#803. DEFEND YOUR IDENTITY (28/4/23)
This week, as we take a break from our series on Praying Together, our devotionals are based upon our Sunday message from Dale Barlow about the church being a family.
Summary: We must defend our identity as adopted children of God against demonic attack.
You can watch this devotional at:
The devil is working to undermine our identity in Christ. He loves to make us doubt our adoption as God’s children. Lack of confidence in our adoption will render us insecure and rob us of joy and confidence in prayer. If he can rob us of our identity, we will also lose the foundation that is required for us to be devoted to the hard work of building deep and loving familial relationships.
Last week, in our Praying Together series, we considered the need to evict the work of the demonic. We saw how the devil sought to undermine and misuse His Sonship.
‘Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread…” (Matthew 4:1-3)
By saying “If you are the Son of God do so and so”, the devil is tempting Jesus to test God’s love for Him. Likewise, we must never use prayer to test God’s love for us. We must never use as yet unanswered prayer or prayer that is answered in a way we didn’t want or expect, as the measure of God’s love for us. It’s easy to listen to demonic lies that tempt us to say something like, “If I was a child of God, He would have provided that job, healing, money, peace…”
By saying “If you are the Son of God do so and so”, He is also tempting Jesus to misuse His identity. Jesus’ identity as Son of God did not mean that He was independent of the Father and the Spirit. As the Son of God, He was fully submissive the the will of the Father. Likewise, In an age when we rarely honour our father and mother as God commands, it’s important we understand that as God’s children, we love and obey the authority of our heavenly Father.
It’s vital that you and I are secure and defend our identity as God’s children. God assures the people of Israel and it’s a promise that we can apply to our church and individually:
‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!’ (Isaiah 49:15)
Defend your identity when the devil lies and accuses you. Defend the identity of your brothers and sisters when the devil tempts you to reject them.
Use the word of God as a shield and sword. When you are tempted by the words: “If you are a child of God…” What would you use to defend yourself? Have you done the work to equip your mind with truth? Here are a couple of texts that you could think about memorising:
‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.’ (John 1:12-13)
‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.’ (1 John 3:1)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read John 1:12-13 & 1 John 3:1
Did God speak to you or did anything strike you from Sunday's message?
How does one enter God's family?
How does, or should, being a child of God affect our prayer life?
What are the benefits of being devoted to our church family?
What are the benefits of a local church in being part of a family of churches such as New Ground?
Let's take time to pray for our church family together.
SIV (Serve, Invest and Invite) Why does a healthy church family grow?
SIV - Pray for specific people in your community that God wants you to reach.