Tag Archives: identity

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In Christ, Rich in Identity.

Categories: Spiritual Formation, Tags: , , ,

I rich single lifecompleted teaching the first session of the “Excursion” for single adults at my church.  We’re using a book by Andrew Farmer, “The Rich Single Life”. Pretty well written with a great perspective on singles living to the fullest during this season of their life, investing it, rather than just sitting around waiting for the season to end. The underlying message is that as followers of Christ, we are all called to live with an undivided devotion to the Lord and His purpose no matter our marital status. Many times our marital status prevents that pure devotion for Christ to be our priority in and through our lives so that He may be cherished and viewed as our life’s greatest treasure.

Tonight’s session was on our being “Rich in Identity”, a place where I believe many of us face our greatest challenge: not allowing the world around us or the forces within us to dictate who we are. Dr. Myles Munroe has said, “If you ever want to know the purpose or function) of a thing, never ask the thing!”  The question and pursuit of who and why we are is as old as creation. We seem to pursue the “expertise” from other ‘fellow-things’ to give us clarity of who and why we are.  The world around us tries so hard to pigeon hole us into a mold that has little to do with our true value as defined by the Creator and not by the creation or its creatures.

Essentially we are made of material both from this world and from beyond this world. Regardless of what humanistic science attempts to posit and declare as law, though man is indeed made up of stuff you can find on the Periodic Table, the core essence of man, is “extra-terrestrial” and not chemical (mind, soul, spirit). (Be careful there…I ain’t going the panspermia lunacy, where humanity came about as the result of a race of aliens from other planets who seeded this planet with their DNA) Nope I am actually referring to a much higher, significantly more dignified stock of personhood.

“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” Genesis 2:7

Yep…we were Mud Men until God gave us being by His breath, which contained something far more transcendent than O2. His breath not only gave life to man, but gave Him being, sentience, and even greater, divine dignity, and the ability to be in relationship with the Almighty God! When God gave us His breath, He stamped us with an extension of Himself.

Another way to look at it: think of the wealth and heritage of a child who is born into the family name Disney, Gates, Graham, Obama. Now consider the supreme inestimable worth of those born with the descriptive nomination, “son/daughter of the Living God!

God made us in His image, a reflection of His divine self, but through our selfishness and willful rebellion, we sinned, marred, and distorted that image, but did not destroy it. (Finite beings cannot destroy spirit/soul essence, divine or demonic). Jesus, the perfect God-Man, offered His sinless life as the just and sufficient payment and resolution of our penalty of sin against a Holy God. Now those who, by faith, trust in Christ and receive His grace, are truly resuscitated and resurrected with divine life from spiritual death and are given a new name,  identity, heredity, a new priority, security, and destiny. As a born again creature of and by love, our identity is no longer dictated by what we did and who we were. Christ has forever changed that when His blood paid the adoption fee for us to become the righteous children of God.

Now, we must live in light of the new ‘who we are’ based on the great ‘Whose we are’, and what He did to make us His. This essence of true identity with new heredity and heritage can become…must become… the basis for the way we see, think and live. Like Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:

“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

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Imprinted with God!

Categories: Spiritual Formation, Tags: , , , , , ,

...the mark of God, impressed upon a Christian, is God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not merely give us the mark, He, as the seal, is the mark!

imprinted-logo1You know how it is… you come up with a new idea for a new product, or company, or music group, etc., and then you want to establish it as a household name with an ingenious, evocative word that will remain on the lips and minds of every human being for several at least several area codes. After interminably, eternally, long seconds of concentrated brainstorming, you finally hit on the new moniker with euphoric ecstasy, sensing you have indeed been blessed with something akin to divine convergence. With absolute glee and prideful delight you publish the title with the hopes that others will bask within the aura of your innovative brilliance! But I digress…

Almost 25 years ago my friend and I went through a similar exercise to create a name for our new ministry. Though with somewhat less effervescence than the preceding vignette, we came up with the term, “imprinted” but it did come complete with special symbolism and significance. I honestly don’t think we thought anything further of it as we got busy in the actual execution of the ministry through music concerts, and church affiliated engagements. But now, 25 years later, and in lieu of the launch of this new website, I have given the name more thought.

I researched the word, “imprint” and its manifold derivations in various dictionaries, as well as cross-referenced similar words in lexicons, online reference resources, and biblical word studies. My findings have been intriguing. I found some simple definitions:

  • to impress, to indent, to stamp”;
  • to make and impression; to have an effect
  • to fix indelibly or permanently, as in the mind or memory; to impress (a quality, character, distinguishing mark, etc.)

…and more complex definitions — from the field of psychology:

“A learning process occurring early in the life of a social animal in which a specific behavior pattern is established through association with a parent or other role model.”

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

There are significant implications for those who are both children of God and temples of His Spirit by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ as we consider the power and purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Which leads us to the key verse for this concept of  ‘imprinted’.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)

Scripture affirms that being “marked with a seal” has to do with identification of ownership, authentication and approval, certification of genuineness and security or assurance. But where, in times past, these were made by placing a mark on the object (like an official insignia pressed into wax), the mark of God, impressed upon a Christian, is God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not merely give us the mark, He, as the seal is the mark! As believers of God and followers of Christ, born of the Spirit, we are not merely marked by God, we are also marked with God!

Consider all those terms: identification of ownership…authentication…approval…security…assurance. The Holy Spirit of God is all these and, I am sure, so much more! But all of this is resident within the life of the Christ follower and with that the call to live up that mark, that seal. This is cause for great celebration but also great demonstration.
(Coming in a subsequent blog)