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Know who you are : pt 3



Identity pt 3 - True power at work !

Posted by Chris Scott (Senior Leader Bridge Church)


In these days of identity crises, it's re-assuring to know that Jesus, who we follow, was always secure in who he was. Throughout the gospels Jesus repeatedly reveals his true identity saying ‘I am.’...I am....I am.....


Whether it's the bread of life, the water of life, the light of the world, or the door to heaven; Jesus constantly affirmed his identity to those around him. He also said many other things about himself, such as ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ or ‘I and the Father are one.’


Such words could easily be interpreted as egotistical or proud, if it weren’t for the fact that it was Jesus saying them, and he backed them up every step of the way. Out of my lips, or any other flawed human, these words would indeed indicate an over inflated ego at best, and a narcissistic god-complex at worst.


Jesus was both transparent with his life, and genuine with his motives. He was both confident yet wholly compassionate. He was self-assured but never arrogant! We all know that’s a tough balance to get right!!

Yet Jesus was both transparent with his life, and genuine with his motives. He was both confident yet wholly compassionate. He was self-assured but never arrogant! We all know that’s a tough balance to get right!!


People loved him for it too; the kids adored him, the broken and downtrodden ran to him. No-one who ever met Jesus was threatened or intimidated by his sense of assuredness. Except of course, for those religious leaders and rulers exposed by his truth and forthrightness. They were very much image driven, thriving on their own self-promotion, and elevating themselves above the reproach or accountability of ‘ordinary people’. Oh, how they loved to display their piety and holiness in front of the common people, craving the kudos and honour that their position brought. Just as Jesus pointed out, ‘they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.’


When confronted with the real deal, Jesus the Son of God, their hypocrisy was laid bare before the people, and they did not like that one little bit! Their pretence, their falseness, their ‘house of cards’ was under threat. In an attempt to cover up their own duplicity they reacted aggressively towards Jesus, even accusing him of the very crime they were all so guilty of themselves. Oh, how the darkness hates the light, right?


Their identity was wrapped up in how other people saw them, but it was a merely means to exact whatever benefit they could get out of the people. Jesus’s identity was anchored in his Fathers nature and purpose, and this compelled him to be a servant. That’s why, even knowing he was God he said ‘I have not come to be served, but to serve and give my life a ransom’.


I mean, what ruler or leader, let alone God, says something like that? Not many, if any, i can assure you. Imagine any modern world leader, Prime Minister or President genuinely devoting themselves to the well-being of the people regardless of the impact it might have on their populariity at the polls on Election Day!!

True servanthood flows from a healthy self-esteem. Unless we overcome our insecurity and feel assured about who we are in God, we will never be free to serve him fully and others. Jesus demonstrated this powerful truth; rather than his divine identity being a reason not to lower himself and serve others, it was, in fact the very reason to do so!!


Jesus demonstrated this powerful truth; rather than his divine identity being a reason not to lower himself and serve others, it became in fact the very reason to do so!!

Paul says about Jesus in Philippians 2,

He, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

We all know that power is only good when it delivered under proper control. For example, the gas or electricity power supplied to your home is of immense benefit when all the control and safety features are in place, but when those controls fail, and the power flows unrestrained, then the consequences can be truly destructive, and can easily blow away your home, and everything in it, in a split-second.


The stunning reality is this; true power has the ability to limit or lay down itself for a greater good.

Power that is out of control or unrestrained, is not real power at all. The stunning reality is this; true power actually has the ability to limit or lay down itself for a greater good. Do you not think that Jesus had the power, (and the provocation) to call down legions of angels from heaven to obliterate his enemies. Too right he did! But for the sake of the greater good, that is, our salvation, he didnt. Instead, he humbled himself, and relinquished the opportunity to use his power to save his own skin.


Powerful people are not wild and unrestrained, but disciplined and measured. They have no need to show off their strength or authority for everyone to see, or to gain some sense of self worth or identity. Jesus lived with power under full control. You can only do this when you are sure of yourself. God has no insecurity, and no need to keep up appearances.


That’s why he could reveal himself to the world as a suffering servant, broken on the cross. I mean, if you were insecure about yourself, you wouldn’t want people to see your vulnerability would you? It doesn’t do much for your corporate image does it? To those who don't understand God, the cross looks like a show of weakness and defeat, rather than a show of strength and authority. So how could God allow the world to see him this way? Let me tell you how: God is so powerful that he doesn’t have to try to ‘appear’ to be powerful. Get it. I hope you do.

When you know you are strong, you don’t have to keep showing others just how strong you are. Only insecure people do that. Its ugly, its shallow, and its wearisome for those who have to keep listening to it.


Compare the hyena and the lion. Hyenas have a loud and boastful laugh which they use to intimidate all the other other animals in the jungle, yet the slightest sound of a lion’s paw cracking a twig in the undergrowth will send them running for cover with their tails between their legs! That’s real power.

True power doesn’t have to be flaunted! In fact, to intentionally make yourself weak for a higher purpose is to demonstrate your strength! It is the highest form of strength. It’s functional strength not positional or hierarchical strength. A strength that is given away to fulfil a call. That’s Jesus. He laid aside his strength and power that he might fulfil his mission.


Servant heartedness is a hallmark of a secure person. It’s sign of assurance and strength. If we think something or someone is below us, then we have too high an opinion of yourself. Jesus washed dirty feet, he slept rough, he lived from hand to mouth. He didn't inhabit the palaces of the great and the grand, yet he carried more power in his fingernail than the resources of all earthly kings put together.

Servant heartedness is a hallmark of a secure person. It’s sign of assurance and strength......Jesus washed dirty feet, he slept rough, he lived from hand to mouth. He didn't inhabit the palaces of the great and the grand, yet he carried more power in his fingernail than the resources of all earthly kings put together.

Do you know who you are, and are you comfortable with who Gods identifies you to be? Are you constantly trying to make people think well of you? Do you hide away your vulnerabilities and feel the need to constantly project a veneer of success and confidence? Do you have to have what others have, or do what society suggests you must do, in order to feel good about yourself?

God’s opinion of you is what really counts. God’s will for you is what really matters. Once you plug fully into that, your life becomes secure in him, and you are released from the gravitational pull to obsess after the world's acceptance or applause.

My friends, if you are born again, then you have become a son or daughter of the King. He knows everything about you and loves you. You operate under his authority, and his strength operates through your weakness. That’s all you need to know to be secure about yourself.


What more do you have to prove? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!


Paul says the only thing we should boast or brag about in life, is our 'weakness compared to God's grace'. Well, feel free to do that with every moment of your life! Boast all you want about God’s love, his grace, his power to save, his power to strengthen you to be all he wants you to be. its the only way our boasting can ever be wholesome and healthy, because it's impossible to exaggerate the goodness of God. We can never overstate the reality of Gods character and power.


Live in freedom. Live with gratitude. Live with integrity and transparency. Remember there is no identity crisis in heaven; and that's where our identity comes from!!





Chris


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