June Letter 2016

June Letter 2016

Dear Faith Partner:

foc_website_highlight-2Who are you? Are you who others say you are or is who you are determined by how you feel today, subject to change tomorrow? The truth of the matter is, you are who God says you are. In America today, I really believe we have an epidemic going on. We are in the midst of an identity crisis.

People do not know who they are anymore. They are letting what they see on television, hear from others and feel in their emotions define who they are. There is confusion about ethnic identity, gender identity, sexual identity, cultural identity and spiritual and personal identity. In this present day, people are struggling more than ever with their identity.

 

Personal insecurities really hinder or cause people to not look positively on their own identity.  Insecurities of course are from a lack of confidence or assurance; it’s self-doubt. Identity deals with who someone is; the name of a person or the qualities, belief, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others.

I want us to let the Scriptures help us discover our new identity in Christ. Let’s look first at John 1:11-13 (NIV) “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in him, he gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  As well let’s look at 2 Corinthians 1:22 (NLT) which reveals “and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.”  Right NOW God sees us as His own. What this means is that each of us should abandon any self-image that is not from God. Stop accepting what others have said about you, how others have labeled you and how others attempt to redefine you when God has already defined you.

It seems to me that we have allowed two major elements to affect how we see ourselves – our self image:

  1. First of all, we have let culture define who we are. Our culture generally is consumed with outward appearances. God is not looking on the outward part of a man, but the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)
  2. Secondly, we have allowed our past define who we are. So many are living their new lives, looking backwards.

Now that you are born again, how many of you really identify with who you are in Christ? Most believers know who they are in the natural realm in the sense that they know who their parents are, where they grew up, etc.; however, they don’t know who they are in Christ. You know the spirit is completely recreated at the point of salvation; we are made new creatures in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17- 18, AMP) This transformation takes place within our spirit however, our soul is being saved daily and our body is conforming. (James 1:21) It is time for believers to start believing what God says about them; He is pleased with how He created you!

You are not defined by your feelings. You are not defined by the opinions of others or by your circumstances. You are not defined by your successes or failures. You are not defined by the car you drive, the money you make or the house you say you own. You are defined by God and God alone; He identifies you as His own. (2 Corinthians 1:22)

The thing is, if you do not know who you are then you will be vulnerable and open to what other people determine is your identity. You have to settle in your heart that the concrete, solid, gospel truth is that you are who God says you are and no one else has a vote in the matter. It is because your identity is so valuable satan is constantly attacking that identity. Satan attacked the only two people who received their DNA directly from God, Adam (Genesis 3:1-8) and Jesus (Matthew 4:1-8). The tactics of the enemy have not changed; he is still attacking the identity of those God identifies.

When we constantly look into the mirror of the Word, we will always know who we are. (James 1:22-25) Here are but a few examples:

  • Romans 8:15-17 (NLT), “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory…”
  • Ephesians 1:6 (NKJV) “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
  • I Peter 2:9 (NLT) “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

As believers, there are four basic keys to our true identity: Our New Name, A New Covenant, Our Adoption and Being an Heir of God.  The Word of God establishes our identity and encourages us in that identification. Let me share a few examples of what I am saying. As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a child of God (Romans 8:17) and you are a temple of God’s dwelling (I Corinthians 3:16).  As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17) and you are a member of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 4:15-16). As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20) and as He is, so are we in this world. (I John 4:15-17).

You might ask “what difference does this make in the way I live?” A big difference! If you truly embrace in your heart your new identity in Christ, a significant difference will be seen in the way you approach each day. For example, it is because of our new identity in Christ that we are free from condemnation. (Romans 7:24-8:2) Many people struggle with accepting God’s grace and mercy. However Paul’s declaration of “no condemnation” means judgment, accusation and bondage to sin are NO more. We must believe in the work of Christ and walk in our freedom – we must embrace the identity that God has given to us. We must see ourselves the way God sees us, “But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. I Peter 2:9 (TLB)

As we are entering the mid-point of 2016 we pray that each of you are sure and steadfast in who God has called you to be and where He has called you to serve. Janice and I love serving God, walking in the fullness of what He has called us to and being joined with you all in our covenant commitment. We appreciate you, your prayers and you continued dedication to that covenant.

 

Your Partner and Friend,

RBP-Signature1-275x40

Richard B. Peoples, Sr.

 

 

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