- Do I stay so busy so I do not take time to hear the Spirit?
- When was the last time I quieted myself for 30 minutes and listened?
- Do I substitute religious activities for fellowship with the Holy Spirit?
- When will I schedule time for fellowship with the Holy Spirit?
God speaks through a variety of means. In the present God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the church. – Henry Blackaby
I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without that wert within. – Augustine
The Apostle put to those at Corinth this question: “Do you not know that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Paul seemed to be surprised at their ignorance of such a sure fact. He viewed the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as the foremost consequence of salvation, so how could they miss it? – Watchman Nee
Man was so engineered by God that the presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to His humanity. – Major Ian Thomas
When all nature is at rest, not a leaf moving, then at evening the dew comes down — no eye to see the pearly drops descending, no ear to hear them falling on the verdant grass — so does the Spirit come to you who believe. When the heart is at rest in Jesus — unseen, unheard by the world — the Spirit comes, and softly fills the believing soul, quickening all, renewing all within. – Robert Murray McCheyne