Robert H. Kraft in his book I Give You Authority: Practicing the Authority Jesus Gave Us, makes the following astute and pertinent observations:
I am convinced, through working in inner healing and deliverance, that the enemy’s primary area of attack is our self image. He does not want us to discover who we are. I work with victimized, abused and defeated people whose lives are often characterized by severe hopelessness or depression. Yet they are often brimming with hidden talents and untapped spiritual gifts given to them by God at conception. The enemy, knowing what these gifts and talents are, has done his best to keep these people from knowing their abilities. And he has destroyed or nearly destroyed their perception of who they are intended to be.
I can deeply relate to Dr. Kraft’s words because for years I was one of those people he describes, especially in regards to those powerfully devastating words he uses – words like hopelessness, depression, and defeated. Kraft uses the adjective “severe” in front of the word hopelessness. This is a horrible state of spiritual angst. Kraft goes on to list eight significant points relative to our true identity as new creations “in Christ.”
We are created only a little lower than God
- Although in Adam we gave it all away, God has stepped in a redeemed us.
- We who have committed our lives to Christ are the children of God
- God gives us the Holy Spirit to live within us
- Our position has been further dignified by the fact that God in Jesus has united with us for eternity.
- We are children of the King
- By His grace, God actually trust us!
- Spiritual authority is part of who we are
We have often been told, and it is true, that we appropriate the gospel message of salvation by having faith that it is so. Any reading of Paul will bear this out. However, this addresses only part of the gospel. Our sins were forgiven at the cross but we also died and rose with Christ that we may be part of new family, with Him at the head. It would seem to me that the operation of faith is also central here.
If we are saved by grace through faith, we are also sanctified and created in the image of Christ by the same faith. We are restored by faith; we are resurrected by faith; and we, especially our minds, are renewed by faith. Why is it that so many Christians focus on and believe that they are saved by faith, but fail to see that they are restored, resurrected and renewed by faith? I suspect that are many reasons for this omission, not the least of which is the fact that our renewal by faith is not stressed from the pulpit nearly as much as our salvation by the blood.
What we are talking about here is coming to a living, vital, and above all else, transforming understanding of our new identity in Christ. Once we accept on the basis of faith that we do indeed have this new identity planted within us, we are then in a position to begin to explore our true potential “in Christ” and further, develop strategies for realizing that blessed, God-given potential in the context of our daily living.
In addition to the above, I am increasingly aware of the flow of realizing our potential of who we are in Christ. This process of unfolding our true spiritual identity involves the following:
New Creation ->Potential -> Purpose -> Vision -> Glory -> Kingdom -> Incarnation
We begin by taking it on faith that we are exactly what God says we are: New Creations. Everything that follows hinges upon our acceptance of our new identity in Christ. I can’t stress this point enough. We need to have a deep conversation with God and with ourselves. The subject matter of that conversation is coming to a living, transforming awareness of the fact that the new has come and the old has passed away. Baptism is the sacrament that recognizes and symbolizes this act of grace in which we have risen with Christ, justified before God as new beings.
Next, we recognize and accept that God has placed a unique potential within each and every one of us. The realization of that potential is part of our personal mission on this planet and exists within the context of God’s overall plan and purpose for humanity. When we marry our potential to our individual purpose, our potential is activated and we begin to move toward becoming all that we were designed to be. When our purpose is connected to a specific personal vision, our potential is further unfolded in the context of our purpose and vision. As the process reaches fruition, we then realize our vision, our purpose, and our potential. In doing so, we manifest our glory. Our glory can be defined as becoming the best version of ourselves and claiming our already established identity “in Christ.” By manifesting our glory, we are able to fulfill our God-given role in the establishment of his Kingdom. The entire process is thus carried forward in the Kingdom Context. On a practical level, the kingdom context consists of the recognition that the primary reason Christ incarnated was to inaugurate the process of establishing his kingdom on earth. Our “glory walk” involves nothing less than having all of our actions flowing from the living awareness of our responsibility of carrying on the Lord’s kingdom mission.
Our glory walk is indeed just that: a walk of glory in which we manifest our glory by living our vision and we glorify God by actually becoming everything he created us to be. Our mission then becomes to continue to incarnate Christ on earth by carrying forward his kingdom mission in the place where he has planted us. Recognizing that we are where we are because Christ, in his wisdom, placed us there, we go about making an influential kingdom impact in the areas where we have been given the opportunity to do so. This may be at work, at church, on the bus or the train, and most certainly, in our homes and neighborhoods.
Walking in glory is not only a personal enterprise, but is a corporate issue as well. As the true Body of Christ here on earth, the Church is to incarnate Christ in his totality to a hurting world hell bent on destruction. These days much energy and talent is spent in criticizing the Church and, granted, there is much to take issue with. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is this tainted and fault-filled Church that is to carry out the corporate function of establishing God’s kingdom here on earth. As with most things, in our attacks on the church we must take care that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Despite its problems, it is this very Church Universal that is charged with a huge responsibility and privilege. Let’s ever keep that reality before us.
All things considered, the Church is not so bad. And besides, this is Christ’s wife we’re talking about here. And let’s also keep in mind that we are not all that perfect, either. How was it that Jesus put it when he was drawing in the sand? Let him who is without sin…..
Finally, let’s also remember that just as we can be transformed and, miracle of miracles, eventually be blessed enough to walk in our glory, so also can the church. Can you imagine that? The Church eventually becoming the optimal version of itself, walking in its corporate glory and carrying out its corporate purpose, all for the manifest glory of God – truly my friends it boggles the mind.
Do you believe it can and will happen? I do. I trust what God has said in the Bible and even more, I know that with God, all things are possible.
Whenever I need living, breathing proof of that divine fact, all I have to do is look in a mirror.
© L.D. Turner 2008/All Rights Reserved