The Holy Spirit has been challenging me (once again) on not just what I think about myself and my life in Christ, but also what I believe to be true about my identity.
Am I fully engaged with the truth that the Bible teaches about my new nature in Christ? Do I regularly partner with the Holy Spirit in the Secret Place to allow Him to wash over me with His truth about me, or do I constantly “work at” and strive to be something that I already am by faith in Jesus?
I want to be vulnerable with a snippet of my conversation with the Father this week while fighting off feelings of anxiety and insecurity over our transition overseas. I believe what He showed me and the scriptures He gave me will be helpful to you also as you navigate through your own identity in Christ.
While trying to get myself organized for the trip, I had a moment when I realized that literally ALL of my personal possessions now fit into only 4 large suitcases – though some things could not fit due to the airline’s 50 pound maximum. My first response to leaving some things behind was anxiety, and I melted down like a toddler. As I began to fully engage with the thoughts of leaving so many other things behind as well, I actually opened the door for the enemy of my soul to speak yet more lies to me.
The devil tried his hardest to keep me from the Father’s loving embrace by then causing feelings of insecurity and inferiority to come at me. “What if I don’t fit in? What if I’m left out? What if…what if…what if….” Now the devil is crafty for sure, but the Spirit of the Resurrected King is within me and is much greater than anything that comes at me (1 John 4:4; Romans 8:11)! I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me that this thinking was indeed incorrect, but the devil jabbed me with one last attempt by trying to convince me that something was indeed wrong with me for feeling anxious, insecure and nervous about the future.
Over the past two years, I have learned that in this type of moment I have to stop, turn to Holy Spirit and ask for a word from His heart to mine instead of continuing to engage with the lies that the accuser (the devil) is throwing my way. When I paused and invited Him to speak to me, it was as if I was fine tuning a radio. Suddenly I heard not static and panic but the sweet voice of the Father say to me:
“These ‘what if’s’ are the devil’s language, Mandy. But MY ‘what if’ is this: What if the only thing ‘wrong’ is not you, but how you are defining yourself in this moment, and what you believe about yourself? What if there’s nothing wrong with you, just something missing in your thinking?”
What an important reminder!
What if we learn to partner with the Holy Spirit immediately instead of engaging in the devil’s tormenting lies? Let’s take anxiety for example. If we define ourselves as anxious, we are speaking the language of the enemy. We are not anxious people – we are new creations in Christ who partake in the divine nature of Christ, and we know that Jesus is not anxious (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4).
What’s missing from our thinking is peace. Anxiety is already dead and buried with Christ (Galatians 2:20), and peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Peace ours in Christ, so rather than engaging with the spirit of anxiety we can work with Holy Spirit to gain greater access to what is already ours in Christ Jesus. My husband calls it a “functional upgrade” in our thinking.
What if it’s not a matter of what we DO to be “better,” but what we believe about what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross?
No one who is born-again is ordinary. And there is certainly nothing “wrong” with us if we are in Christ. We have a real enemy who wants nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy us (John 10:10), and sometimes we are actually unaware of everything that Jesus actually did for us and who He made us.
I’m so grateful for all my times in the Secret Place where the Word has come alive to me and where I have learned scripture for myself to be able to wield my sword when the devil tries to get me to think of myself as anything less than extraordinary. 1 John 4:17 has changed my life in this context: “As He is, so am I in this world” (ESV).
What if being “alive in Christ” really is as simple as just fully engaging with Christ who lives inside of you? Holy Spirit reminded me that day that this looks like knowing and believing my identity and agreeing with the Spirit’s prompting to access the things that Jesus died to give me. It looks like partnering with Him to fill the gaps that are missing in my thinking. I can envision anxiety on the cross with Jesus, dying with Him so that it is no longer a part of my nature because I was crucified with Him. This means that I am no longer enslaved to it, or any other sin: We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6, ESV).
If I am feeling anxious, I can access peace. If I am feeling insecure, I can access full confidence in Christ because I know that I am accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). If I am feeling an unrighteous anger, I can ask Holy Spirit to come and remind me that I am actually a gentle person now and I can partner with the sufficient grace that He has given me to be a person of gentleness (2 Corinthians 12:9). If I feel overwhelming sorrow or grief to the point of despair, I can walk in the joy that is already paid for by Jesus, simply by coming into the fullness of His Presence (Psalm 16:11).
What if we really learned to believe the truth about who we are and learn to engage with only those truths? What if your world needs you to realize that you truly are “free indeed” (John 8:36)?
What if I really AM as extraordinary as God says I am?
~ Mandy Woodhouse