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Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest. The reaper is already receiving pay and gathering fruit for eternal life, so the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t labor for; others have labored, and you have benefited from their labor.”
We will spend a lot of our lives asking “Who Am I?”. We will spend another significant amount of time asking ourselves “Why Am I?
About 11 months ago, I was exposed to an answer to those questions.
My life has not been the same since. I have been many things in this life: A theatre lighting specialist, an actor, a musician, a model, a student Architect and drafts-man, an electrician, a programmer, a project manager, a seminary student, an evangelist. I have been many other things that do not bear discussion or revelation here. I was, through it all, at best, very religious, or at worst, very evil. Through none of it, did I have a clue who I am in Christ, or why that matters. My acknowledgement of Christ was cultural. I grew up in the Bible Belt, and being a Southern Baptist was what we did. What I learned that Seminary had more to do with promoting the “Baptist Faith and Message” than learning how to be a servant of the Lord. Even if I was taught anything about the relational aspects of Jesus, I was not in a place where that made sense. I was there because my religious ambitions out weighed my need to understand the work of the Cross. I tell you this to let you know, I am not writing as anything other than what happened to me 11 months ago. I am writing as a new believer, who has finally understood what the whole meaning and purpose of the Cross is, and have finally understood and accepted where I am in God’s eyes. I am writing because, I have literally been there and done that, and survived to tell you what a glorious and loving God we serve. I write to tell you who you are and can be in Jesus.
I am also writing to remind myself that, if my new life does not serve to lead the lost to the Lord, and help and uplift my fellow believers, then I am in serious need of an “Upgrade From God”
“And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remoulded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him (JESUS) Who created it.” – Apostle Paul – Ephesians 2:8 ESV
“I am just a Mom.”, “I am the Sales Manager”, “I am a bicycle mechanic”, “I am a gardener”.
Yes, you are these things. This is true. There are many things that are true about you. But I want to share with you THE TRUTH about who you are in Christ Jesus.
The first thing I am going to ask you to do is watch this video, it will be worth your time.
Wasn’t that good? Your truest identity is as a Child of the Living God, because of Jesus Christ. You are still a Mom, or a Sales Manager, or whatever it is you do, but now you are in Christ who is in you. Your identity is now Jesus’ identity. And it is the Holy Spirit’s job to grow you up to be Just like Jesus.
When Jesus Christ was placed on the Cross, He was placed there on our behalf. While He was on that Cross, He became ALL sin, ALL failure, ALL things that are wrong with the fallen world and not part of God, and BECAME those things. When he became all sin, past present and future, God then poured out ALL his anger, ALL His wrath, ALL Judgement onto Jesus. Jesus was separated from God for the first time in His life, which is why he shouted out:
English Standard Version (ESV)
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When all the wrath of God was expended on Jesus, Jesus died. God’s judgement was satisfied. The price for the fall of mankind was satisfied. When Jesus said “It is finished”, he was telling you and me that all sin and debt to God is paid for, and that HE just paid it. This was the covenant God made with Jesus Christ. In return for this, we were given all that Jesus is; His inheritance, His favour before God, ALL that Jesus is, we inherited and share with Him, making us the perfect gift of God to become the Children of God. We are saved by GOD’S grace, and not that of our own flesh, but by Jesus faith in the covenant of God.
When you accepted this as true, in your heart, in your very soul, you were crucified with Christ (See Galatians 2:20). And the life you now live in the flesh is by the faith OF the Son of God, who lives in you. It is Christ’s faith that is at work in you. Your tiny faith, your mustard seed faith, has to be planted in the rich soil of Jesus’ faith that dwells in you.
Christ proved he has authority over life and death when he raised himself from the dead. Before that, He marched into hell, took the keys from Satan, and preached Salvation to the captives in hell, and set them all free from the wages of sin and death. When you confess with your mouth, speaking it out-loud, as your true confession, you are risen with him.
You are no longer dead. You are now that New Creation that rose in the newness and likeness of Christ Himself. (See II Corinthians 5:17).
It is time to put down all the old clothes and baggage that belonged to your old self. That stuff belongs to Jesus, now. He died for it, and it no longer is your property.
We are called to put on the new creation that we are. How do we do this? Simple, WE CAN’T!
It is the Spirit of God, who is sent to fill you that does this. You just have to drop all that old stuff and let the Spirit teach you what it means to be like Jesus. As you see the difference between your old self and the new self, you will grow to despise, at first, your old self. The more you become like Jesus, you will learn to forgive your old self, just as the Father has forgiven you all your sin. And the more you become like Jesus, you will eventually forget who you were before Jesus. When that happens, the Holy Spirit will grow you to be exactly like Jesus Christ. Our identity in Christ is supposed to become so strong that, eventually, and this is our mission, when people look at you, all they will see is Jesus at work in you.
You are unique, and different from everyone on earth. We are all unique, just like everyone else! (Insert laugh here.) God made you as you are so that you will be able to prove God did not want a bunch of robots serving Him. The Jesus that will shine out of you will be displayed through all the things that make you unique. Are you a Mom? Then you are a Mom in the image of Jesus. Are you a Sales Manager? Then you are a Sales Manager who is in the image of Jesus. This way, the millions and millions of unique Christians around the world will all have one thing in common. We are all in the Likeness (Character) of Christ, Himself. THIS is why we are still on the earth after we are saved. We have something important to do in our little corner of Earth.
As this happens, you can share with other people who are struggling with the same stuff your old self struggled with, and show them how to be set free of all that baggage. The Love and Grace and Mercy of God keeps growing in you, and the more this happens, the more like Jesus you will become, until there comes a time where your presence in a crowd will make a difference in someone’s life.
We were not made into the Children of God just to start a religion, or to form an exclusive club. Our churches, however, come across that way to the lost, and to the saved who do not know just how free they are. They are already free if they will accept it. They are already forgiven if they will just accept what Christ did for them on the cross. They are going to be made in to the image of Christ, just as you are, if they can be taught how to rest in the finished work of the cross. THAT is why we fellowship, that is why we support each other in prayer and with our material possessions, and THAT is WHY you were not raptured the second you became a Child of God.
LOOK UP! Crawl out of your comfort zone. Forget political correctness. Stop trying to be a people pleaser. Stop trying to be the most important thing in your heart. (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV)
The more like Jesus the Holy Spirit makes you, the more you will want others to know about this amazing, powerful and free gift. We have to look up from our little world to see the larger world around us.
This is the lesson I am learning today. I have to allow the Spirit of God to cause me to love others as much as Jesus loved me. I have to learn to care about others just as God cares about me. I have to be willing to step out of my comfort zone and be brave enough to declare to anyone that Jesus Christ is Lord of Life and Death, and that you are forgiven, and that you are free from the wages of sin and death, if you will accept it. I am called to serve Christ.
We don’t need to tell sinners that they are sinners. They already know this because they are never satisfied with who they are or with what they have. And they covet what others have. The lost may not have any idea that sin exists, but they know intuitively that something is just not right.
We do not win them to Jesus by pointing out that they are sinful. We lead them to Jesus by living and sharing the very same Grace that Jesus shared with us. We give them the Love of God, that lives in us. We meet them where they are, not where our religion says they have to be. When they see Jesus they will automatically understand they are sinners. Then the rest is up to them. They will either want to know how to change, or they will reject your message. All you have to do is tell them, unflinchingly, THE TRUTH..
We are citizens of a Kingdom that is not of this world. In a very short time, we will all be going there, one way or another. Who do you know that you would love to see there with you? And what about the people who hate you? Love them. Hate cannot exist long in the presence of Love. Hate always loses.
Jesus said that “If I be high and lifted up, I will draw all nations to me”. Jesus lives in you.
So here’s the big question I have been asking myself for a couple of weeks. Who am I in Heaven? Why am I still here? What does God want me to do? And how will I support my family while I am doing it?
The answer is very simple to hear, but may be difficult to labour into the rest of. Seek first the Kingdom of God, and HIS righteousness, then all these things will be added unto you. ALL things includes ALL things. The good news is, if you are a Christian, the righteousness of Christ is already in you. If it doesn’t shine and flow out of you as living waters, then the Holy Spirit has work to do to unblock the channels that will flow. Submit to that urge you feel, and follow Christ. You will be amazed how beautiful and marvelous the world is when you look at all the fields you get to help harvest.
Lets Be About It!
I love you,
David G. Perkins