Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If you are...

I was blown away yesterday when reading Luke 4. There is so much to that passage that I could blog on it for days. From identity, to abandon for God, to compassion for people, to healing and deliverance, to fasting and also Jesus needing a rest. So rich.
One of the main things that jumped out at me was at the start of chapter 4 when Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit was led to the desert when the devil tempted him for 40 days (40 days!) and he was fasting. What struck me was what Satan said to him first.

"If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread"

I have always thought and heard of this temptation as being focused on the food and our sustenance . Of course this is true as Jesus reply states that "Man does not live on bread alone" but what really struck me was the first word

IF you are the Son of God. Satan is so clever. Trying to put doubt in Jesus mind. Mary and Joseph would have told Jesus the stories of his birth, Satan was nudging "Are you sure it happened that way?" "Maybe your parents exaggerated the events". Jesus knew there was a call on his life "Are you sure your ministry will work, are people really going to be saved this way?". Jesus had just been told by his Father that he is pleased with Him, Satan was prying "Is your Father really pleased with you?". Jesus knew his call to die, Satan was saying "When you die, is your Father really going to raise you from the dead?"

Now of course these aren't the exact thoughts of Jesus but they are what Satan wanted Jesus to think. He wanted him to doubt his identity. That is exactly what he wants to do to us. How often do we doubt who we are in Christ. How often do we say "I'm such a filthy sinner" thinking that this kind of self-depreciation is pleasing to a Holy God. How often do we doubt the call on our life. "There's no way I could do that, God couldn't use me. I'm not worthy." And how often do we doubt that God even likes us. We're told we're so rotten and horrible in the sight of God by Christians (shame on them) that we feel that we cannot even come to Him even though Jesus has made the way. There's still that lingering bit of shame, or that sin we did a few years ago, or even yesterday. The doubt that God has spoken words of love over us. The first thing Satan said in the garden was "Did God really say...?"

Lies lies lies. We need to stop doubting who we are. Doubt is the forerunner to unbelief which is the opposite of faith and Paul says in Romans 14:23 "whatever is not from faith is sin". It's time for us to believe who we are in Christ and run with it. We can't run the race by constantly doubting ourselves and therefore denying the truth of what God has said about us in scripture. Last night while this was fresh in my mind I was remembering a blog I wrote here centered around this theme. It contains a list Greg Boyd wrote in his book Seeing Is Believing about who we are in Christ. Currently he is doing a series related to this called 'Animate' and he has updated the list of who we are in Christ. Take a read, believe it and let your mind be transformed (Romans 12:2).

∙ God’s beloved child (Jn 1:12/ Eph 1:5)
∙ Christ’s dear friend (Jn 15:5)
∙ Declared perfectly righteous (“justified”) (Rom 5:1)
∙ Free from condemnation (Rom 8:1)
∙ United with Christ, “one spirit” with Christ (I Cor 6:17;Eph5:31)
∙ A member of Christ’s body (I Cor 6:15/ 12:27)
∙ The Temple of God (I Cor 6:19)
∙ Filled with the “fullness of God” (Eph 3:19)
∙ A “holy one” [saint] (Eph 1:1)
∙ Blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3)
∙ Holy and blameless (Eph 1:4)
∙ Bought with an infinite price and forgiven (I Cor 6: 20; Eph 1:7; Col.1:14)
∙ Bathed with wisdom and understanding (Eph 1:8)
∙ Possessed with the mind of Christ (I Cor 2:16)
∙ Inseparable from God’s love (Rom 8:35‐39)
∙ One who will NEVER be abandoned (Mt 28:20)
∙ The beautiful bride of Christ who “ravishes” the heart of God (Song of Songs, 4:1ff; 6:4ff).
∙ One over whom the Lord rejoices, sings and claps (Zeph 3:17)
∙ One for whom the Lord throws a party (Zeph 3:17; Lk 15:7‐10)
∙ A recipient of God’s own peace (Jn 14:27)
∙ Filled with the peace and joy of God (Rom 14:17)
∙ One in whom Christ’s joy is fulfilled (Jn 15:11)
∙ Given direct access to the Father by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18)
∙ Seated with Christ in heavenly realms (Eph 2:6)
∙ Hid in Christ in heavenly realms (Col 3:1‐5)
∙ Crucified, buried and raised with Christ (Rom 6:1‐11;)
∙ Made perfect forever (Heb 10:14)
∙ Made complete in Christ (Col 2:10)
∙ Indwelled by a fearless Spirit (2 Tim 1:7)
∙ One of God’s precious works of art (Eph 2:10)
∙ Indwelt by a spirit of power, love and stability (2 Tim 1:7)
∙ A citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20)
∙ Predestined to look like Jesus and see him in his glory (Rom 8:29; I Jn 3:1‐5)
∙ God is working to bring good out of evil (Rom 8:28)
∙ Salt of the earth (Mt 5:13)
∙ A branch chosen to bear fruit (Jn 15:16)
∙ A co‐worker with God (I Cor 3:9)
∙ An ambassador of Christ and minister of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:17‐20)
∙ A priest of the most high God ( I Pet 2:5‐9)
∙ More than a conqueror in all things (Rom 8:37);
∙ One who can do all things in Christ (Phil 4:13)


D.J. Williams said...

Thanks for the encouragement! However, be careful you don't set up a false dichotomy here. I am a dirty, rotten, sinner as well as a child of God. Rather than downplay the first and focus only on the latter, I see the first as a cause for fuller joy in the latter, because it reminds me of the astonishing extent of God's grace. I actually preached on that topic a couple months ago, and you can have a listen here if you're interested...


After all, Paul - the self-described "chief of sinners" - would have been guilty of much of the self-deprication you deride. It's a both/and, not an either/or - praise be to God!

Ferg said...

You sin like me and you WERE a sinner but that is not your identity anymore. That's my point, you WERE a sinner but not anymore.