Category Archives: identity

Spiritual Warfare #18 ~ Reckon Yourself Dead

Romans 6:11 Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          So, what does it mean to “reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin?” Many translations render this phrase “consider yourself to be dead,” but what does that look like?

          Another good word for “reckon” is “believe.” We must believe that we are dead to sin. But that is not the end of the verse. We must also reckon (believe) that we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. It means we need to stop believing and thinking of ourselves as “sinners,” and start believing and thinking of ourselves as forgiven, redeemed sons and daughters of God. The problem is, thinking and believing does not change automatically, it is changed by what we continually look at and meditate on.

Without daily intimacy with the Lord and continual exposure to His living word, we will stay focused on our failures and shortcomings, never actually becoming all that Jesus paid for. Reading and hearing the Word of God, fellowship with other believers, and listening to good preaching are all good things. However, nothing will transform us faster than spending time with God when no one else is looking. Intimacy is where the greatest transformation takes place. It is where grace has its perfect work.

          Intimacy with the Father builds faith, dispels doubt, and corrects wrong thinking. Beholding Him and His glory shapes our perspectives, confirming and strengthening our identity by changing the way we see Him.

          The Bible says that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 Matthew 12:33-37)

          What is in our heart and mind (believer and thinker) will eventually come out of our mouth, and that is the other thing that must change.

          We will never be free from sin while keeping it in our conversation and our thought life.

          We must not talk about how normal it is for us to sin. Saying things like; “We all sin, everybody sins, we are always going to sin,” strengthens a sin consciousness and reinforces the strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing.

There is a time and place to confess our sins and weaknesses to others for the purpose of needed ministry, restoration, and accountability. However, talking about the sins of others and filling our prayer life with wrong declarations of how sinful and unworthy we have been is counterproductive and anti-finished work.

That is not humility, it is BLASPHEMY! He made you worthy.

          Talking and thinking that way is “reckoning” ourselves alive to sin. It is saying that sin still has power over us, and therefore suggests that the finished work of Jesus did not actually accomplish anything for us.

Sin only has power over us if we empower it.

          If we do miss it and sin, run to God, and declare:

“Lord, I thank you for your mercy. I am sorry, that is no longer who I am Lord. That is certainly not what You look like in me. Thank you for making me clean and transforming me into your image. Thank you for perfecting your work in me and bringing me to the place where this is not an issue anymore. Thank you for your blood! Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for Fathering me.”

           Understand that we have a healthy new identity that was purchased by the blood of Christ. Without our constant exposure to God’s presence and His Word, we will never find out who we are, and who we were created to be. Here are some scriptures that affirms who we are in Christ.

“We are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10)

“We have been perfected.” (Hebrews 10:14)

“We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“We are holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Colossians 1:22)

“We are chosen by God, without blame, an adopted son, accepted, redeemed by His blood and forgiven by His grace.” (Ephesians 1:4-7)

          To truly live the abundant life in Christ we must die to our fallen, carnal nature. For us to be successful at this we will need intimacy with Him, and constant intake and exposure to His Word.  

Our intimacy with the Father is the key to dying to sin and self.

When we give ourselves to intimacy with Him and give ourselves to reading and studying His word, we lay ourselves on the great potter’s wheel allow Him to shape us into everything we were created to be.

If we don’t embrace the finished work of Christ and believe that sin has been dealt with, we the enemy opportunity to deceive us. The primary way he does this is through guilt, condemnation, and shame.

Guilt ~ A subconscious belief that I am not forgiven

Condemnation ~ A subconscious belief that I am worthy of judgment.

Shame ~ A subconscious belief that I am still the old person I used to be before Christ.

These three lies are Satan’s counterfeit to Godly conviction, Godly sorrow, and a Godly perspective on our new identity in Christ.

Romans 14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

For those that struggle with sin, it is a dead give away that they have yet to understand the gospel message and the completed work of Jesus Christ that we are to abide in. Personally, I struggle with it for decades until I began to see my deception. Even then, it took some time to overcome the strongholds of wrong believing. The thing that helped me the most was the book of Romans.

I found that reading Romans in the Message paraphrase of the New Testament helped me gain the right perspective on my redemption. It helped me move from trying so hard to be “sold out to God,” to understanding that I have been “bought out completely!” God purchased me with His own blood, knowing that I was a sinner, knowing that I had a fallen nature, knowing I would make mistakes, and knowing that I could not fix myself. Still he bought me!

Once I realized I could do nothing about fixing my sin, and understanding that only He could, I just quit thinking about it. Now I wake up every day to pursue Him and trust that He is perfecting the work that He started. I believe that God knows what He is doing, and I am thoroughly convinced that I do not.

As we seek God’s face our old carnal man dies, because no man can look into the face of God and live.

Exodus 33:20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 

We can look into the Father’s face because we are Christ’s. We have His Holy Spirit abiding in us. As we behold Him and His holiness, those things that are unholy and unworthy die. This is how we die to self.

We must believe that we are dead to sin, not giving sin another thought, not giving it the time of day. If we keep it out of our thoughts and out of our mouth, all the time and energy we previously wasted on trying to “do better,” or “clean ourselves up,” can be spent with Him.

The most important thing for us to remember about “reckoning ourselves dead to sin,” is believing that we are alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:11 Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Reckon Yourself Dead to Sin

Romans 6:11 Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          So, what does it mean to “reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin?” Many translations render this phrase “consider yourself to be dead,” but what does that look like?

          Another good word for “reckon” is “believe.” We must believe that we are dead to sin. But that is not the end of the verse. We must also reckon (believe) that we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. It means we need to stop believing and thinking of ourselves as “sinners,” and start believing and thinking of ourselves as forgiven, redeemed sons and daughters of God. The problem is, thinking and believing does not change automatically, it is changed by what we continually look at and meditate on.

Without daily intimacy with the Lord and continual exposure to His living word, we will stay focused on our failures and shortcomings, never actually becoming all that Jesus paid for. Reading and hearing the Word of God, fellowship with other believers, and listening to good preaching are all good things. However, nothing will transform us faster than spending time with God when no one else is looking. Intimacy is where the greatest transformation takes place. It is where grace has its perfect work.

          Intimacy with the Father builds faith, dispels doubt, and corrects wrong thinking. Beholding Him and His glory shapes our perspectives, confirming and strengthening our identity by changing the way we see Him.

          The Bible says that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 Matthew 12:33-37)

          What is in our heart and mind (believer and thinker) will eventually come out of our mouth, and that is the other thing that must change.

          We will never be free from sin while keeping it in our conversation and our thought life.

          We must not talk about how normal it is for us to sin. Saying things like; “We all sin, everybody sins, we are always going to sin,” strengthens a sin consciousness and reinforces the strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing.

There is a time and place to confess our sins and weaknesses to others for the purpose of needed ministry, restoration, and accountability. However, talking about the sins of others and filling our prayer life with wrong declarations of how sinful and unworthy we have been is counterproductive and anti-finished work.

That is not humility, it is BLASPHEMY! He made you worthy.

          Talking and thinking that way is “reckoning” ourselves alive to sin. It is saying that sin still has power over us, and therefore suggests that the finished work of Jesus did not actually accomplish anything for us.

Sin only has power over us if we empower it.

          If we do miss it and sin, run to God, and declare:

“Lord, I thank you for your mercy. I am sorry, that is no longer who I am Lord. That is certainly not what You look like in me. Thank you for making me clean and transforming me into your image. Thank you for perfecting your work in me and bringing me to the place where this is not an issue anymore. Thank you for your blood! Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for Fathering me.”

           Understand that we have a healthy new identity that was purchased by the blood of Christ. Without our constant exposure to God’s presence and His Word, we will never find out who we are, and who we were created to be. Here are some scriptures that affirms who we are in Christ.

“We are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10)

“We have been perfected.” (Hebrews 10:14)

“We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“We are holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Colossians 1:22)

“We are chosen by God, without blame, an adopted son, accepted, redeemed by His blood and forgiven by His grace.” (Ephesians 1:4-7)

          To truly live the abundant life in Christ we must die to our fallen, carnal nature. For us to be successful at this we will need intimacy with Him, and constant intake and exposure to His Word.  

Our intimacy with the Father is the key to dying to sin and self.

When we give ourselves to intimacy with Him and give ourselves to reading and studying His word, we lay ourselves on the great potter’s wheel allow Him to shape us into everything we were created to be.

If we don’t embrace the finished work of Christ and believe that sin has been dealt with, we the enemy opportunity to deceive us. The primary way he does this is through guilt, condemnation, and shame.

Guilt ~ A subconscious belief that I am not forgiven

Condemnation ~ A subconscious belief that I am worthy of judgment.

Shame ~ A subconscious belief that I am still the old person I used to be before Christ.

These three lies are Satan’s counterfeit to Godly conviction, Godly sorrow, and a Godly perspective on our new identity in Christ.

Romans 14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

For those that struggle with sin, it is a dead give away that they have yet to understand the gospel message and the completed work of Jesus Christ that we are to abide in. Personally, I struggle with it for decades until I began to see my deception. Even then, it took some time to overcome the strongholds of wrong believing. The thing that helped me the most was the book of Romans.

I found that reading Romans in the Message paraphrase of the New Testament helped me gain the right perspective on my redemption. It helped me move from trying so hard to be “sold out to God,” to understanding that I have been “bought out completely!” God purchased me with His own blood, knowing that I was a sinner, knowing that I had a fallen nature, knowing I would make mistakes, and knowing that I could not fix myself. Still he bought me!

Once I realized I could do nothing about fixing my sin, and understanding that only He could, I just quit thinking about it. Now I wake up every day to pursue Him and trust that He is perfecting the work that He started. I believe that God knows what He is doing, and I am thoroughly convinced that I do not.

As we seek God’s face our old carnal man dies, because no man can look into the face of God and live.

Exodus 33:20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 

We can look into the Father’s face because we are Christ’s. We have His Holy Spirit abiding in us. As we behold Him and His holiness, those things that are unholy and unworthy die. This is how we die to self.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Spiritual Gifts are Free, Maturity is Expensive

Christians follow others for many reasons. Personality, charisma, doctrine, integrity, social status, etc. The reason most people follow a Christian leader is because of the relationship with God that is evident in their life. All great Christian leaders have one thing in common, a genuine intimate relationship with God that is obvious to all.
The reason God sent Jesus was to restore man back to intimate relationship with Himself. The message of the Gospel is one of redemption, reconciliation and restoration of relationship, the removal of all barriers that stand between God and man. Jesus is our peacemaker. If a Christian is not continually growing in this revelation, and living out this truth, he/she is not qualified to lead others anywhere.

Ephesians 2:13-16 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
A leader’s influence should be used to bring others into a deeper relationship with the Father. Deep down this is what we all want. This can only be done by example first, and teaching second. It is impossible to lead someone to a deeper relationship with God than you have personally experienced. You can’t lead anyone to a place you’ve never been. Jesus said of Himself; “I am the way, the truth, and the life… John 14:6

If we don’t know “The Way,” we can’t show the way.
Jesus is the example of leadership that we must follow. We can look at His life and glean many leadership principles that we can live by, but I will only address one main principle that we see Him practice in the gospels. Intimacy with God.
There are no shortcuts to intimacy, it costs time, discipline, effort, devotion, and commitment. Above all, it requires a love for Him. Pursuing intimacy with the Father is the greatest indication of our love for God, and the greatest investment we can make in ourselves and others. Our faith will only rise to level of our love for Him.

Jesus paid the price to restore our relationship with the Father. Are we paying the price to nurture and develop that relationship? This is a question we all must answer for ourselves.
Intimacy leads to maturity. Many Christians follow others because of their “Spiritual Gifting,” not understanding that gifting can easily be manifest without spiritual maturity.

Spiritual gifts are free, but maturity is expensive.

Our identity is not found in our gifting, or our calling, but in our relationship with the Father. Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher is not who we are, it is how we serve. We must find our identity in loving and serving, not gifting.
Disciples are made when people willingly follow you, and your living example. If you make disciples apart from intimacy with the Father, what are you reproducing? Do we really need two or more like you?
Our first priority should be intimate relationship with the Father. We should be cautious of having followers if there are any other priorities above that.
A leader can easily get distracted from spending intimate time with the Lord. A common trap is to replace reading the Bible and going to church with being alone with God and communing with Him. We can only learn about God from reading and studying the Bible. To truly know Him, we must spend time with Him, commune with Him, listen to Him.
Jesus set our greatest example. He only did what He saw the Father do. This demands a lifestyle of watching and praying. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, but it is always necessary.
If you read my biography, you can learn a lot about me, but you can’t honestly say that you know me. You may “feel like you know me,” but to truly know me, you must spend time with me, ask me questions, listen to my responses, spend time with me. It is the same with God.
When intimacy becomes a lifestyle, reading the Bible takes on new dimensions and bears much more fruit in our lives. We begin to view His written word through His divine nature, we see it with an unveiled face and a heart of love that makes us more sensitive to His spoken word. This is when the scriptures really begins to come alive for us.

maturity1.jpg

The Lord taught me a powerful lesson about who I am, and I would like to share it with you.
I pray often that God would live in me and through me in fullness. That people would see Him in me. I remember some time ago, ministering to a lady on the phone one day, she asked me if I was a Pastor. I said “No, my wife is a pastor,” The Lord then spoke to me in the middle of this phone conversation and said, “But I Am a Pastor, and if you deny Me that expression in your life I can’t answer your prayer to live through you in fullness.”
God was showing me that titles and labels don’t define who we are, He does. Many times we limit His expression through our life because our words and beliefs are not aligned with His heart. It gives us a twisted view of our identity. Intimacy with God not only gives us an understanding of who He is, it shapes our beliefs and gives us an understanding of who we are in Him.maturty3.jpg

Who we think we are, must come second to who He wants us to be at any given moment. He showed me that He is the embodiment of the five-fold ministry and if we will maintain intimacy with Him and be sensitive to His desires He will be free to move through us and touch lives in ways that we could never do through our own strength and ability.

Ephesians 4:11-16 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Without intimacy. we will not produce the fruit of who He is in our lives. May we grow in this wonderful relationship until we love like He loves.

As we seek Him, we will find Him. As we draw close to Him. He draws close to us. As we embrace Him, He will embrace us. We love Him, because He first loved us. He proved His love by laying down His life for us. May we lay down our lives for Him. He is worthy

He is worthy of our attention, our affection, our life, and He is worthy of our death should it be required. He is worthy!

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

The Fight for Your Identity

good tree, bad tree

What kind of tree am I anyway?

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

          This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”

Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

          The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.

          Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.

          If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.

         The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”

          When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”

          We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

          We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.

Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

          Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.

          So the question is: What has God said about us?

Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

          God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.

          How we refer to ourselves, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.

          The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.

  1. He gives His people specific instruction on what, when and how to conquer the enemy. When Gods people follow the instruction, He is with them in battle and the victory comes easy.
  2. He tells His people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He fights the battle for us and the victory is ours.

         When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.

          Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. We follow Abraham’s example and call things that are not manifest as though they were.

           Confess that you are righteous, confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. And if you stumble and fall, run to God and say “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”   

 hold fast         This is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. This will produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.

          In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.

So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in your life.

finish

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.