An Identity Crisis

"My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)

As I was reading the above scripture, the Holy Spirit was drawing me into the deep.  The words of the minor prophet were as if they were the only words on the entire page.  I was completely drawn in. Instinctively, I knew God wanted my attention.  In the stillness of the moment, the next impressions to flood my thoughts were prompted by the Holy Spirit. He brought to my remembrance " The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight"(Proverbs 9:10).   In excitement, I grabbed my notepad to record these verses of scripture that the Lord would reveal the message/teaching I would be entrusted with. 

Now, I don't want to sound like this happened overnight. In fact, I didn't receive the full meaning of God's message without some eager persistence on my part.  It felt like an honest pursuit of God.  My heart desired his word and more of His presence.  So, over several weeks, I meditated on these scriptures, prayed for clarity and waited for a response. While reflecting on this process the scripture came to mind:

                            "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul"(Deut. 4:29NASB).

This scripture means a lot to me because quite frankly, in my immaturity about the "things of God" or spiritual matters, I would often dismiss and ignore these encounters with Him because I didn't understand them and didn't take the time to make them a priority in my life.  When it came to the supernatural activities that I experienced, it was difficult for me to articulate them; even to God. At times I secretly desired for them to go away.  However, the Bible encourages us to "...grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...2Peter 3:18.  Simply stated, as children of God, we should be in a continuous growth cycle in two aspects of Kingdom principles: Grace(unmerited favor) and Understanding(knowledge/wisdom) of Jesus in His role as our Lord and Savior.  Let's dig a little deeper:

Jesus holds His authority in our lives as both Lord and Savior.  The word "Lord" is defined in the Greek "kurios," meaning a person exercising absolute ownership rights; master. By Jesus paying the price for our sin, He gained full authority over our lives. He deserves His place of authority. He is our LORD. However, Jesus doesn't abuse His authority. He doesn't beat us over the head with the observances of traditions and rituals often found in religion.  He doesn't condemn us when we mess up but gently guides us into right behaviors.  He will never use His authority to be oppressive and self-serving. His authority has its foundation in love. Love brought him to the cross, Love kept Him on the cross and Love will bring Him back to be united with His Church.  It is written:

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:8-11 NIV)

So, Jesus didn't just make himself Lord over all, God established His (Jesus') authority over all because He died for us all.

Next, let's look at how we can honor Jesus' authority in our everyday lifestyle.  Based on the scripture below, we can begin to allow Jesus' lordship to affect our physical bodies.

" For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Cor. 6:20

In the context of this scripture, the Apostle Paul was speaking to the Corinthian church which had many self-absorbed conflicts amongst themselves.  They fought over dietary restrictions, divorce, rituals and observances, sexual morality, marital status, to name a few.  They were so focused on having freedom, but not understanding that with freedom comes responsibility. He wanted them to understand Jesus' Lordship can apply to their physical bodies too. In other words, just because you have the freedom to make a decision, doesn't mean choices don't have outcomes. Outcomes can be either good or bad.  The bottom line is this: Jesus paid with His blood for our salvation, therefore He gets to set the terms of how our lives should be lived under His Lordship.  In fact, it's all for our good!

Now, this may require a little self-examination:

Is Jesus Lord of your eating habits?

Maybe hanging out sipping drinks during Happy Hour?

Sexual appetites? Hmmm?

Oh, yeah, is He Lord over those little habits that don't harm ANYONE....

Maybe He might be Lord over a few areas but not over ALL areas.  

In any case, when we know to DO better; we usually DO better.  (A pause for reflection).

If you happen to be wondering, what is the standard that is required of His children (those that have accepted Him as Lord and Savior)? The answer is found in 1Peter 1:14-16 ESV, 

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 

The word holy in the new testament is taken from the root word "haigos" meaning "to be set apart"; sacred. This implies conduct that relates to being set apart; separated from contaminants, even keeping oneself free from sin.  In a practical sense, God has set the standard for us to live daily according to His terms and conditions.  The good news is that we were not equipped to do this in our own ability but through the power of His Spirit working inside of our hearts.  We just need to activate this power through prayer. The Holy Spirit will transform the desires that result into sin, into desires that will lead towards obedience.   This is grace in action.  Then, a person can grow into their true identity in Christ, where they can maximize their potential in the Kingdom of God.  However, when a person walks in ignorance, they are blind to the blessings of obedience and forfeits their rights, privileges, and status as "Children of God". They are suffering from "an identity crisis" living beneath their Kingdom inheritance.

 Let's take the challenge to grow in grace and the knowledge of His Son, Jesus. 

Below is a prayer of faith that will begin the process:

Prayer for growth:

Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask you to allow me to grow in grace and in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Help me to live according to Your standards and not mine.  Give me understanding about what YOU consider to be Holy. Help me not to walk in ignorance of YOUR blessings of obedience.  Assist me by the Holy Spirit to submit to your Lordship over my life. I surrender my all to you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

May God bless and keep you always.....


 

 Kristen Gray
  I have been a member of ChristianBlog.Com for 4 years, 1 month and 13 days.

  I have published 45 blogs and 115 comments.

 I currently live in: United States.
joyce+

excellent

Kristen Gray+

Thanks, Joyce for your support! You are a gem!

K Reynolds+

Wonderful blog, Kristen.

You wrote: "They were so focused on having freedom, but not understanding that with freedom comes responsibility"

This is so true! I grew up in a denomination that tended to struggle with legalism in the past due to concern about what some called "easy grace". Rejecting the idea that it was permissible for God's children to behave badly with no consequences, they set guidelines that some people seemed to focus on more than anything else!

However, when I reached adulthood, I discovered that many people also went to the other extreme because they were "covered under grace, sealed and free" so they could do as they pleased, even if it did not please God. Both views contain erroneous thinking. We are under grace but we are not lawless and your blog explains that beautifully.

Kristen Gray+

Thanks for your input. I believe that God's heart is for us to really understand that His grace is sufficient for us, not our works. I pray that we all can apply this truth to our daily lives.