PART 15 - FIGHT FROM YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST (22/1/20)
As David’s battles continued, so ours with the power of evil, temptation and sin continue. This sounds a bit heavy, and I guess that it is. However, the overflowing joy and fruitfulness that are our inheritance in Christ will be robbed from us unless we get serious about dealing with temptation and the devil’s schemes.
David knew his identity as a part of God’s people. He is in no way tempted to think that he’s a Jebusite. He doesn’t seek to make peace with them, allow them to live in the land, and he certainly doesn’t desire to live in Jerusalem with them!
Likewise, the first step in victory over temptation and growth in maturity is knowing our identity now that we are Christians. Identity effects our approach to everything. For example, a simple personal example, I have an identity as married to Helen; this completely changes my relationships from when I was single. Likewise, our identity as Christians - in Christ, made alive by the Spirit, adopted children, belonging to Him… This identity changes everything. Continuing our look at Galatians 5, Paul writes,
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other’ (Galatians 5:22-26).
'Those who belong to Christ Jesus have...'
A fundamental part of a Christian’s identity is belonging to Jesus - He is Lord. We serve Him. He has purchased us with His blood (1 Peter 1:18-19). The Jebusites in our story said to David,
“You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off” (2 Samuel 5:6).
Unlike the enemies of Jesus, Christians welcome the king! We open-wide our lives to Him.
'Since we live by the spirit…'
Another basic part of our identity is that we have been made alive (regenerate) by the Spirit of God. This new life means that we have a new love for God, which will show itself in new attitudes and behaviour. Paul assumes that spiritual transformation leads to life-style transformation. We read of David’s defeat of the Jebusites and his taking up residence in Jerusalem,
‘David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.’ (2 Samuel 5:9-10)
When Jesus takes up residence in the city of our hearts, we are ‘built up’ in many ways. The ruins are remade to His glory.
Therefore, as you read God's word, make it a habit to ask, what does this say about me and God's people? Who you think you are is very important!
In every devotional this week I’d like us to memorise, meditate and pray out of the Lord’s Prayer.
The Lord's prayer begins with a vital aspect of God's and our identity - He is the 'Father in heaven' (an expression of His filling all things) - He in authority! He is also 'our Father'! Just imagine how these aspects of identity change everything.
Matthew 6:9-13. ”This, then, is how you should pray: ‘ “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
i) Some questions to help in meditation:
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. A few questions you could use when meditating:
GOSPEL- What does this text say about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does this text say about you, the church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does this text say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
ii) Memorise Matthew 6:9-13
A few tips:
Include the reference
Read it slowly and carefully x 10
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time