Identity part 4

Imagine an aggressive army invading your country. You are powerless to fight back or take a stand. It is a time of hiding, becoming invisible to survive. The enemy sweeps through the country, killing every person and animal, destroying every crop and business. Becoming destitute and impoverished, living seems futile. But you try. You don’t give up. Not knowing what else to do, you do the one thing that comes naturally to you. Harvesting. Gathering the remnants from your crops, you hide inside a winepress as you try to thresh the remaining wheat. Cowering in fear, you frantically try to preserve your produce whilst not drawing attention to yourself. This was Gideon in Judges 6.

It must have seemed crazy, but an angel visited Gideon, telling him he was a mighty warrior, a man of great strength. The opposite of what Gideon was manifesting as he hid, cowering in fear.

The angel gave Gideon instructions, which Gideon carried out. His actions, though, demonstrated he didn’t trust the outcome. He ‘hedged his bets’. The angel then gave him further instructions. Each time, Gideon seemed to become more courageous. Each time, Gideon asked for a further sign. It was a journey of overcoming fear and finding courage. Fear still dominated but became less and less paralyzing.

Gideon slowly demonstrated that, yes, he was a mighty warrior.

The more Gideon believed that which the angel told him, the more courageous he became.

Hearing, meditating on, and believing our true identity is crucial. We cannot consistently act in a certain way if we don’t believe it.

Growing in our identity is a journey. A journey of discovering more about ourselves and more about who we are as God’s beloved child and the implications of that.

When we embrace our identity and live fully in that, we are unconquerable and weapons of power in the Kingdom. Since that is such a threat to Satan, he loves to challenge that part of us the most – our identity. Satan tried it with Jesus in Matthew 4:3 & 6, saying twice, “If you are the son of God….” Thankfully, Jesus knew and was secure in his identity.

When we are secure in who we are and whose we are, i.e. our identity, we more easily identify the games the enemy plays to ensnare us. We keep our eyes firmly on God, secure in Him and His thoughts towards us.

The enemy will endeavour to throw you off the true path. He will do anything to have our identity distorted, damaged, or destroyed. When we partner with the enemy in this, we go down misleading and damaging paths. The Bible is full of people who struggled with their identity and ran from their true calling, often engineering circumstances differently. Gideon, Moses, Sarah, Rebekah, etc. I am currently reading the Book of Genesis in my daily devotions and finding it fascinating how these men and women of God tried to orchestrate their calling and prophetic words. They stuffed it up completely, often causing tragic circumstances that outlived them, negatively affecting their generations to come.

When you examine the lives of these Bible characters, you realize they only complicated things even more. They often caused more harm and damage to their identity and self-worth.

Insecurity and being unsure about our identity are a fantastic invitation to lean into God. It is an invitation to identify any false beliefs about who we are, our purpose, etc. and to integrate God’s perspective in all those areas.

Prophetic words will often address identity and destiny. The fulfilment of these prophecies often depends on us becoming the person spoken of in our prophecies – our character, our identity, our nature. Whilst we are waiting for our prophetic words to be fulfilled, we have a significant role to play – that of aligning our character and identity with whom God says we are.

We defeat our internal giants before we take on external giants. Becoming the person God sees us as is claiming and possessing our inner territory. If we are insecure and fearful, don’t expect to overcome fear in the world. Start with yourself. If we are harbouring bitterness and unforgiveness, it is hard to bring love to a hurting world. If we are full of regrets and disappointments overwhelm us, it is hard to bring hope to a dejected world.

Sanctification is the process of renewing our mind (Romans 12:1-2) and allowing what God says and thinks about us to shape who we are and what we do. It is becoming more Christlike, transformed as we believe and live out our Biblical identity. Our beliefs dictate our behaviour.

If we live out of our true identity as a beloved child of God and how God sees us, we no longer feel the need to find worth in our external circumstances. People’s opinions, work success, family life, friendships, looks, etc no longer define us and determine our significance. We are then free to experience God’s unconditional love and worth afresh.

When we realize our true identity, we have more clarity about our purpose and destiny. We can determine that our function is not our identity. A classic example of this is when people have been called a prophet or prophesied they will be a prophet, that person can subtly incorporate that title as their identity. Being a prophet is not your identity. It is purely a function.

My identity – that of discovering who God has created me to be, is a process. A journey of discovery. Of becoming that which we discover about who Father God, Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ says we are.

Like an onion with many layers, as we spend time with God and deal with sin and hurts in our lives, we learn more about ourselves, who God says we are, and who He sees us as.

This changes and solidifies us on the ‘inside’ – our soul – mind, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, eventually becoming expressed in our behaviour.

I would love to hear any additional aspects of your identity which you have recently discovered. Please comment below.

To read the previous posts in this series on identity, click on the following titles: Identity part 1, Identity part 2 – starts with who God is, Identity part 3 – steps towards a healthy identity

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

Every week I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to practice to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation:  Ask God to highlight to you as a family or group someone who is afraid. Ask everyone to sense what God wants you to say or do to help this person.

2. Group Activation: Spend time with God as a group, asking Him which areas of their lives each individual person needs courage for. Ask everyone to share what they were feeling, sensing, hearing, seeing. Ask God to highlight a creative way of releasing courage over the group as a whole and over each other. Finish with blessing each other.

3. Beginner Activation: Spend time with God, asking Him to show you an area of your life He would love to strengthen you in. Ask God to highlight a Bible verse/person/book. Read this and spend time with God asking Him how to apply the principles to your life. Ask God to show, tell or give you something you can apply to your life or strengthen you from this time. Ask God to show or tell you how He sees you.

4. Intermediate Activation: Spend time with God asking Him to show you someone in your life or community who lives in fear. Ask God to show or tell you His heart for this person or group and what He would love your response to be.

5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to highlight a ‘people group’ or nation living in fear. Spend time with God, hearing/sensing/seeing His heart for these people. Craft a prophetic declaration for these people and their future. Release the prophetic declaration in a creative way eg dance, act, speak, paint, draw, poem, prophetic act, etc.