How do we move beyond the lies and embrace the truth of our identity in Christ?
For the last few weeks Pastor Miles has cautioned us about how the devil works to convince us to believe lies and makes agreements with us to live accordingly. But how do we move beyond the lies and embrace the truth of our identity in Christ?
1. How does hearing the testimony of God’s work in other people’s lives help me overcome the work of the devil in my own life? Revelation 12:11
They triumphed over [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony… Revelation 12:11
Today our guest speaker, Maria, shared her testimony as an encouragement for us to recapture our identities in Christ. At age 18, Maria experienced a serious car accident which almost took her life. Ten years later, she was suffering from anxiety attacks, agoraphobia, fear, depression, and insomnia. She finally came to the end of trying to live life her own way and surrendered her life to God. A few months later, she felt God was telling her to move back home to live with her parents. As a sheep heeds the call of its shepherd, Maria heeded that call, though it was a humbling and difficult decision. In doing so, she connected with her father, with whom she had never been particularly close, and spent lots of time with him. Three months later, he died of an aneurism. Maria now sees that call as a profound expression of God’s love. When you have that type of encounter with God, you are forever changed!
How does hearing Maria’s story affect you? Are you able to recognize that you have struggles just as she had? Can you find encouragement to seek healing by surrendering to Jesus?
2. What can be some of the physical, emotional, and spiritual effects in my life from living with a false identity? 1 Thessalonians 5:23
When we believe the devil’s lies, we live accordingly. When we embrace fear and a false identity that we cannot succeed and are ineffectual, we freeze instead of moving forward in faith.
Maria shared that sanctification is the slow process of being molded into the image of Christ. God gives us the ability to make choices and will never override our will. Over time, as God transformed her thinking, she uncovered a lot of her negative thoughts that weren’t really true. She realized that as she felt anxiety coming on, she didn’t have to bow to it anymore, but could choose to have peace.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
3. What are some of the things that the devil uses to steal our identity? How can I tell if the devil has indeed ripped me off? 2 Corinthians 2:11
The devil uses the difficult challenges and experiences and traumas from our past – things we haven’t been able to resolve – and lies to us about them. He builds up bitterness, fear, resentment, and unforgiveness to try to block our ability to receive the love of our heavenly Father.
He builds a stronghold of falsehoods, and once we agree with them, we are stuck feeling rejected, defeated, and worthless. He uses our trauma to define us, giving us negative “hinges” on which the rest of our lives pivot. If we can’t agree with how the Father really sees and loves us, we’ll never get to the place of the call that God has for our lives.
But the truth is that God created each of us uniquely and marvelously. He loves us with a perfect unconditional love and wants to heal those hurt areas of our lives.
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
4. What can I do today to get my God-given identity back? How can I practically experience the abundant life that Jesus promises? John 10:10
You can find breakthrough by focusing on the goodness of God, rather than the negativity of the lies of the devil.
You must first recognize where the enemy has duped you. Remember and realize who you are in Christ: you are royalty, the daughter or son of the Most High. Fill yourself with truth and replace the lies that have been fed to you. You can find breakthrough by focusing on the goodness of God, rather than the negativity of the lies of the devil. That to which you give power becomes what rules you.
Recognize the things that influence you negatively. For example, if you drink 12 beers, you would obviously be under the influence of alcohol! You might experience slurred speech, impaired motor skills, sleepiness, emotional and socially inappropriate behavior, etc. Similarly, whatever else you pour into your life will affect you and bring on consequences. When you carry bitterness and offense, that’s what you leak out. If you want to release blessing, you must embrace truth, love and blessing through Christ.
Remember God’s deep and unwavering love for you, and allow Him to make you a new creation!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17