Christians

Who are you in Christ?

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Fortress, refuge, and strength.
Who are you?

Introduction

Ever wonder “Who are you?” More importantly, have you wondered what it means to have an identity as a Christ follower? Ephesians 1 and 2 can revolutionise our understanding of who we are in Christ. Why? Because it is the gospel! Spend this journey with me through Ephesians and other Scriptures to help you develop the habit of taking these truths from these chapters to heart and become who you have been called to be—bring the gospel to life! I challenge you to take every thought captive and test and see if you are thinking, feeling, and living in light of these truths!

The first three chapters of Ephesians are doctrinal (theory), while the last three are practical. Chapter 1 establishes Paul’s view on the value of our salvation in Christ, and the blessings we obtain from it. He does this in the form of praise, directed at God, and describing in detail what it means to have an inheritance in heaven. Later chapters will build on these ideas as Paul connects who we are in Christ to how we should live as Christians.

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Who you are in Christ

So, I guess you thought I would just drop a list and be done with this topic? This topic is far too deep and real to just drop a list and be done with it.

Don’t be discouraged. Don’t procrastinate. Remember the power you have been given in Christ and replace any untruths with these truths from Ephesians and be radically transformed by the renewing of your mind. Look forward to living the rest of your days in the truths of who you are in Christ.

He died that we might live.

Be who Christ has made you to be

Enjoy His life and His power and His righteousness and walk forward by faith in every spiritual blessing you have been given in Christ and bring glory to His name! Throughout the upcoming days, prayerfully meditate upon who you are and give thanks to the Lord. Imagine the lives of those around you who will be impacted as you fully receive every spiritual blessing you have been given.

Thank you, Lord, for all we have been given in Christ!

Praise Him!

You are Chosen

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love. Ephesians 1:4

God chose every person who believe in Him before He created anything. These words have tremendous implications regarding the wisdom and plan of God. His wisdom and power are so great that He knew the present, even from the beginning. Likewise, He knew the end before the start. God exists outside of time, and created time. He is the only being able to know all things because He created all things.

Paul also notes a few important applications of God choosing us to be His children. Because of God’s wisdom, power, and love, our proper response as His children is to live in obedience to Him. We are to be “holy,” a word meaning “set apart.” We are also to live in a way which is without blame, an important characteristic for all believers, especially church leaders (1 Timothy 3:2).

The reference to “love” is typically considered to be part of a new sentence, not the end of the previous one. The concept is better connected with the thought which continues in verse 5.

You are Predestined

“he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–“ Ephesians 1:5.

Paul continues to discuss the theme of predestination, connecting it to the themes of love and adoption. Because of His love, God chose in advance for us to become His children. Jesus came at just the right time for Paul’s readers to hear the gospel message and believe. When they did, they became members in God’s family. Though they were not Jews, they were adopted as sons through Jesus. (Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5).

Paul also teaches why God chose believers to be His children. It was “according to the purpose of his will.” In an act of love and as part of His divine plan, God designed a way for all men and women, even those not part of the Jewish people.

We are equals, as brothers and sisters, in the family of God.

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Light my path and search me, oh God

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Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Light on my path

Life is truly a journey, but sometimes while on the trip we are faced with turns, stops, and forks in the road where we desperately need God’s divine guidance. In the middle of the indecisive moments in our lives, we must do our part in seeking God’s will.

The word of God is designed specifically for the believer to utilise in reading, studying and meditation regarding any situation. God additionally provides his children with the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth and revelation concerning our life’s purpose, plan, and assignment. Frustration often occurs when we independently choose our own plans apart from God’s word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

John 16:13-14: 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.

Similarly, irritation attempts to creep in when we follow God’s word and heed to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and change in our situation doesn’t happen instantly. During those waiting periods, I encourage you to wait some more, trust, pray, and praise the LORD because additional guidance and revelation is on the way.

Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God and sometimes He doesn’t provide the entire picture of your life’s plan, just one pixel at a time. When you feel like you don’t know where to turn, remember God’s word is the light that guides you and illuminates your path.

2 Timothy 3:16-17: 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God continues to reveal, speak, and guide his children. Be encouraged today and make sure that you are in alignment with his will, word, and way. Then you will begin to notice God’s divine guiding power in your life.

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Search me, oh God

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

If we’re not careful, our hearts can become like double-sided tape, picking up slights and hurts with increasing ease. And God is never duped by our outward appearance. He, better than anyone, knows that no human being is exempt from needing to declutter our hearts.

Even David, described as a man after God’s own heart, asked God to examine the contents of his soul in Psalm 139:23-24

His prayer gives us three practical steps to follow in decluttering our hearts.

1 Ask God

David courageously asked God to conduct an internal excavation. This was a brave request considering God knows all things, even that which we hide from ourselves.

And though the combination of our mind, will, and emotions may look like a long overdue garage sale, He is not hesitant to delve inside. He is not repelled by the complexity of our soul. Fully aware of the sum total of who we are, He delights in us.

2 Listen to God

David not only asked, but was prepared to listen to all that God would reveal to him about his heart. This was evident by his asking “See if there is any offensive way in me,”. David wanted to know God’s opinion of who he was at his core.

If we choose, like David, to declutter our hearts, we need to be prepared for what God has to say about us. He may ask us to part with a piece of ourselves we feel intimately connected to. Though it may be difficult, we can rest in the truth that God loves us extravagantly.

He is a master heart pruner, who purges because He knows it will make us better. Gently he persistently prompts us to release the jumbled hodgepodge of clutter we’ve piled up in our hearts. As our Creator, we can trust He has a purpose when He says “Let it go.”

He alone knows what needs to be kept or discarded.

3 Follow God

David ends his Psalm by saying “. . .    and lead me in the way everlasting.” If you are like me, sometimes I think I am a shepherd instead of a sheep. Foolishly, I get confused into thinking I can do a better job leading myself; but I can’t.

This is futile because a self-led person is headed for ruin. It is better to be led by God who sees our beginning and our end. If He can speak to the waves and bring peace then he can speak to our cluttered souls and bring order. We must surrender to Him: believing His infinite understanding of who we are is far superior than our finite perspective.

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Love each other deeply

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1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Christians ought to work hard at loving each other. The Greek word translated as “deeply,” “earnestly,” or “fervently” is ektenē, used to describe the muscles of an athlete straining to win a race. Peter writes that Christians should do this above all. A follower of Christ must make demonstrating the love of Jesus to others his or her first priority. This is always a requirement, but especially crucial during seasons of suffering.

Loving each other is also a proper response to the realisation that the end of all things is near, as mentioned in 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” Knowing that the Day of the Lord could come at any time should cause believers to double down on our commitment to each other.

Finally, loving each other in this way covers a multitude of sins. We need to be careful with this statement. This doesn’t mean that our acts of love for each other can earn God’s forgiveness. Nor does Peter mean to imply that we are paying our sins off through good works. That would contradict what Peter and other New Testament writers clearly teach: that our sins are paid for by Christ’s death on the cross, and forgiveness for sin comes only through trusting in Him.

Rather, the idea that our love for each other covers a multitude of sins relates to our imperfection. Christians are not yet sinless. We are not perfect. We have set the course of our lives away from sin, but we still fail to obey sometimes. We make mistakes, even when we mean well.

Love for each other includes forgiving each other, overlooking past hurts, and building each other up when we fall.

It is difficult for sin and resentment to flourish in a community rich in Christ-like love.

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