Become Who You Are
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Tags: Christ in us Identity in Christ Christ as us
Welcome to Life as God Intended. I'm Don Burzynski. And I'm excited that you've tuned in today. In today's broadcast, we're on our third in a six-part series on the importance of understanding your identity in Christ. So, if you haven't watched the previous broadcasts, I'm going to encourage you to do so, so you kind of get the sequence and the consistency of what we're talking about. Today we're going to consider identity and behavior. One of the popular social media platforms today is Twitter. Some of you might be on Twitter. And Twitter is filled with some hilarious, clever tweets written by husbands and wives that illustrate that changing your spouse's behavior isn't as easy as it looks. Let me give you some examples. A husband tweeted: couples have an amount that they can spend up to without discussing with each other. Mine is around $50, the husband said. My wife's is around $643.27 cents apparently. A wife tweeted: my husband still talks about the one time he loaded the dishwasher correctly, like it's going to get our kids into Harvard. A husband tweeted: marriage is mostly about knowing which hand towels you can use and which ones are for the better people who visit your wife's home. A wife tweeted: sorry I'm late again because I had to find all the things that were in plain sight for my husband. A husband tweeted: I don't understand how God can have Ten Commandments for the whole world and my wife can have 152 just for our house.
So, as you can see, people have always been trying to change their behavior and the behavior of others.
And they're struggling to accomplish that task. And that's because there is so much confusion on the subject, particularly of Christian behavior, which is our concern and our topic.
How does a Christian affect change in behavior? And, frankly, why does it matter? The famous author
C.S. Lewis was quoted saying, "When we Christians behave badly or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world." So, I guess it does matter if we're concerned about others. And certainly, as Christians, we ought to be. So, how is a Christian to behave? And more importantly, how does understanding your identity in Christ directly influence your behavior? One thing is certain if you haven't already discovered. And that is that trying to change behavior doesn't work real well. The primary reason is that it's up to you and you're the one with the bad behavior. I don't think we really thought that through; did we? So, behavioral modification is based on the idea that good behavior should lead to positive consequences and bad behavior should lead to negative consequences.
Well, have your best efforts to produce positive results worked? Probably not very well. And that's
because you don't have self-potential as we've been told. In our last broadcast, we stated that birth, not behavior, determines identity. Spirit identity always has a spiritual source, an 'either-or', God or Satan, that your identity is derived from an 'either-or' spiritual source. The truth is, until you understand who you are in Christ, you will never be able to behave like who you have become. Might want to repeat that. Until you understand who you are in Christ, you're never going to be able to behave like the one who you have become. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 3 in Verse 3, Paul spoke of the Corinthians, and I'm quoting now, "Being manifested as a letter of Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God on tablets of human hearts."
Wow. You may well be the only expression of Jesus that someone may ever see. Christ as you. Jesus
represented as you, living by means of you. Christians must rediscover who they are in order to be consistent expressions of Jesus Christ. I want you to listen carefully as we examine some Scriptures that reveal this. Christians are called "sons of God" in Galatians 3:6. "Children of God" in 1 John Chapter 3 Verse 1 and 2. Obviously we're no longer children of the devil. We're referred to as "the people of God" in 1 Peter Chapter 2 in Verse 10. And as the people in God, we're intended "to rest," Hebrews 4:9. We're "members of God's household," Paul says in Ephesians 2:19. And we're "citizens of heaven," Philippians 3:20. Every Christian is "a priest," Peter writes in 1 Peter Chapter 2 in Verse 9, with access into "the Holy
of Holies of God's presence," Hebrews 10:19.
Did you notice the contrast between who you were and who you have become? Listen carefully. "Once you were a sinner," Romans 5:19. "Now you're a saint," Romans 5:17. "Once you were ungodly," Romans 5:6. "Now you're identified as Godly," 2 Peter 2:9. "Once you were excluded from the life of God," Ephesians 4:18. "Now you are the chosen one of God," Ephesians 1:4. "Once you were separated from Christ," Ephesians 4:18. "Now you are reconciled to God," Romans 5:10-11. "Once you were unrighteous," 1 Corinthians 5:21. And "now you have been made righteous," Ephesians 4:24.
You see, all these Scriptures point to Jesus Christ as the spiritual source of the Christian's identity. "You have been made Holy and blameless and beyond reproach," Colossians 1:22. You have been made
perfect because of the perfect one, Jesus Christ, who dwells within your human spirit in spirit union.
How does knowing your identity in Christ practically change the way you live? Aren't all these New
Testament commands written so that my obedience to them would change my behavior. Well, you won't want to miss next week's broadcast as we discuss this very question.
Thanks for watching today. And if you have any questions or comments, please put them in the
comment section below. And if you liked the video, give us a thumbs-up and share it with your friends.
People have always tried to change behavior, whether it be their own or someone else’s. One thing is for certain, which you have probably already discovered, your best efforts to modify your behavior don’t result in the consistent, sustained outcome that you hope for. The primary reason for this is that you place the responsibility to change on yourself - the one perpetuating the unwanted behavior! How can the answer rely on you? It is not logical nor likely that this strategy will produce what you want.
The discouragement that emerges from failed attempts to change often causes Christians to excuse their sinful behavior to the point where there is not enough significance placed on how Christians behave. C.S. Lewis is quoted saying, "When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world." In other words, how we behave as Christians is of the utmost importance, however, our best self-effort will never affect a permanent behavioral change.
Only understanding our identity in Christ is what directly influences our behavior. Spirit-identity is always derived from one of two spiritual sources, God or Satan. It is never produced from within ourselves. The truth is, until you understand who you are in Christ, you will never be able to behave like who you have become.
Our behavior should express our new identity as Christ-Ones described in the following scriptures:
- Christians are manifested as a letter of Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God on tablets of human hearts. - 2 Cor. 3:3
- Christians are now sons of God. - Gal. 3:26
- Christians are now members of God's household. - Eph. 2:19
- Christians are now citizens of heaven. - Phil. 3:20
- We were once sinners, now we are Saints. - Rom. 5:19
- We have now been made righteous. - Eph. 4:24
As you can see, there is a stark contrast between who we were and who we have become! We have been made perfect because the Perfect One, Jesus Christ, dwells within our human spirit. We are in spirit-union with Him. Only when Christians rediscover who they are will they consistently express the character of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must become who we have been made to be because we may well be the only expression of Jesus that someone will ever see, which is Christ represented as us, living through us.