So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. . . Your life is hidden with the Messiah in God (Colossians 3:1, 3)
What we believe determines how we behave. There’s a grave danger in forgetting who you are. Spiritual amnesia seems to be an epidemic crippling many Christians. It doesn’t take long after a person gets saved that he begins to struggle with sin nature all over again. Identity changes everything! So knowing who you are in Christ is the secret to living confidently – especially in the face of temptation. When we know our value in Christ, fighting pleasure with pleasure becomes the winning formula for successful Christian living.
As a general rule, we have not prepared each other well for the ferocious fight of resisting sin. Most of us think that if we try hard enough, we can thwart off temptations. But if all we do to stop the incredibly powerful allure of sensual self-indulgence is launch a “Just say no” campaign, then, honestly, we don’t stand a chance in keeping anyone from falling to the pull of sin. What’s missing in our battle with temptation is the truth that “sin feels good!” Sin is hard to resist because it has a remarkable capacity to bring pleasure. “Sin is a short-lived pleasure” (Hebrews 11:25). The bottom line is: when faced with temptation, the immediate gratification of sin will almost always triumph over any fear of its long-term consequence. The only way to defeat sin’s promise of pleasure is by faith in God’s promise of a superior pleasure! Saying “no” to the flesh only happens by saying, “yes” to the Spirit. Cyril of Alexandria declared that, “those who are preoccupied with the things of this world are unable to contain the things of the Spirit.”
Fixing our minds on things above leaves little time for earthly fantasies. We must seek things above, because that’s where Christ is! So, identity conveys security. Wherever Christ is, that’s where we are – we are “hidden” in Christ. This concept is not like the Superman mentality of Clark Kent – where most of the time he keeps his true identity a secret, hidden under his everyday clothes. Although in a perverse way, many Christians DO behave this way: its only when catastrophic crises come that we’re willing to reveal our true identity. But as soon as the ordeal passes, they remove their costume Christianity to return to their every-day existence as mild-mannered teachers, pastors, lawyers, and students. The concept of being hidden is a principle of security. Jesus said it best in John 10, “no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
The pleasure of being a Christian is not tied to what Christ does for us, or the gifts He gives us, but in the person He is with us. Paul says “set our minds on the things above,” not because that’s where all the good stuff is, but because that’s where Christ is! Without Christ things begin to lose their luster, and apart from Christ even the most holy things have no power to bring us pleasure. The greatest pleasure we have in Christ is Christ Himself! Knowing this, we can live confidently by fighting pleasure with pleasure. Now we don’t avoid impurity to gain Christ. We have already died with Christ (2:2) and already been raised with Christ (3:1). We pursue purity and run from evil because we’re ALREADY hidden in Christ! The new man is getting newer. I love the present passive voice of: “you are being renewed.” We have the choice to say yes to God’s grace, but God is still the antecedent. If God did not do the initial work, there would be no work for us to do. It is His accomplishment that makes our renewal a reality. He is the cause of change from us being selfish to becoming selfless; from us being our old self to becoming like Christ! While it is true that those sins you try to cover God will uncover, don’t miss this: those sins you uncover, God has already covered!
My goal is not to give up a few vices and accept a few new virtues. I don’t want to grow into the fullness of who I am, but into the fullness of who Christ is in me! The Body of Christ bearing the image of Christ (Col 3:11). You were created in God’s image, changed by God’s Spirit, and you are being conformed to the image of God’s Son. You are significant!
I heard that Charlie Chaplin once entered a “Chaplain look-a-like” contest but only came in just 3rd place. You are who you are, NOT what critics say you are or even what YOU think you are. God made you. He calls you by name. You’re uniquely created in His own image. “Christ is all & in all!” Jesus loves the little children of the world, all the children of the world: red, and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. You can stop worrying if perhaps He loves the red more than the yellow or if the white are getting some spiritual perks that He’s withholding from the black. This is more than singing a song; this is living a life – confidently!