This past Sunday, our church’s text in Romans 8 reminded me that those of us who are in Christ are, “not in the flesh, but in the spirit.” As I shared, this is the foundation for establishing a trajectory towards maturity. Little by little, as we learn to live into this new identity, we’ll be enabled to overcome issues, discover our unique gifts and callings, and gain an increasing capacity to be a blessing to others.
All of this, though, is predicated on us becoming increasingly secure in our identity, “in Christ.” You can’t live “newness” wearing the clothes of yesterday, and the reality is that it’s easy to wear the old instead of the new. Moving into the new identity requires some things of us:
1. A Renewal of the Mind – We’re told in Romans 12 that our transformation will come through the renewing of our mind, not from walking labyrinths, emptying our minds, or staring at candles. Neither will our renewal come from escaping the harsh realities of this fallen world with alcohol, sex, drugs, etc. etc. Renewal is old school: Receive Revelation by listening to God’s Word tell you who you are.
2. Time – I can’t listen to what God says about me if I never open my Bible, because I only learn the specifics of this new identity through the scriptures, not the general revelation of nature.
3. Faith – I need to say “thank’s for that” when I read about who God says I am, rather than protesting because my experiencers or emotions tell me otherwise.
4. Confession – If the fellowship that allows me to move into this newness is to remain, I need to be quick to confess my sins, and slow to justify them.
If this identity stuff is new to you, I’d suggest you click on this link, and print out the material you find there so that you can read it regularly and thank God for who he’s made you to be. Standing firm in our new identity has been helpful to many people dealing with all kinds of problems.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss this. The path to transformation is, as Eugene Peterson reminds us, not flashy. Rather, it’s a ‘long obedience in the same direction’, which means showing up, listening to God remind me that you’ve a new identity, and thanking him for it in advance so that you can live into it.
Enjoy the ride.