Know Christ

I hear it said that I need to know who I am in Christ. That sounds like wise counsel however, my concern is that the primary emphasis becomes self. The accounts of when Jesus was tempted expose an enemy who exchanges truth for very subtle lies. Is this not a subtle lie of the enemy to take my eyes off of Christ?

The scriptures repeatedly quote Christ telling me to die to self. How do I die to self and search for my new identity? Doesn’t a focus on Christ and Christ alone put everything into perspective?

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Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 1

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 2

Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 3

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 4

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 5

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Do you know who I am in Christ?

If knowing who I am in Christ is important wouldn’t it be important for other people to know too? Imagine asking someone the question, “Do you know who I am in Christ?” If they don’t know, why would I ask if not to reveal my credentials? If I’m the one who doesn’t know is it not due to my lack of knowledge and understanding of who Christ is and what he has accomplished?

I know who I am in Christ.

Imagine telling someone, “I know who I am in Christ.” Where is the emphasis, why would I make such a statement if not to exalt myself?

Unless I’m a con-artist or liar working for an unscrupulous master, would it matter who I am?

If I worked for an individual and they sent me to purchase something, let’s say an expensive car, would I need to know who I am to succeed? Wouldn’t I need to know who they were? If I knew they were exorbitantly wealthy would that help? What if I had trouble cashing my last pay check, and I wasn’t sure my next check was going to be good, and I overheard they were filling for bankruptcy? What if I knew they already paid for it and all I had to do was pickup the keys and drive it back to the estate?  Doesn’t the authority of the messenger or servant come from the master.  Unless I’m a con-artist or liar working for an unscrupulous master, would it matter who I am?

My identity is hidden in Christ –I need to know Him!

Yes, my identity is in Christ however, I can’t find that identity by seeking it; it is a by product of relationship with God and knowing who He is. When someone tells me I need to know who I am in Christ, am I not being misdirected –pointed back toward self?  My identity is hidden in Christ –I need to know Him! 6

Finally, in what area of my life would I not benefit or my circumstances not be better from knowing more of who God is?

When David faced Goliath did his identity matter; was he trusting in it or God?

Did David’s skill kill Goliath or was God the victor? Wasn’t it God’s battle; didn’t David say that Goliath was defying the armies of the living God? David didn’t even claim the victory over a lion or bear that he fought. 7

How about Jonah, didn’t God prevail in-spite of Jonah’s identity?

Does an apple tree need to know it’s an apple tree before it can produce apples? 8  9

My Prayer:  God, please help me to rest in the work of your hands.10
God, everything good is from you, everything good within me is the work of your hands! 11  Please prevent me from getting caught up in the enemy’s lies.  How can a man take pride in himself without even the smallest claim of ownership?  Thank you for drawing me to your son Jesus. 12 Help me to grow in the knowledge of you and the work Jesus finished on the cross; please unfold the mysteries of the gospel to me.  Amen

Cancer to a Prayer?

Chemotherapy, curse or blessing?

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 AV

Consider: For something to work together for my good, surely God has to, somehow, turn it into a blessing.13 Doesn’t faith inspire an omnificent God to creatively combine things together into a blessing?2

Further Consideration: If everything becomes a blessing, is it not possible the answer to my prayers may look absolutely nothing like what I’m expecting; perhaps even looking like something that would normally be considered a curse? 3

My Prayer: God help me4 to remain focused on You and Your promises and not be distracted by my circumstances.  You are omnipotent; my circumstances are not!5  Help me to remember that even if I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death that You are with me.6

What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? — Ro 8:31-32 AV

Lawlessness

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” –Matthew 24:3-14 ESV

The gospel message is foundational for the Christian.  A good foundation becomes ever more important as you build on it.  In construction, a strong foundation is essential to support the heavy loads from the weight of the building along with internal and external forces. (i.e. occupants, storage, earthquake, snow and wind loading etc.)  Isn’t a strong foundation even more important when it relates to eternity?

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.  For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. –Romans 10:13-17

If the law is not preached how will men become aware of their sins?7  If men are unaware of their sins, does the gospel have any relevance?2  Once a man becomes a believer does the relevance of the gospel increase or decrease?3  Isn’t it the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us so that we are aware of our need to be cleansed from unrighteousness?4  How do we present ourselves to be cleansed if not through confession?5  Doesn’t the relevance of the gospel grow as our awareness of sin grows, and conversely doesn’t our awareness of sin increase as the gospel comes to fruition in our life?6  Since we are being conformed to the likeness of God7 and since God is love8 9 can we not conclude that we are being conformed to the likeness of love?10 11  If we are not being conformed unto the likeness of love, have we anything of value?12  How do we experience love in the most relevant way if not through the forgiveness of sins?13 14 15  Since the wages of sin is death16 wouldn’t it be natural to love knowing that I’m a sinner saved from death.17  18

My Prayer: Lord, I see lawlessness growing in the world, please let my life reflect the fullness of your gospel message: in my words, in my actions, and in my prayers.  Worldly hostility is growing toward those who speak out against sin; please let me never side with the world against you, let me grown daily in agreement with you regarding sin.  Knowing that light shines brightest in the midst of darkness, let my life shine brightly for you and my life be a testimony of your mercy and grace.  Let my heart overflow love because you first loved me! Amen.