As I’ve mentioned a few times, our church is working our way through a terrific book entitled The Good and Beautiful Life: Developing the Character of Christ by James Bryan Smith. All of the small groups are studying it and every Sunday, a message is preached from the appropriate chapter that everyone (hopefully) is reading. It’s a tremendous book and one I heartily recommend.
This week was all about judging others, or rather, how to live without judging others. One of the thought-provoking comments Pastor Brandon made yesterday was, in essence: Don’t change behavior to change the identity of the person you’re concerned about, but work with God to change the identity of the person, and the behavior will follow. He said that, many times in a counseling setting, we approach troublesome behavior from the wrong side, trying all sorts of behavior-modification techniques, from positive reinforcement to getting in someone’s face. Instead, we should seek for them to understand their identity in Christ.
That was a truly insightful remark.
If we could really understand our identity in Christ, it would make all the difference in the world. We would then understand that Jesus accepts us just as we are. We would then really understand that He created us and knows our strong points and our failings… and He loves us anyway. We would really realize that He wants to fulfill our every need: physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual, and that we wouldn’t have to resort to trying to fulfill those needs through other means.
That revelation has real power. A full revelation of the love of Christ has the power to break every chain that binds us. It has power to enable us to live above sin and endure temptation. It has the power to transform — suddenly or gradually — but totally and completely.
I said above that we, as a church, are “working” our way through it. It is a work-in-progress. At least it is for me. To get this revelation deep down within me has been trasnsforming… maybe not as quickly or completely as I’d like, but it is changing me. The love of Christ is re-writing all the false narratives I have inside me. It truly is like a lightbulb coming on, an instanaeous and continuous brightness shining on every aspect of my life.
I am a child of God, in whom Christ dwells, and I live in the unshakeable Kingdom of God.
Learning your true identity is an amazing thing.