Since the beginning of 2016, I have been following the preaching series of Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter's House in Dallas, Texas. If you may remember, Al and I visited the Potter's House in 2015.
Bishop Jakes has been preaching about being "Grounded in Faith" and has done a tremendous job on making sure that as believers we build on good ground. His scripture has been Psalms 1:1-3 and because I have been following this preaching series, I decided that would be a good scripture to commit to memory for the week.
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers."
I don't know about you, but I want to be a woman who always yields fruit in season, whose leaves never wither and whatever she does - she prospers. I love this scripture and have decided to commit this to memory because this scripture details what one does to be successful and prosperous in life for God's glory. In order for your leaves to never wither, and yield fruit in the season you must be planted in good ground and connected to a life sustaining source -- our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I was invited this past weekend to serve as one of the speakers for Peculiar Ministries, founded by Min. Adija Gaddy. (picture is of me and Adija!) The theme was, "Becoming A Better You" and I was asked to speak about who God says we are. In other words -- what is our identity in Christ?
I've grown up in the church. I got saved at the age of seven and then baptized at the age of eight. I thought I always knew who I was in Christ, but as I've gotten older and more mature in Christ, I see that I haven't always known who I was in Christ. That if I had known this important revelation, then I wouldn't have gotten into so many mishaps and problems in life. I recently finished reading Cissy Houston's book "The Night the Music Stopped" which is a book she wrote about the life and tragic death of her daugher, Whitney Houston.
In the book she details how Whitney was raised in the church, and how she got her start singing in the church choir and how she always prayed before each concert, yet ultimately died from a drug overdose. I've read and re-read Cissy Houston's book because they are so many great details, but yet I could never put my pulse on the situation on what led Whitney Houston to the tragic death from drugs.........
Two weeks ago, Al and I watched the Toni Braxton story on Lifetime. Here was another beautiful, accomplish and great singer -- totally gifted, yet though she didn't die from a drug abuse, Toni Braxton suffered two humiliating bankruptcies where she lost her home, Grammy's and prized possessions. Perhaps one can understand the first bankruptcy, that she was duped, but a second bankruptcy, I think reveals a problem. I asked God how could these two beautifully gifted and successful women, who grew up in the church go through such difficult and tragic situations? I also didn't have to just look at them. I could look at my own life too and wonder -- how I could make some very big mistakes, despite being raised in the church and taught the word of God.
The Lord revealed that the problem was that the roots were not anchored deep enough in His soil. That Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston, (myself and so many others) didn't know their identity in Christ. That if they knew their identity in Christ, if they knew who God called them to be, then they wouldn't have looked to outside sources such as drugs, overspending, and material idols to fulfill and complete them. The Lord showed me that you can be in church, active in ministries but yet not be firmly rooted and planted in Him, and so when tough situations come, because you aren't firmly planted in Him you are looking for other people and other things to validate and comfort you.
During my message at the Peculiar Ministries event, I revealed how God began to show me in His word, who we are and our identity in Christ.
Romans 8:15-17 spells it out perfectly:
"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
We were once slaves to sin but upon accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior we become adopted sons (and daughters) to God. We become His heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. That is our identity as Christian believers -- heirs of God. When my father passed away in 2008 he left an inheritance for my brother and I. We split the inheritance 50-50, but the good news about God, is the inheritance He left for us, we share equally with Jesus Christ. There is no -- Jesus gets 75% and we as believers are to split the remaining 25%, nope that is not how God works! As believers, we enjoy 100% of the inheritance with Jesus Christ. So in other words, everything that God has given Jesus, we as joint heirs receive it too.
Isn't that great news!!
So when we know our identity is that we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and we have everything that He has we should feel so relieved and comforted. God loved Jesus so much and loved Him with an incredible love. That same love God has for Jesus is the same love He has for you. God accepted Jesus Christ just the way He was, and so God accepts you just the way you are. I wish I had known who I was in Christ many, many years ago. I am sure it was taught while I was in church...it just never clicked like it has now.
I've learned that because of my identity in Christ, my confidence and acceptance comes from God and not people. I've posted in the past how I have felt a slave to hair extensions and nails, and even makeup. I've felt my worth has been in having a whole head of hair, or lashes, or acrylic nails. It sounds so silly, but my identity has been wrapped around what I look like. However, for this season, God has stripped me of even the ability to afford such things to TEACH me and direct me to understand that my identity is not in how I look, where I work, or what title I have. But my identity is in Him -- as His daughter. His prized possession. And whether other people recognize it or not, I am valued. I am accepted and He validates me because He has accepted and created me.
I truly believe that when we understand who we are in Jesus Christ we avoid making bad decisions such as fornication, overeating, stress, anxiety and even the spirit of fear. I explained to the women at Peculiar Ministries that it's a daily walk that I remind myself of who I am. I renew my mind daily on my identity in Christ. (When you have had such a warped identity for so long, you have to transform your mind). So I remind myself -- when worry starts to creep in, I say, "No. I will not worry. Instead, I will have peace. Jesus is peace, therefore I have peace." When I start to feel anxious or nervous about any situation and want to eat to soothe my nerves, I remember my identity in Christ, and my identity in Christ allows me direct access to the Father, so I begin to talk to God about how I feel and refuse to cater to my anxiety with food, shopping or any other filler than God.
Knowing our identity in Christ, and understanding that we are joint-heirs with Jesus helps ensure that our roots are anchored deeply in the word of God. When we stand on our identity in Jesus Christ that is a powerful weapon against the enemy. When Satan comes like a roaring lion, whispering lies, manipulation or temptation, I am able to explain that I KNOW who I am in Jesus Christ and that I have power and authority over Him and will not be duped, or misled so he can just go right back where he came from. Like the Facebook memes say, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"
I know who I am in Christ and I pray that this post has encouraged you to claim your identity in Jesus Christ as well. We serve an awesome Father and He wants us to know who we are as His children. I found this great resource by Joyce Meyer Ministries filled with great scriptures that speak on our identity in Jesus Christ. Print it out and post where you can see it every day and confess it daily.
Kacie Starr Long is an author, talk show host and the proud wife of Alfred T. Long Sr. When not writing, Kacie enjoys sewing. She is the founder of Sew Hope, a sewing school for previously incarcerated men and women. Connect with Kacie at www.InspiredOverflow.com and via her YouTube page for more inspiration and encouragement.