Monday, June 30, 2014

Who Do Think You Are?

"Then a voice came from heaven, 'You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him." (Mark 1:11-13)

The very first thing that Jesus was tempted with by the enemy was His identity.

Before He had preached His first sermon, and before He had done a single miracle, a Voice from heaven declared, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

God was pleased because Jesus was His son. He didn't qualify His pleasure by measuring Christ's worth and say, "I am pleased with You because..." But the very first thing the enemy tried to tempt Him with,  was to doubt His identity and prove His worth. 

Twice the enemy said, "If You are the Son of God..." then do something to prove it!

The bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way we are tempted, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) And the very first thing the enemy tempts us to do is to doubt our identity in Christ, and then to try to prove our worth.

The enemy feared Jesus, and He fears a people who know who they are in Jesus!

I have a pastor friend whose used to often say,  "Keep giving the devil fits!" I like that.  Keep the enemy in fear, and keep giving him fits.

The best way I know to walk in victory is to understand and grow in our identity in Christ.  We can never grow in grace if we don't understand what and who God has made us in Christ. 

Who are you?

Just like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly through metamorphosis,  as a believer in Jesus, you are a made into a completely new creation.  "Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!" (1 Corinthians 5:17 The Message)  You are no longer who you were before becoming a believer, you are brand new!

If anyone ever asks you, "Who do you think you are?" You should ask them, "How much time do you have! Let me tell you…"

Let me share some vital scripture references regarding who you are in Christ Jesus.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 - You are the righteousness of God in Christ

  • John 17:43 - God loves you like He loves Jesus

  • Romans 8:1-39 - You are not under condemnation. You are free from the law of sin and death. The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in you. You have life and peace. You please God. You are not in the flesh. The Spirit of God dwells in you. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is in you! You are not a debtor to the flesh. You are led by the Spirit of God. You are a child of God. You are an heir of God - a joint heir with Jesus. The Spirit intercedes for you according to God's will. All things work together for good for you.  You are predestined to be conformed to Christ's image.  You are called. You are justified. You are glorified. God is for you, and He freely gives you all things. You are more than a conqueror. Nothing shall separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 - God has revealed mysteries to you, and He gave you His Spirit so that you might know the things that have been freely given you.

  • Galatians 2:20 - You are crucified with Christ, and live by faith in the Son of God.

  • Ephesians 1:3-12 - You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. You were chosen before the foundation of the world. You are holy and without blame before Him in love. You are accepted in the Beloved. You are redeemed. You are forgiven.  You have an inheritance.

  • Ephesians 2: 4-10 - You  are made alive in Christ. You are seated with Christ in heavenly places. You are saved by grace through faith.  You are God's workmanship.

There are many, many more promises and scriptures that describe who and what we are as believers in Jesus. I would encourage you to search out the scriptures for them.  Look for those scriptures that say in particular; "In Him," "in Whom,"  or "in Christ," etc.  There are hundreds if not thousands of verses that tell us what God thinks about us, who and whose we are.

Have a great week!

Monday, June 16, 2014

No Greater Thing

Nothing compares to knowing Jesus.   

The Apostle Paul wrote about this in what some scholars believe may have been his final letter to the church from a Roman prison. 
Paul was facing the possibility of his own death even though he seemed sure he "would remain." (see Philippians 1:25)
Facing one's own death tends to cause a person to focus on the things that are most important in life; Faith, family, and friends.

All of the other stuff of life seems to lose its sparkle.

Paul seemed to have unique ability to put into writing the most important things. In addition to his instructions to the churches, Paul sometimes gave us glimpses into his own soul. 


"The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.." Philippians 3:7-9 The Message

If you knew this was your last week in planet earth, what would be most important to you? 
Would you spend time with just you and God praying and listening?

Would you tell your family and friends how much you love them?
Would you throw a party?
Or would you curse God and beg for more time?
I remember watching an interview of a man who survived a horrible fiery plane crash. He said that as the plane was going down, he heard people calling out to God. Some were begging for help, some were thanking Him for their lives, but some were cursing Him.
Much like squeezing a tube of toothpaste, at the moment of most stress, whatever is inside your heart comes out of your mouth. 
I said to someone recently that, "everyone wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die to get there "
Unfortunately, until Jesus comes back, there is only one way off this planet (unless you're an astronaut - but I digress).
So knowing that we are all terminal, what is most important to you?

This morning I've been thinking about the song "Knowing You" by Graham Kendrick.  Some of the lyrics really speak to my heart:
All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You're my all, you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord
There is no greater thing, nothing compares to knowing Jesus...