Author's Note: This article has been adapted from my book, Fulfill Your Dreams.
It's important to understand our identity in Christ and how to overcome wrong identity beliefs. Awareness of our new identity in Christ is foundational to living the abundant life of an overcomer. His victory has become our victory!
In Colossians 3:3, the apostle Paul writes,"For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
Furthermore, in Galatians 2:20, he says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Paul's language is clear: Believers are dead to their old lives and now live from new life in Christ. Our lives are hidden or found in Christ. In Colossians 3:3, the word "hidden" is from the Greek word kryptō, which means to keep safe, protect or hide. In the verse, the word implies to hide for the purpose of safekeeping. In other words, in Christ, we are kept safe, hidden in Him!
We are united with Jesus in His death and resurrection; therefore, we are of His image and likeness. We also have a new identity; it is a heavenly identity. Our true family lineage is that of Christ, for we are now born from above.
This is why Paul could say, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."
Paul declared in Philippians 4:13 (NKJV), "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It is Jesus who lives in you, through the person of the Holy Spirit who empowers you to live life at peace, confident and courageous through all of life's ups and downs.
It begins with understanding who you are in God through Christ—completely loved, adopted and not forsaken—ever. Your past does not define you; the cross and His resurrection define you and your future.
Philippians 3:13a (MEV) describes Paul "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead." The past is closed, but the future lies ahead and is full of new possibilities!
We cannot live meaningful lives in the future if we are tied to our past failures and mistakes—or even our past successes. We must be able to learn from our past, without being controlled by it, to move ahead with what God has for us now.
The Grasshopper Complex
"Who are we to do this?" the Israelites questioned. (See Num. 13:1-3,17-20, 25-33.)
The Israelites were a good example of being tied to the past and unable to look ahead with what God had for them in the present. They still had a "slave mentality."
Twelve spies were sent out, and they found the land to be productive, just as God had promised. But 10 of the 12 were shaken with fear—the fear of failure! After all, the Canaanites had walled cities; the Israelites were accustomed to tents. Oh, and there were giants in the land!
The 10 spies responded to Moses by saying, "Who are we to do this?" The root of their unbelief was a slave mentality. Their reasoning: Former slaves who live in tents do not win battles against giants who live in walled cities. The Israelites were free from the bondage of Pharaoh and Egypt, but they still saw themselves as former slaves and, therefore, concluded failure was inevitable.
In other words, their slave mentality caused the nation of Israel to believe they were unable to possess what God had promised. It was their false identity that empowered unbelief and allowed their fear to rule them. Unbelief and fear are debilitating.
As a result, they reasoned, "In our eyes we were like grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes" (Num. 13:33). We are nobody; we are like mere insects that will get squashed! Conclusion: Failure is inevitable; grasshoppers do not win wars! The Israelites were still slaves in their own minds.
When the Israelites saw themselves as weak slaves, they wrongly assumed the Canaanites did also.
Joshua 2:9-11 records Rahab's perspective of the Israelites: "I know that the Lord has given you the land, for dread from you has fallen upon us, and all the inhabitants of the land melt in terror before you. For we heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. Our hearts melted when we heard these things, and no man had any breath in him because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below."
When they saw themselves as grasshoppers, the very reality of how others viewed them made no difference! They looked at how big the obstacles were instead of how big God is.
Assumption apart from God's revelation leads to unbelief and fear. The Israelites' assumption clouded the truth. By the way, assumptions are termites to relationships!
God invited the Israelites to partner with Him to accomplish great exploits, but unbelief and fear robbed them of a great privilege. Except for Joshua and Caleb, the spies looked at how big the obstacles were instead of how big God is. They were no longer slaves in Egypt, but they were enslaved in their minds by unbelief and fear.
It would be 40 years before another generation of Israelites possessed the promised land. The unbelief of the 10 spies distorted the truth and caused an entire generation to forfeit what God had freely given them.
This is the first part of a two-part series. Check back on charismamag.com soon for the second part. In the meantime, be sure to listen to Empowered for Purpose with Dr. Bob Sawvelle on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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