Identity Crisis in the Body of Christ
I enjoy the way kids view God.... Here’s some letters to God...
“Dear God, I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won't be there” Your friend, Joshua. Another one says “Dear God, I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland. Thank you in advance, Loreen. Then there’s Ellen, “Dear God, I hope to go to heaven someday but please make it later rather than sooner. I hope you get this.
How we identify, determines how we will live our lives and interact with others.
And let me say....If a groundhog is your weather forecaster, you might have an identity Crisis....
The definition of an identity crisis according to Webster, is... (are you disoriented yet)?
“A psycho-social state or condition of disorientation and role confusion occurring as a result of conflicting internal and external experiences, pressures, and expectations, often producing acute anxiety”, as well as “distress and disorientation, resulting from conflicting pressures and uncertainty about themselves and their role in society”,
A person who is suffering from anorexia may identify as overweight, when in reality they are starving to death. A person with hypochondria, identifies as having every illness coming down the pike. A person with depression, identifies everything as negative and sees only hopelessness and despair. A person with P.T.S.D. may identify that they are being victimized again and again, or a military person may identify as being in a war zone over and over and unable to move on with their lives. An attractive person may identify as unattractive or unlovely. A married couple who have everything going for them, may identify their relationship as troubled and turbulent. It’s all about how you see it!
A believer may identify with their life before Christ, more than the new life they have been given at salvation, because it doesn’t happen all at once and because it is a progressive journey of cooperation, and surrender and trust in the Shepherd, who is leading us into the redeemed life. We must trust the Good Shepherd more than we identify with how we may feel based on our experiences. Faith believes what it cannot see, trusts what God has said, and acts on what it cannot feel... Someone said “My old life is so hard to find, because it’s in God’s witness protection program!”....So it can’t be used against me!
I feel this message on “Identity Crisis”, requires that I give some foundational insights from the word of God... so let’s look at a few scriptures to get started....
Exodus 4:22-23 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, ‘Let them go that the may serve Me’.... Israel had been in bondage so long, that when they went free in the wilderness, they still identified as slaves. That’s why they went in circles for 40 years.. it was more difficult to get Egypt out of the people, than it was to get the people out of Egypt...They were victims of an identity crisis!
John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right (the power) to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”. “Empowerment is critical in changing how we identify, if there is confusion about who we are in Christ”...It’s how you get off the merry go round of identity confusion and stop the cycle of blame, regret, and unforgiveness....
Romans 8:12-25 “So then, brethren, we are not under obligation to the flesh, to identify according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die (to how you identify) but if by the Spirit you are putting to death (the power that) the deeds of the body (have over you), you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”.Jeremiah 1:7 “But the Lord said to me, Do not say, I am a child(unable, uncapable, untrained) for wherever I send you, you are to go, and whatever I give you orders to say, you are to say”. (The prophet had to change how he identified, or he would never be able to operate as the prophet God called him to be as the voice of God to the people) He had to get off the merry go round of excuses, poor self image, and stinking thinking....
Listen to Solomon....1 Kings 3:7 “And now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in my father David’s place. But I am only a little child, not knowing how to go out or come in”. (Solomon had to change how he identified, in order to reign as the king he was born to be)
1 John 15:14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you (to identify as) servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you.(That’s the merry go round of standing outside the place of favor and blessing and wondering why everyone else is blessed and you’re not... get yourself off that merry go round!! You’re blessed and highly favored!
We all want to be loved permanently with a love that lasts forever. We want to be loved faithfully by someone who will never betray us. We want to be loved fruitfully in a way that gives us life. We want to be loved totally. We want to be loved with someone’s whole heart. We want to be lovedunconditionally, no matter what happens. This is how Jesus loves us. His love is everlasting. God is love, and He will never stop loving us. His love is faithful, He will never betray us. His love is total, He gave himself completely for us when He died on the cross. His love is unconditional. He died for us,even though we are sinners. So why would we ever settle for anything less than that.....
In order to receive that kind of love and acceptance, we must be able to identify as a person who can offer that kind of love and acceptance because that’s the way He loves us. That means a change in our own identity and willingness to let go of every experience that is opposite of that, which we have held onto in our lives. I no longer have a right to be angry, or resentful, or grouchy and cantankerous....
A righteous person is someone who does the right thing no matter what everyone else is doing, because they are in right standing with God. They not only do the right thing, but they do it without judging or putting labels on someone else. (It’s a challenge, but that’s why Paul said)...
Philippians 3:12 “It is not as though I have already attained, either were already perfect, but I press forward, that I may apprehend (identify with) that for which also I am apprehended (identified) in Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (attained) but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I (keep on) pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.
If we are not clear about who we are and why we are here, the world will begin to press us into it’s mold. I would submit that there are four chief reasons for this: A lack of belief, A lack of understanding, A lack of knowledge, and A lack of application.
Lost people aren’t very good tour guides.....
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. This implies that if we don’t know then we’re not free.
Pilate said “What is truth” when the truth stood right in front of him. Which means, truth was there, but he chose not to know it, so knowing the truth is a matter of choice. If we don’t know, we have decided to choose something else.
In his book “The Prince and the Pauper”, Mark Twain writes about two boys who were born at the same time in London, and they looked identical. Edward was a prince and Tom was a pauper. Edward was raised in privilege while tom grew up in the squalor of the slums and was beaten by his single father. Tom dreamed of being a prince and snuck into the palace to see its privileged life. He was caught and thrown out, but the Princesaw it and intervened. Edward wanted to see what life was like outside the palace, and since they looked exactly alike, they switched places. Soon after, the king died and Tom became king. Prince Edward couldn’t convince anyone who he really was, so at the coronation, Edward managed to sneak in and get to Tom, and when Edward produced the royal seal which he had hidden away, everything was made right again.
Edward was rightfully king, but until the identity crisis was solved, he could not fulfill his role and the authority that went with it. Jesus switched places with us, so that we could identify with Him.
Jesus said that when the prodigal son came home, the father put a ring on his finger, a robe on his shoulders and shoes on his feet. He was brought back into full standing as a son. He was giving us a picture of himself. Our difference is in our calling, not in the favor and honor He gives to us.
When a team wins the super bowl, not only do the first string get rings, but the second string, who are the back up players, also get super bowl rings. They have equal honor in each achievement.
You are as significant in the kingdom as Billy Graham, or TD Jakes... Hebrews 4:16 says that we are to come boldly to the throne of God. Ephesians 3:12 says that we are to have boldness and access with confidence because of Christ.
There are no second class citizens in the kingdom of God.
We are not trying to get access, we operate from the place ofaccess! Trying to get access means you don’t understand that you already have it. Working from the place of access, means you are still pressing into your full identity, but you are confident in your place and position in Christ. You have full access to healing....You are a full child of God..... you are more than a conqueror through Christ, who loves you.... you are thedwelling place of God..... His Spirit and His life dwells in you......you have been established, anointed and sealed by God in Christ, and you have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge,guaranteeing your inheritance to come..... you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing..... you can approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence...... you have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline...... you have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in time of need. ..... you have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ..... youhave been made complete in Christ..... you have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God through which you are a partaker of God’s divine nature...... Because you areborn of God, and the evil one…the devil…cannot touch you.
We must realize that there is nothing we can do for God to love us more and there is nothing we can do for God to love us less. But He loves us enough to not leave us like He found us!
We no longer identify with our hurts, our hindrances, and our harassments, and we must begin to identify with all that we have access to and all that we have been made to become in Christ.
Paul told the church of Ephesus, in Ephesians 3:17 “I pray… that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, and be filled with all the fullness (completeness) of God”.
To be full of anything, means there is now no room for anything else... this means that God is the controlling influence, your feelings, desires, thoughts, hopes, relationships, words, actions, reactions, calendar, check book, etc. At any given time, you may be angry, sad, lonely, offended, or indignant, but you are not allowing those emotions to control you because you’re already full... (say I’m already full).
(repeat after me) I’m not moving toward a place of fullness, I should be operating FROM a place of fullness.......
Our DNA is what makes us unique..... It makes tall people tall, and handsome people handsome, and men, men, and women, women... Just as the acorn has within it a towering oak tree, and the caterpillar contains a beautiful butterfly, dancing on the wind, or the tiny mustard seed should identify as a towering tree that touches the sky, or a tiny eaglet contains within it the DNA of a mighty bird of prey.... So likewise, we are to operate from the DNA of God’s design in and upon *.......our lives. In this case DNA stands for God’s Divine Nature and Attributes. That’s what every believer contains...God’s Divine Nature and Attributes!(Shine baby shine)
Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Psalm 8:4 “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him ruler of the works of Your hands; You have placed everything under his feet”…
1 Corinthians 6:2 “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life”!
And all of that is true....But the problem is we often prefer sleep to prayer...and Razzleberry pie tastes way better thanspinach....and the lazy boy is more appealing than the jogging shoes....and the elevator is more desirable than 4 flights of stairs....etc...etc.
Which begs the question, how can I take more control of my life in 2022....Sometimes getting back on track is like herding cats!
Freedom is usually about being truthful with ourselves and ourGod. The Identity crisis we’re talking about comes from a truth crisis..... John 8:32 says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But it will usually sting and get a bit crazy before it does..... Our cleansing starts with prayer. We must come to Him, earnestly asking in faith that He make us whole. And we must be willing to receive His diagnosis and surrender our resistant, stubborn wills. OUCH!!!
It was a military hospital unit, and the doctor had just told the nurse that the young man they had just treated would not last till morning. But will you tell him, said the nurse. No, it’s better that he doesn’t know, but if you feel to tell him, that’s fine. She went and attended to him, he asked when he could get well enough to leave. She hesitated but said, it’s worse than we thought. The doctor says you won’t see the morning light. He immediately asked, then do you know how I can be saved, so I can join my dad in heaven? The nurse told him she didn’t cause she wasn’t ready herself for that moment. He begged, but she didn’t know how to help him. But there was a bible on the table, and she began to read where it fell open, to the book of John. She read of Nicodemus who came to the Lord Jesus by night and got his questions answered. She read of God’s love, she read on of the woman at the well, and he was grabbing it all.
Then she came to John 5;24, “Verily, I say unto you, he that hears My Word and believes on Him that sent Me, haseverlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life.' He said, 'Stop right there, I see it—I see it, The Light is coming in.!' Thank you, oh, thank youJesus.' I believe the Lord Jesus Christ bore my sins. He has given it to me. I have passed from death unto life.' Then he said “Thank you—thank you. Tell my mother Christ saved me at the eleventh hour. “I have Peace! I have Peace!” These were his last conscious words. He had begun to identify himself through God’s redemptive words
The truth set him free...
We have truth all around us, if we dare to receive it... Most of our problem is not that we don’t have access to truth, the problem runs deeper than that.
A pastor was visiting one of the church members’ homes, and was talking with little Maggi. He directed her attention to the Bible on the mantle and said to her, "Whose book is that”?Maggi shrugged her shoulders and the pastor said, "Why honey, that is God's book!"
Maggi thought about it, and said, "Don't you think that we had better give it back to him? No one around here ever reads it."
We have the truth but we don’t want it to change us, so we deflect it, ignore it, deny it, attack it, argue with it and in general avoid it in any way we can. Like a star trek episode, we come under attack and we put up our force field so that it is deflected and never gets to us where it can truly affect us.
The bible stays on the mantle and that’s why . . .
We’re still a whole lot like we were before we got saved, we’re angry, We’re still stubborn, We’re still in bondage, We’re still struggling with lusts, bitterness, unforgiveness, greed, compromise and walking the fence....
Many see the truth as something that’s against them and threatening to expose them, or punish them, but that doesn’t sound like someone who would take their place, bear their judgment, give their life and in the end say “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”..... The Holy Spirit may not do what you want, but He will always do what is right.
Joseph was a type of Christ in the Old Testament. 20 years after they had thrown him in the pit and told their dad he was dead, they have to go to Egypt for supplies, where they stand before him, but they don’t recognize him. They had a great celebration, together and they were sent out with the supplies they needed, but Joseph hid a gold cup of truth in Benjamín’s sack, and when Joseph’s guard found it, they brought them back and Josephreveals himself unto them. They were about to be set free from the lie they had lived under, but the truth would sting first. They were afraid, and full of fear, but Joseph said, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”...
Listen, whatever it is, Satan meant it for evil, to steal, kill and destroy. To keep you from your destiny, and hold you in the shadows of compromise, and hold you down below your potential, but a dying, resurrected king of glory, meant it for good!
He rose triumphant over death, hell and the grave, so that we could hear, and believe and know that “He whom the son sets free is free indeed”!!!
Joseph said to his family what Jesus said to us... Go tell the rest of the family about all the glory you have seen, and bring them here, because I have a place prepared for them....
Genesis 45: 10-13 “You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.’
And now your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father of all my glory, and of all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my family to me.”
That’s exactly what Jesus is saying.... I want you to prosper and be in health as your soul prospers, and I want you to be with me forever in my glory!!!! Thank God, we can have some heaven to go to heaven in!
How many would stand with me, and in standing you are saying I know God has so much more for me, and I open myself to receive it!! Operate from the place of fullness, redemption, completeness, and identify with the God who has supplied all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Allow it to reshape the way you see yourself, your world, and everyone in it!