I have been teaching a witnessing helps study entitled The Way of the Master for the past few weeks. We get to watch videos of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron as they share how to get into a conversation about a relationship with Christ through using the Ten Commandments. Basically, you ask a person if they have ever lied and when they say yes, you ask them what a person who lies is called and of course, they will say “a “liar.” When a person is identified at that level to be “known” as a liar it changes their whole perspective on what they do and who they think they are. The questions move through other commandments like stealing, adultery, and using the Lord’s name in vain. You can tell that when a person admits they break one of the commandments it doesn’t sound too bad, but when you share that they are what they did wrong it takes on a whole new level. I stole becomes “you are a thief” and so on. At one level the sin doesn’t sound too bad, but when that sin becomes a person’s identity, it seems so harsh and permanent. In Matthew 5 Jesus brings a whole new level of sin identity into being by giving a lesson of reality to His listeners about the law and the spirit. What we are known as is “who we are.” In other words, that is our IDENTITY. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus further emphasized the identity thing by saying “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Our level of identity in our faith is found in the basic fulfillment of the Word of the Lord. To just say I’m a Christian because I “go to church” or “live in a house with other Christians” or “I was raised in a Christian home” doesn’t give us the identity of a Christian. It is through faith we are saved and that “faith identity” throws us directly into the “will of the Father.” For too many Church goers, we think that since we do Christian things like carry a Bible, attend Bible Studies, or church, and try to be a good person most of the time that will be the level of faith God will allow for us to enter heaven. That level of belief is mostly just identifying with Christ as a Savior. Receiving His identity is a totally different thing though. Our life changes from me being a Christian to becoming “Christ in Me!” Thus, Christian. We are to be found in Him and take on more and more of who Jesus is and shed less and less of my identity. Identity’s fruit is seen in our words and actions. If we continue to sound like sinners, and live in sin, then sin is our identity and that just doesn’t work when we have Christ, the Son of God, in control of our life. Our Faith Identity begins a process that begins to change our wants and desires, and replaces them with the desire of the Father. That is who we become and that is a Christian, a saved person, a changed person. A new identity at a heavenly, spiritual level. It gets kind of confusing for those who want to identify with Christ to realize that bowing to God’s Way and Will is not a choice. It is who they are. It’s not something that is forced on us, it is US!! You may ask, “At what level is a person saved?” Scripture says it is at the level of repentance and faith. At that level we become a different person or Christ like in our core. Core beliefs, core language, core direction, CORE!!! At that level it sure makes sense when the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!” Christ becomes our life and that life is centered in Him and His purposes. You know…WWJD, but for real.
You may say, “What’s all this level stuff got to do with life?” Our identity is who we are, or become over time and that shapes our present and our future. All our hopes and dreams are rolled up in it and when it is found in Christ, He shapes it for His plan. ALL IN!!
You know that your identity has changed when someone speaks about you, and instead of saying “you are a Christian” with a question mark, they say, “you are a Christian” with an exclamation mark, because that is your identity. So, hold fast to that identity and guard it. It really means something for eternity and for right now. Philippians 2:16 “Holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” There is great purpose and value in the identity we have in Christ and that purpose is in line with Jehovah God!!!
The Pilgrimage continues…..