Your Identity in Christ
When Jesus walked the streets of Galilee, His acts of healing created division among those who watched Him. Some rejoiced at the miracles they witnessed, while others criticized Him. The same attitudes exist today. Healing, deliverance, and miracles are ways in which the kingdom of God is made manifest through us. When we bring the kingdom of God to earth, we invite criticism, because wherever the kingdom goes, it destroys belief systems that are opposed it.
The greatest criticism of healing during the first century came from religious leaders. They had followers who admired their shallow spirituality. The miracles of Jesus drew people away from them and turned their hearts back to God. The kingdoms these men had built were beginning to crumble. Their response was to criticize the new thing God was doing. Little has changed today. Most of the criticism of healing today comes from religious leaders who are building their own kingdoms.
To have success in healing, you must deal with the issue of what people think of you. If you have fear of what others think of you, it may prevent you from realizing your full potential. You must learn to put aside the criticism of co-workers, church leaders, family, and friends. Jesus wasn’t popular with religious leaders or his family. He was despised by many people, but the sick loved Him like crazy because to them, He was the fragrance of life. And I believe that kind of life is worth pursuing.
When I became interested in healing, I noticed something in the gospels that I’d never spent much time thinking about. Jesus healed a lot of people. If you don’t think healing is for today or you don’t think it’s your calling, it’s easy to overlook just how many people He healed. As I studied His life, I realized that there wasn’t much else He did that could be called “ministry.” He taught in the synagogues and preached the kingdom as people followed Him. But He spent an enormous amount of time healing the sick. The more I studied His life, the more I knew there was something missing from mine.
The Bible reveals many things about us. When we read it we tend to identify with someone. I might see the heart of King David and identify with him. You might see yourself in Deborah or Ruth. Some identify with the apostle Paul. We all see someone whose life is similar to our own. But almost no one looks at Jesus and says, “I can see myself in Him.”
The people we strongly identify with become our role models. Ironically, we aren’t called to become like the apostles or prophets. God’s plan is for each of us to be conformed into the image of Christ. If we never identify with Jesus, we have a big problem. God wants us to become like Him and that means He must become our role model. But many of us have used a pastor or one of the disciples as a role model instead. If we are to be transformed into His image, we must begin to identify with Him. He must become our model in everything we do. We must allow Him to live His life through us.
The first message Jesus preached was, “Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (see Matt. 4:17). The message of repentance has become well-known, even among those who are not religious. But its true meaning has become distorted over the years. The word repent, which is used in most English Bible translations, comes from the Latin translation of scripture. It implies a change of action in an attempt to gain favor with someone. The Greek word used in this passage is the word metanoia, which comes from two words; one refers to a change; the other refers to the mind. The instruction of Jesus was not for people to change their behavior to gain favor with God. He wanted them to change their way of thinking because the kingdom of God had arrived.
Jesus changed the emphasis and tone of the spiritual conversation. Rather than focus on keeping the law by our own strength of will, He emphasized the love that the Father has for us. He taught and demonstrated through His life and death that the Father loves us more than we can ever comprehend. The good news of the gospel is that God is in love with you. It is only when the heart is gripped by the affection of the Father that our outward behavior begins to change in a real way.
When I became a Christian, I listened to preachers who drilled into my head the idea that God saw me as a worthless sinner. I was taught that He really didn’t like me very much, but He decided to save me, despite my wretchedness. I accepted this view of myself and after a while, the word “sinner” became my identity. After years of living a powerless, defeated life, God said He didn’t see me that way. He said that my true identity was a beloved and cherished son – not a worthless sinner.
The more you accept God’s love for you personally – the more your identity as His child will be established. And the more your identity as His child is established, (and your false identity is removed) the greater the power of His kingdom will become manifest through you. Manifesting the miraculous power of God is a matter of understanding and accepting your identity in Christ.
Through many different dreams, God began to show me things that I would do that seemed impossible. He showed me how I would affect people’s lives around the globe. His plans for me were so much greater than the ones I had for myself. Rather than a life of mediocrity, He showed me the inheritance we have as heirs of His kingdom. As sons of God, we have truly been given exceedingly great promises.
Many of us are afraid of becoming prideful. In an attempt to remain humble, we prefer to see ourselves as less than how God sees us. When we see ourselves this way, we destroy the work He wants to do in and through us. True humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself exactly the way God thinks of you; not more and not less.
The key to operating in the power of God is knowing your identity in Christ and knowing how He wants to work in you. You must shed the false identities you’ve accepted from man and receive the identity given to you by God.
This is an excerpt from my book Divine Healing Made Simple.