Tag Archives: Christ in me

I am Good

Words of Grace   

 

The problem with words of affirmation is that you can’t just make them up.  Telling yourself good things to believe about you might feel good for a little while, but it usually sounds phony.  Many motivational teachers use self-produced words of affirmation to move us to some change; but, if we don’t really believe those words, how can the change be real?

Real words of affirmation, those that make a difference in us, are those that come from the outside.  We might still doubt the words, but we can’t control them and we are not producing them.  You can tell yourself that you did a good job; but, when the boss tells you or the client tells you, that makes a difference.

It isn’t bad to affirm yourself.  In fact, there may be times when you are the only one and you have to believe your words to keep going.  But words of self-affirmation are most effective when they are in agreement with the words from outside.

So, when I say the words, “I am good,” it matters where I get them.  If I just produce them out of my own desire to feel good, then I remember the things I regret and know the words are not true.  If others say them about me, that feels better, but I still know things about myself they don’t know and I still doubt the words.  But when the One who truly knows me and knows the only standards of goodness that matter, when He says I am good, that’s something I can hold onto.

Yes, sin has been a part of all our lives and we were taught that sin made us bad.  That’s why we needed a Savior.  But once the Savior came into our lives, He brought His goodness into us.  He washed away the stain of the sins and filled us with His love and His life.  We are good because He is good.

The idea of goodness is hard to apply to our lives because of what we were taught about ourselves.  We feel that we must reject any affirmation of goodness in us because of what we have done.  But if our goodness is not judged by what we have done, if it is judged by who He is in us, then we are truly good.  Those who belong to Jesus, who are filled with His life, are good.

 

So Paul could say with assurance:

Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness… Romans 15:14 (NKJV)

I am good.

Jesus is good and He is my life.

Because He is in me and I am in Him, I am good.

God has given me goodness.

I am good.

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Identity – I am what I am!

Once you begin to understand that you are not what you do or what you have done, you are free to be something different.  Nor are you what has happened to you.  Many people form their identity based on the things that have happened in their lives, whether things done by themselves or by others.  They refer to themselves by the events of their lives.  “I am a _____ survivor.”  Or, “I am a _____er.”

As Christians, we must learn to see sin as an event and our past as something that happened, and neither as a definition of who we are today.  “I did this,” is vastly different from, “I am this.”

Identity is so important for victory in the Christian life.  If I see myself as a sinner, worthy of the wrath of God, I will live in fear and worry.  If I see myself as God’s child, unconditionally loved by the Creator and Judge of the whole world, I have peace.  But there is more than that.  From which perspective will I be more likely to move into victory in my daily life?

The person who sees himself as a failure will fail.  The person who understands that success is already accomplished can only succeed.  A regular person who goes into a job interview will be worried about doing well.  He may be afraid that failure will define his life.  He wants to be someone who makes $XXX per year and has a comfortable life.  Blowing the job interview will cause the failure.  But someone who is already a millionaire will go into the job interview with a much different perspective.  He may still want to do well, but the fear of failure will not be the same.  The regular person may be afraid of financial doom.  The millionaire will find rest in the fact that his money and his comfort are secure.popeye

Now, that’s not a perfect illustration, but it makes a point.  You and I are in Christ, already saved, already forgiven, already bound for Heaven.  No failure can take that away.  We didn’t earn our place and we don’t maintain our place.  Jesus does it all.  We are the millionaires—and so much more.

We must understand who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us.  We are not what we used to be.  Before Christ, sin did define us.  We didn’t have anything else.  Now that we have Christ in us, He defines us.  We are not Him, but we are what He says we are.  We are saints.  We are free, forgiven, loved, accepted, and already citizens of Heaven.

This is why boundaries are so important.  We will talk more about this tomorrow, but let me say here that strong personalities will try to impress on us an identity that is not ours.  They may move us to be like them or they may try to make us something they can use.  In either case, we are faced with the challenge of losing who we are.  By standing our ground on truth and believing in our identity, they lose much of their power over us.

Long before Popeye said it, Paul proclaimed his identity.  He looked back on his life, filled with failures, and proclaimed that he was just who Christ said he was.

 

9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 (NKJV)

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