Tuesday, March 21, 2006

new identity

Have you ever seen one of those cop shows where someone bad has ticked off another very bad person and the cops have to give this person a new life and a new identity to protect them? They have to live in the new identity for the rest of their lives. If they were to ever reassume the old identity it would mean certain death. Interesting.

Let me ask you a question. Do you identify yourself more with your past or your future? Do the things you have done wrong (evil) in your yesterdays still haunt you and define you? Or does your hope in God’s new opinion (good) about you win the day? Do the promises that God says are in front of you dominate your thought processes, or do you still live life in the rear view mirror? Everything depends on the orientation of your identity.

"With the Lord's authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed. 20 But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, 22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness, righteous, holy, and true." Eph. 4:17-24

I want to challenge you. Go ahead and throw off that old I.D. tag of mistakes and failures. Do not let Satan continue to place your focus on the person you were or the sins of your past. Listen to God. This is His "good news" for you...

"Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers..." Col. 2:13-15

Did you hear that? God has cancelled out all that junk! Its over! He has disarmed Satan. The only power Satan has is the power you give Him. His only weapon against you is lies. If you listen to him, if you allow him to continue to accuse you, you will not live from your new heart. Don’t listen to him. All he wants to do is accuse and condemn you.

You might say to me that Satan is speaking the truth when he reminds me of my sinful past. True. But he is lying when he tries to identify me with it. It no longer defines me. He cannot trap me in my past and define me by it. Why? Because of Jesus. He has taken it all away! Gone! Done! Over with! You got that? It’s over!

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Cor. 5:21

At the cross Jesus took our sin and became it. God punished Him there in our place. When He arose He won the victory and released God’s power to make us new persons. When we place our faith in Jesus, He takes our sin and makes us right with God. He makes us new and good. I must now believe this new thing that God has done. Listen to the story of one of God’s servants in the past...

"Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. Satan was there at the angel's right hand, accusing Jeshua of many things. And the LORD said to Satan, "I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from a fire." Jeshua's clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, "Take off his filthy clothes." And turning to Jeshua he said, "See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes." Zech. 3:1-4

Can you imagine this guy saying to God, "I don’t believe you. I believe Satan." I want to be the old dirty person that I was. Of course not-that would be ridiculous! God had amazing plans for Jeshua so He cleansed him and made him new. The Lord rejects Satan’s accusations and so should you. Accept the new you. Reject the old identity.

Your greatest contribution is when you decide to live from your new and good heart. We need you to be the true you. God has made you new. He has given you a fresh identity and forgiven all your debts. You own nothing except the debt of love. You will never be condemned. You are free to live for God now. You can influence the world. You can make a difference. Your future is filled with promise and potential. You have been given gifts, power, and authority in Christ to transform the world we live in. You are an overcomer of evil with good.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 8:37-39

In Rome, where people first read the words above, the people new exactly what a conqueror was. You didn’t mess with them. They brought entire nations to their knees. They were a powerful force to be reckoned with. God says you are more than a conqueror. Take that, put it in your pipe and smoke it!

Defining myself by God’s word,

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