New ID Required

ButterflyI changed my name a few years ago. My first name was Walter but that caused confusion because I go by my middle name, Gill. So I petitioned the court and legally changed it to simply W. Documents in hand, I went down to the local DMV, paid my fee, had my picture taken and got a brand new ID. I recognize that I have one ID that doesn’t expire. It looks as good today as it did the day I got it 35 years ago. If I am every pulled over by the State Patrol, he will want to see my driver’s license but this ID will show through my actions and attitude. It is my ID in Christ, my identity in Him.

I could write to you about salvation but chances are if you are reading this you are already born again. But if we don’t understand our identity in Christ we will never live in the fullness of what salvation means. Sure we’re going to heaven but without understanding our identity in Christ we are unable to live in victory today.

We are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from a place of victory. God has already done everything He is going to do. He is waiting for you and me to step up to our place of victory. We must recognize what God has already done. His victory is mine. His blessing is mine. If I understand it, nothing can take the smile off my face.

What do I build my identity on? Job, looks (obviously not), relationships, popularity? You can push my buttons if I allow myself to care too much what you think of me. Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) warns “fear of human opinion disables.”

My mouth reveals what is inside. Luke 6:45 (NLT) says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” If I am negative, it reveals a fearful heart. Harshness shows the anger inside. Boasting reveals insecurity. Being judgmental covers up guilt. A critical tongue is a sign of bitterness. On the other hand, an encouraging tongue shows a joyful heart. Gentleness comes from a loving heart. One who is controlled despite the circumstances is peaceful inside.

Our family has had several experiences with organ transplants. When our son was killed we had the privilege of meeting his heart recipient. Recently a friend received a kidney and pancreas transplant. Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV) promises, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Salvation is a transplant, giving us a new identity. I may look the same on the outside but there is something new inside.

I am a new creation in Christ (2Corinthians 5:17). On the outside I still look like a man but inside I have the God kind of righteousness, the life giving power of God, the same power that raised Christ from the dead. TD Jakes says, “You may have done what they say you did but you are not who they say you are.” I don’t know what you may have done but I know what Jesus has done. I have been a volunteer chaplain in our county jail for over 6 years. In that time I have ministered to hundreds of men: drug traffickers, DUI’s, assault, sex offenders and other crimes. I have never asked, “What are you in for?” It doesn’t matter. We are washed in the blood.

My wife loves being a grandma. One of her gifts as a grandma is being able to put fussy babies to sleep. When they are in her arms, they find a peace that takes the fussiness away and very soon they are sleeping peacefully. When we are in the secure arms of Jesus, then hurt, frustration and fear disappear. He replaces the hurt with love, anxiety with peace, fear with power. Romans 6:4 (NIV) declares, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” When we identify with Jesus’s death in baptism we also experience a new life, a new identity.

What determines my identity now?

  • Not genetics. A doctor will ask about diseases your momma had, or your daddy, grandpa, etc. because some things are carried by genetics. Who’s your daddy now? Romans 8:17 says we are joint heir with Christ. That means we are in an equal position. I am born again, born from above. My bloodline, my genetics have been changed.
  • Not environment. My identity is no longer tied to race or culture. I am God’s son or daughter, a child of the King.
  • Not psychological. What has happened to me in the past? What abuse, rejection or defeat have I experienced? Philippians 3:13-14 tells us, “Forgetting what is behind…”
  • My identity is in Christ. I am saved. I am forgiven. I am chosen. I am victorious.

I like to find spiritual parallels in everyday things. One of my favorite treats is a root beer float. Now there is a technique to making a root beer float. You can put in the ice cream then add the root beer. The result is lots of foam. You can pour the root beer first and then add the ice cream. That gives less foam, but I like to make the root beer flat first. The result is less foam and more room for ice cream and root beer. Seems like a no brainer to me. What do I need to remove from my life to make more room for God’s presence? What genetic, environmental or psychological connection must be broken to make room for my identity in Christ?

God specializes in changing identities:

  • Abram the childless to Abraham the father of many nations,
  • Jacob the deceiver to Israel the prince,
  • Moses the fugitive to Moses the deliverer,
  • David the shepherd to David the king,
  • Peter the denier to Peter the leader of the church,
  • Saul the persecutor to Paul the apostle.

Why is sin important to the devil? According to Romans 8:38, it can’t separate us from God’s love, nothing can to that. Sin undermines our identity as a son or daughter of God. From time to time we will see in the news a house on the Pacific Coast near Los Angeles where erosion has undermined the foundation and is taking it into the ocean. Sin causes erosion of our identity. It’s no big deal at first but over time it keeps wearing away a little at a time, weakening the foundation. Well, it’s time to shore up our identity. How? First is Bible reading and study. Second, listening to sound, Bible based teaching. Finally, and so often overlooked, fellowship with believers who will build up and encourage us. Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV) tells us that the righteous choose friends carefully.

My identity in Christ brings power. The important thing is not what man saw when Jesus rose. It is about what God saw in Jesus’ death and resurrection plus what the devil saw when Jesus stepped out of the tomb. Philippians 3:9-10 (NKJV) “and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” I don’t care where you came from or what you’ve been through. I don’t care who your daddy is or how long your rap sheet is. Our right standing before God comes through the power of Jesus’ resurrection and our identification with Him.

The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. How much power was in the resurrection? Enough to reverse the effects of sin for all time, once for all. The world may worry about a power shortage, but there is no power shortage in God. We don’t have to say, “Better hurry and come to Jesus before the power runs out.”

2Corinthians 5:17 in the Amplified Bible says we are “engrafted into Christ.” Grafting requires the branch to be cut off of the old plant and the new plant must be wounded to receive the branch. Jesus was wounded on the cross so He could receive me into Himself. His blood made it possible. I was raised with Him, raised above my past, raised above my failures, raised above my insecurities, raised above my doubts. My identity is in Him. Hallelujah!

The same power that conquered the grave lives in me (Ephesians 1:18-21)

His love that rescued the earth lives in me (Galatians 2:20)

(You Are Here, Hillsong)