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Mike Connell

Deaf/Hearing-Impaired Audio Transcripts


Your Identity in Christ (1 of 4)

From Victim to Victor (2 of 4)

Performance (3 of 4)

Establishing your Identity in Christ (4 of 4)


Your Identity in Christ (1 of 4)  

Sun 4th May 2008 AM « Back to Top

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Your Identity in Christ (1 of 4)

Your Identity in Christ (1 of 4) Mike Connell 04.05.2008 am

Great, I wonder if you could open your Bible up in Judges 6. We've been doing a series for a little while on Unashamed and I want to talk now and begin to just pick up from there and just move forward. I want to do something else now and we looked and we saw how shame was an identity thief. When you're covered in shame you can't be who you're supposed to be. You can't actually be your true self. You put on a self that looks good and gets accepted, but you're not really true to yourself and so we found that when people have got a shame on their life they tend to put on a mask, try to be something they're not, and Jesus hates that kind of thing. He wants you to be yourself. There's only one of you; why should you be someone else? So we saw also shame was an intimacy thief. I want us to go and look in this scripture here and we want to look at our identity in Christ, who I am, because you get a bit confused after a while.

You think I wonder who I really am see? Why don't you just introduce yourself to the person next door to you? Go and introduce yourself to them and tell them who you are in case they didn't know. Tell them who you are. They may not know. [Background talk 00.01.14 to 00.01.25] Okay then, I wonder how many people introduced themself; you gave that person your name. How many gave them their name? Oh quite a few gave the name, right. How many actually said something about who you are? That's good, that's good. That's good, you're onto it. You're really onto it, who you really are. Who are you really? Well here's a man here and we're going to look at how God views us and God speaks to us. I want to show you something interesting about how God sees us, because most of us are shaped and we think of ourselves in all kinds of weird ways.

Notice this here, verse 11; the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him the Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour! [Unclear 00.02.22] The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour! And Gideon, like he hadn't even heard it, says O my lord, if the Lord is with us how come all this has happened to us? Where are all the miracles our fathers told us about? Didn't the Lord bring us up out of Egypt? Now the Lord's forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. Then the Lord didn't even listen to anything he said, didn't even bother to answer the question, ignored what he said completely. He says go in this might of yours. You will save Israel from the Midianites. Have not I sent you?

So he argues with Him again. Well Lord, how can I save Israel? How can I do this? My tribe is the weakest in Manasseh. I'm the youngest or the least in my father's family. And the Lord said to him surely I am with you and you will defeat the Midianites as one man. Now you notice that God listens to none of his objections? He doesn't even - it's like God carries on like He didn't hear anything he said - but we know that God did hear what he said. But I want to share with you some things on our identity in Christ. You see God comes to this man in the midst of a national crisis and declares to him his identity. The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour! Mighty man of valour! And you know what? Immediately he hears God speak his identity, immediately what he believes in his heart surfaces; oh, well I'm the least in my family, ah and our tribe, well we're the smallest tribe and ah, we're quite poor. You notice how he sees himself comes up immediately?

When the truth comes and God speaks to you directly and puts truth into you, what you really believe in your heart will surface - quite interesting. So we see the Bible says as a man thinks in his heart, Proverbs 23:7, as a man or a person thinks in their heart, that's how they'll be, so the way you see yourself will determine how you'll live your life. What you believe about yourself will affect how you conduct your life and the things that go on around you in your life. If you for example believe in your heart I am unwanted, I am rejected or I am unlovable, what will happen is you will put out a spiritual energy and force around you; people will pick it up and two things will happen. One is you'll misinterpret everything. People who believe they're rejected see it everywhere and pull it into their life. The second thing that'll happen is you'll attract into your life the very thing you believe in your heart.

You'll have many experiences of being rejected and you can't understand why it always seems to be the same no matter where you are. It's because of what you believe in your heart, so the way we see ourself will affect how we run our life. Think about that. The way you see yourself will affect how you run your life. Your heart beliefs and expectations will determine your life, so one of the things that God does to us, first He brings us into relationship, then He wants us to become established in the relationship with Him and in understanding who we are as He sees us. The dilemma is when you become a Christian is we carry a lot of mental and emotional baggage with us, and we don't catch up inside with what God has done inside us. We're still thinking the way we used to think. We're still expecting the way we used to expect, but God says no, a total change has taken place. Notice what God does. God speaks directly into him.

There's an interesting example that I came across. If you want to train an elephant what you do is you get the elephant when it's very young and you tie a chain around it's leg and you tie it to a tree. The young elephant will buck and pull and tug and eventually it learns that when that chain's around your leg you can't move. Later on they have the same chain and they just put it to a stake in the ground and the elephant will not move away, because he's been programmed I can't do that. I'm not strong enough to do that; yet actually he's got all the strength. He could pull the thing out and take off, but as soon as he feels the tug he remembers. He remembers what? I'm powerless to overcome that, and so he doesn't even try. People are very much the same. We have past experiences, they become part of our life and who we are, and then we become a Christian and we don't change in our understanding of who we now are in Christ.

If you don't know who you are you won't carry yourself the way God wants you to carry yourself. You'll still live like you used to live, so have a think about this. How do people define their identity? That's why I gave you the little thing, go out there and introduce yourself. So how many introduced yourself as a child of God? How many introduced yourself as a mighty warrior? As more than a conqueror? As a king? See, we don't think to. It's not in our thinking to introduce or to even see ourself that way, so how do we find ourself? Well let me just give you a definition. Identity are the personal characteristics that define you. It's the things, the characteristics by which people know you. It's how you're known. It's what makes you like who you are. That's your identity. Your identity are the characteristics by which you're know.

Now I'll give you a few ways that people know us. Number one, the most obvious way is your face, your face. As soon as you see your face, ah, there we are, Alex. I know that face - so we're known by our face see? Unfortunately you can't do too much about your face. You can make it a little bit prettier, but you can't do a lot about that part of you see? That's the way you've been made, the way God designed you, get used to it. Get to live with it. Enjoy the face you've got. Let it smile because it's the only face you've got. Show it off to the best you can - so our face. The second way we're identified is our name, our name, what we're called. So I look over there, well that's Alex, that's her name. So if I call out into the room Alex, there's one person in the room will identify with that and she'll stand up because she knows her name, so a name is another way we identify ourself.

Another way we identify ourself is who we're linked to, who we're connected to, so for example people are connected into a family so people are identified not only by what they look like and their first name, but also by their surname they're linked into some family. If you're from a tribal culture then you're linked into a tribe, or we may be linked into a nation. So you go overseas and people say who are you? You say I'm a kiwi, so your identity is attached to your nation, where you've come from, your source, your origin. So we use a whole number of ways to define our identity. Another way that we define our identity is by what kind of racial group we're part of; well I'm an Indian. I'm an African. I'm a this, I'm a that. Another way that people identify themselves is by what church they're part of, what denomination they're in; oh, that's Catholic - so put a label on them, now box them so I don't have to actually find out who they really are.

Many times people put labels on others so they don't actually have to connect personally with them and find out who they really are. Sometimes we get labelled and then can't live down our label. I'll give you some other examples. Another way that we get identified with is a common one among men; what do you do? Oh, he's a plumber, he's a this, he's a that, and so our identity is tied to our work. So men go through a traumatic experience when they lose their job because their identity is gone. If it's found in the job, when you lose the job then you lose your identity. For some people their identity is found in their social standing, their positioning in society; well what are you? I'm a leader. What are you? Well I'm a city councillor. What are you? I'm a this, I'm a that, and we identify who we are by position or status we have. The trouble with doing that is the moment you lose the position who are you?

So people like that come into the church and they want to have a position in the church; I want to be a leader. I want to be a this, I want to be a that, but then if you take them out of that role because it's time for change or they don't fit the role, they get upset because their identity was in the role. For some women their identity is in their children, ah, so you say anything about the child mum just has a hissy fit because she doesn't see you talking about the child. She sees you attacking her personally because her identity is in the child. She hasn't got a life of her own; she's living it through the children, so you know what happens? She lives her life through the children, the marriage diminishes, comes time the children leave home, marriage is nothing there. It's empty, been empty for years because the identity was tied up in the children. Children go, children do something the mum doesn't want, her life falls apart.

Our identity is not to be tied up with our children. We need to know who we are. We need to be secure in who we are. Sometimes our identity is tied to past experiences, especially if they're bad. So you'd hear someone say I'm a failure. How can you be a failure? People fail, but you can't be a failure. You're a human being - but you see people identify the painful experience and then they take that painful experience and they say I am a failure. No, you failed. Have you learnt from your failure so you succeed in the future? But you are not a failure. Your identity is not 'failure'. You understand? So these are the kinds of pressures we have around us and without us even really thinking about it, they shape the way we see ourself. For some their identity's totally tied up around their gender and they've been rejected as a woman, then they have this huge woman issue - or as a male or whatever.

Often these things are tied up around things that God does not want them to be tied to. The Bible says in Christ there's neither male nor female, so when God looks at you He doesn't look at man or woman; He sees a person, a human being. He sees them of equal value, totally equal value. The Bible says in Christ there's neither Jew nor Greek, so God doesn't look and see well that's an Aussie, that's a kiwi; He just sees there's a person. He doesn't see things the way we see them and our problem is we see them a certain way and it affects how we live our life. So if you've lived your life with tremendous hurts or experiences, painful experiences, then it shapes who you see yourself as being. So for example how many people were called names, nicknamed when you were at school or when you were younger? How many of those nicknames were pretty derogatory? They weren't exactly honouring and wonderful?

I can remember them. There's pain in it, but I'm not that! But you see people put a label on you so they can define your identity. Now God does not want your identity to be defined by the world, your circumstances, your family, your tribe or nation, the culture you come from. He wants to define who you are, because He's made you for a unique purpose for example - and I'll touch this, then we'll get into this and have a look at this. I'll do something on this to touch out these characteristics a little more, but I want to just touch on this because some people, their identity is that of a victim. It's very common in New Zealand. A victim is a person who at some time was hurt or abused or badly treated, and they were powerless or unable to stop this thing happening to them. That's what makes them a victim. A victim is a person who had a painful or bad experience that they could not stop happening to them.

So they were the victim of someone's fault, someone's actions or whatever, but there's a huge difference between having been victimised, having an experience where you are treated that way, to being that. And so what happens is people adopt a victim mentality; the past experience, what happened to me now becomes who I am see? You are not a victim. You are a person. You have potential and you can make decisions. Now one of the terrible things about a victim mentality is it goes like this. The way of thinking is bad things happen to me, and so you know, this is my life. What happens is someone else is to blame for what happened to me; someone else has got to get me out of. So a person with a victim mentality never assumes responsibility for their life. They're always blaming someone else for why it's like it is and someone else has to come through to be the solution for them. That's a victim mentality; the identity is one of being a victim, a person unable to help themselves.

Now you understand, I just want to be sensitive here, but this thing of a victim mentality where a person's identity is taken up where I have been oppressed, therefore I am a victim. No, you may have been oppressed. You may have suffered injustice. You may have had pain - but you are not defined by that. Let God define you, who you really are. So I find in dealing sometimes with Maori people that there is a tendency to put the responsibility for why they are as they are somewhere else. We put it on a historic event. The Irish, where I come from, are very bitter about the English, see? Very bitter about the English; fought the English for years, considered themselves victims of the English, blamed the English. But you know Ireland began to change when the Irish decided to stand up and start to forge ahead and be who they're called to be.

Every culture can never - you can never define yourself by the culture or by the past painful experiences. If you do that you become a victim; well what can I do? I can't - well it's not my fault is it? Now a person who thinks that way, their identity is wrapped up in being a victim; well it's not my fault. I couldn't help it. It was someone else did it and someone else has got to get me out of this. You'll find that this mentality was the mentality that characterised Israel after hundreds of years in Egypt, so when they came out of the wilderness God saved them. They got filled with the Holy Ghost, water baptised, but they couldn't get into their destiny because they never came to accept who God called them to be. He said I have redeemed you. I got you out of that past. I have brought you to Myself into relationship and I have made you a kingdom of priests. I've made you people, and I have promises for you.

But they never ever embraced their new identity. They just remained victims and complained, so they could never enter what God had for them. Now you see here this man here, he's got a similar kind of problem. Now we've got to realise we should not let the past define who we are. If you failed in the past, had a miserable academic record at school, so what? Heaps of people did and some of the most successful people in the world did. You are not a failure because you failed at school. There could be a whole heap of reasons why you failed at school, some of them your own and some not your own. Don't worry about it. That does not define you as a failure for life, unless you accept that as your identity and many do. Many do and so they walk through the rest of their life defined by bad experiences. God wants you to stand up and become who He called you to be. There is no one quite like you.

Now listen, this is one of the things I found when looking at how God deals with us. God defines us - get this - God defines us, who we are, according to the purpose He designed us for. I'll say that one again. God defines your identity around what He called you to be, His purpose for your life. You really want to know who you are, find out what God says about you. So here's a nation that's in defeat and God comes to a man and this man's a businessman. He's trying desperately because the nation's overwhelmed by these people. They keep stealing the harvest and impoverished the whole nation, but he doesn't lie down like a victim. He's still working there, he's still producing something. He's doing it in a way that no one can see him and God comes to him and says you mighty man of valour! Now you imagine, understand he looks at the circumstances. What, man of valour? I'm here full of fear and I'm hiding behind this blimmin' barrel so no one will see me.

But God doesn't look at the circumstances. God saw what He had in mind for this man and God calls him the way He sees he will be. So when God looks at us He looks at us completely differently to the way we look at ourselves or others look at us. When others look at you they will look at you according to your past and your present. When God looks at you He sees your purpose and your potential, and in these dealings with people often He will either shut them up or ignore them when they try to protest. So listen what [He is in 00.21.10] Gideon. Gideon immediately comes up; oh, how come no miracles, you know? We heard all these great things in the Bible and you know, there's supposed to be miracles and stuff and I haven't seen any miracles. All I see is problems and a mess. You know what? God just ignores the question. There's some questions God's going to ignore. You're wasting your time asking, He's not going to answer it - just part of the mysteries.

Relationships have got a bit of mystery in them. He doesn't answer everything for us - wish He did but He doesn't. How come? We prayed and they didn't get healed, they died? Never hear a word. It's like He just says listen, I want you to operate by faith, so God ignores him, just keeps talking to him, says you know, you mighty man of valour, I'm going to send you and you'll save the nation. Now it begins - notice this - he's a man of valour. His name Gideon means mighty man of valour. His name meant mighty man of valour, notice so sometimes when God encounters a person He'll actually change their name because He wants them to think differently about who they are, give them a total name change. Did you know you got a name change when you got born again, see? You see, you're called one of Christ's ones, a Christian.

You see the way we use the word Christian now, we describe all kinds of people as being Christians when they're not at all. The Bible defines a Christian as being a whole-hearted follower of Jesus Christ, one who's given their life to serve Him, to walk with Him, see? So let me give you a few examples of people that God spoke to and the way He spoke to them is amazing. Now remember when God speaks to people He speaks according to what He sees in them, so you need God to speak to you how He sees you. What are you? Who are you now you've become a Christian? Who are you now? Well you'll probably define yourself according to what you used to be like, and God says there's a whole new set of things. I'll share with you some of the things God says about you. Here look, another example is found in Genesis 32:28, and Jacob is in a spot of bother.

His father-in-law's been after him, now his brother's after him and he thinks he's going to die. He looks like he's going to lose everything and so in a spot of desperation he presses in to the presence of God. Now I want you to have a look what God says to him. He has this encounter, an angelic encounter begins to wrestle with God and then God asks him a question - great when God asks questions. Here it is [laughs]. In Verse 26 it says Jacob wrestled and the angel said Let Me go for the day breaks, and he said I will not let You go until You bless me! And He said to him what's your name? And so he says my name is Jacob. Now what he's stating is this; I'm the crooked one. I'm the one who twists and lies and cheats and manipulates. I've got ambition and I'm determined to get somewhere, and I'll step over anyone to get there. You remember when Jacob was born his brother came out first and Jacob grabbed his heel. He was trying to pull him back in. He wanted to be the first one out and get the blessing of the first born.

He's an ambitious man and God says who are you? I'm Jacob, and He says you won't be called Jacob any more. You'll be called Israel, a prince. So from today wherever you go don't think of yourself when people ask who you are, don't say I'm the crooked one, the twisted one, the one who does this, the one who cheats, deceives, ambitious, walks over people to get where he wants to get; I'm a prince of God! A prince of God! Kings will come out of me. He had to change the way he talked about himself, the way he spoke about himself, the way he acknowledged himself. He required everyone around to acknowledge him differently, so he went and introduced himself, he's now a different person, a prince with God. Here's another one. In Jeremiah 1:5-10, God speaks to Jeremiah. God speaks to him, he says before you were born, before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

Notice He's got an identity for him: you are a prophet. So God describes us in terms of His purpose for our life. You are a mighty man of God, you are a mighty woman of God. You are a child of the living God, you are a prophet, you are a giver, you are this, that. God's got things to define us by and of course immediately Jeremiah comes up with the argument. He says I'm too young, and God says zip the lip boy. Don't you tell Me you're too young. Don't tell Me who I'm going to choose. I had this figured out long before I saw you. You need to come up to the plan. You see when God is working with us He does not define us according to how other people talk about us. He sees gold in you. He sees something in you no one else sees, and you need to see what God is saying about you because it's how - what - when God talks to you about who you are He's defining your purpose in life.

He defines what you're called to do and to be - most amazing thing how God works with people, and God speaks in a certain kind of way a bit different to what we do. I'll give you another one. In Matthew 1:21-23, you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. That's why naming your children is quite important. Some people give kids the weirdest of names, go and choose some character off the television, some dopey person instead of actually finding out well what does God want to name my child. God, You knew this child before they were born; what do You want to name them? I found a bit of a trouble as a teacher because you have all these naughty kids in your class and every time you think of a name you think of one of those naughty kids. I don't want to be like - I'm not going name my child that one! [Laughter]

But we prayed and asked the Lord to give us a name for each of our children. They've all got godly names because we're a godly line with a godly destiny. That make sense to you? Jesus, they'll call His name Immanuel, God is with us. Did you notice that the names God gives are identified with the purpose that God has for them? So when you get to come to Christ you have a new name which identifies you as a different person completely. Isn't it interesting aye how God works? Have a look in another in John 1:42. Jesus sees Simon. Simon means a reed, one who's blown this way and that way. He says Simon, you won't be called Simon any more, pushover. You'll be called Cephas, the rock, because I'm going to build something on you - so notice He called him Peter. If I use the word Peter you all know who it is. That's the name Jesus gave him because Jesus said you may look a pushover, you may look impulsive, you may make a lot of mess ups with your life, but I'm telling you you're the rock. I'm going to build something on you.

Do you understand, this is how God works? Have a look at it in Romans 4:17 or 21, somewhere around about then. Romans 4, you'll see another thing that God works. It's really important to get a hold of this because this is how faith operates. Romans 4, here we go, nearly there. How many have got it? How many found Romans 4? Here it is, verse 17 and God is talking about Abraham. Abraham's name was Abram before. Now it's changed to Abraham. I have made you a father of many nations, in the presence of Him who he believed - God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, then became the father of many nations according to what was spoken, so shall your descendants be. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead. In other words sexually it was all over - and since he was about 100 years old - whoa! - and the deadness of Sarah's womb. She wasn't interested either.

But he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being convinced that what God said He could perform. Now Abram had no children, but Abram had a promise from God, so God renamed him and He said everywhere you go I want you to call yourself Abraham, Abraham, the father of nations. So when people ask who you are I am Abraham, the father of nations. [Unclear 00.30.07] no kids. I am Abraham, the father of nations! Day after day I am Abraham, the father of nations. God said at night time look up at the stars; father of nations. I'm going to give you kids, as many as those stars, and in the day time when you're walking through the desert look at the sand. I want you to reprogram your inner man that you are going to be the father of nations. Now here he is, 100 year old man. I haven't seen many 100 year old men, but you know when you do see them there ain't much life in them. They don't even think about sex any more. It's not in their mind any more.

And Sarah, she was pretty old too. Her womb was dead, long dead. Now you understand now naturally speaking what you saw was deadness, but God calls things that be not as though they are. God required him to get vision in his heart and confession in his mouth, and agreement with what God said about him and so every day, day after day for all this time, all this time, all this time, father of nations, father of nations, father of nations. Then he suddenly brings forth Isaac and he's fathered nations, multitudes of people. Now you've got to understand this. When God says something to you He says it because in the realm of the spirit it already exists. It just hasn't manifested yet. We look at our circumstances and we're locked in our circumstances, so we don't see the thing that God says is there; father of nations, father of nations, father of nations; prosperous in business, creative ministries, touching nations, apostle, an evangelist.

He doesn't - see, He calls the things that He sees because He's looking at what you're called to be. As far as God's concerned it's already there. The thing is for you by faith to catch up with what God says and make it become reality. The dilemma we have is we just don't see it so we don't believe it. God has things to say about your life. He has things to say about who you are. Will you look at what you have and what you seem to be, or will you look at what God says and agree with Him? Who are you going to agree with? [Oh yeah, 00.32.34] you're a failure. You're a reject. Oh okay. You going to agree with that? You'll live that out all your life, that identity, but it isn't who you are. You're someone else. You've let the world define you; you haven't let God define you. Let God define who you are, and if we let God define who we are we change. Now have a look in John 13.

I'll just finish here and give you a few things that God says about you, John 13. Now notice here, now before the Feast of the Passover Jesus knew His hour had come that he should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world. He loved them. Jesus loved them all. Supper was ended, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him. Now look at this; Jesus, knowing the Father had given all things into His hands, He had come from God and was going to God. Then He girded Himself and He served them all. Now get this. Jesus was totally secure in who He was. When you are secure He knew where He come from, He knew where He was going, He knows what He has. You know when you're secure you don't worry about other people and what they're up to. He could go then, here He is, the Lord of all. He can go and take off some of that outer garments and just wash people's feet, the lowest job.

I've found with many Christians they've got a real trouble doing the lowest job. You know what their trouble is? Insecurity, pride. You see when you're secure in who you are your identity is not defined by the task you're doing; oh, that's beneath me. There's nothing beneath you. You're a servant of the Lord. If you're the servant of the Lord there's nothing beneath you. Everything's above you - so Jesus was able to do the menial job of serving and washing and He set an example for us. You can't serve unless you're secure in who you are, otherwise you'll compare. One of the biggest problems teenagers have is they compare themselves with one another. Now the Bible says when you compare yourself with another person you're an idiot. You just make stupid decisions all the time because you're not like them. You're different. You're called to be something else. It's just the evidence of insecurity.

Don't look to the crowd to define you. Don't look to the crowd to set your course. Don't look to other people to define you. You must be defined by what God says about you, and when God speaks about you He speaks about your purpose, who you're called to be and how you're called to live and run your life. So the Bible's full of descriptions about who you are now you've become a child of God, but the trouble is we still live out of the old. We need to renew our thinking and catch up with what God says about me. I want to share with you a few things God says about you. Now if you really believe these in your heart then why don't you live like it's true? You see if you're a reject well you probably carry yourself and walk down the - you know? But if your the CHILD of a KING you carry yourself a bit differently! You walk differently! If you're an ambassador you walk differently. You're representing someone. You're significant in life!

You're not taking your reference point of value of what people say, because you know who you are, see? This is where so many people struggle. They don't even live like Christians. They live defeated. They live with heaviness and oppression and think that's normal and that's me. It's not so. You're an over comer. Not only that, you're more than an over comer. Let me give you a few things the Bible says about you. We'll just pop them up here. Number one, in 1 John 3:1, see what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would call His children. We are children of God! When you got born again you became a child of God. Yes, I'm someone else's child, but I'm also the child of God who made everything. I'm the child of God and I have access to my Father all the time. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, I'm a totally new creation. Everything old is passed away. I've got a new start.

I've got a clean start. Everything's begun and is new. I don't feel new. Listen, God said it; you now have to align your life to believe it and it begins to manifest in your life. Don't have to live the old way, power of sin is broken. I'm the dwelling place of God. Wherever I go the spirit of God is with me. Wherever I go I'm a walking revival! The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:16 I'm the temple of God. Do you believe you're the temple of God? The spirit of God inside you wherever you go; you can bring creativity. You can bring life. You can bring blessing. You can bring God's presence and goodness to people. Is that who you are? See, if you don't know who you are you'll just go back on Monday to being what the world says you are, instead of carrying yourself the way God wants us to carry ourselves. See, there's so many scriptures that describe greatly what we are. You can just take them and begin to use them to meditate on.

I'm an heir of God. Romans 8:17 - I like being an heir. I can remember going one day and there was a reading of the Will and I found out what I was entitled to. It was good. It was even better when I got it. [Laughter] It's true, remember that, it was great, got something. It's always good. [Laughter] Aye? It's good. Now when Jesus died on the cross He caused us to become heirs through faith in Him. We're heirs of God, so God has got things for us to have. If you're an heir of God you're entitled to get a hold of something. You're entitled to because that's who you are. If I'm a child of God I'm entitled to something. If I'm the temple of the Holy Ghost I'm entitled to certain things. If I'm an heir of God I can receive certain things. I've got to rise up and do it. I'm a saint. The Bible says you're a saint. You say well he's not a saint. I saw what he was doing last Monday, no saint there. Now listen, the Bible's very clear.

You see you've got the wrong concept of a saint. You think of some holy person with a halo around them and their picture up on the wall. That's a religious concept of a saint. You are a saint. You are sanctified, set apart by God for His purpose. He calls that thing a saint. A saint isn't a person who's perfect. A saint is a person set apart for the purpose of God, so He calls the church saints see, but the moment I say it you keep thinking of an old religious term rather than what God says about that person. That person next to you who believes in Jesus Christ is a saint of God. See them that way, it'll change how you relate to them. How many know that you're called to be a priest? You're a priest of God. Priest means I can come into the presence of God, worship Him and access Him and receive Him. I am a priest of God called to make offerings to God, called to praise, called to worship, called to intercede.

How many of you know that you're a king? You're a king. You're a king. A king goes out to conquer, so when you go through those doors God's got something for you to have dominion over. You're an ambassador. You are a representative of heaven. You are called to represent God. This is who you are! You say well I don't feel like I'm that. No, your feelings have to catch up with what God says, by changing the way you think about yourself, the way you see yourself, the way you look at yourself. If you keep looking at all your faults and problems all you'll see is a mess, but when you look at what God says you see someone of great beauty. You know you're God's workmanship. He's very proud of you. He's very proud of you. He loves you and He's very proud of you.

Ephesians 2:10, we're His workmanship, created in Christ for wonderful things. That's who you are. You're not what people said you were. You're better than that. You're much better than that, see? You're a wonderful saint of God. You're a representative of God. You're someone called to carry His love, life and presence and make a difference in the community. That's who you are. Did you realise you're an ambassador, someone sent to make a difference? But you've got to think that way. How do I get to think that way? It's a bit of a process. I think it helps if you realise that you had been thinking wrong, and you begin to do these things. I need to take a scripture and begin to memorise it - it helps just to memorise the scripture, but then make it personal. Make it very personal. Begin to meditate on it, scriptures that say who I am in Christ. This is who I am. I'm a child of God and I can come to my Father.

This is who I am. I am greatly loved of God. I'm a person who is loved, absolutely wonderfully loved. Of course your heart doesn't always believe that, so you have to change what's in your heart. You meditate on it, you begin to picture, imagine the truth of God, embrace it and believe it with all the capacity you have, and the truth conceives. Because what God says already exists in the Spirit, it's just got to conceive and give birth in my heart. God says I am blessed. I'm blessed with every blessing. [Unclear 00.42.18] David said the Lord is my shepherd, or putting it today we'd say the Lord is my Friend and I never lack anything. I've always got what I need, and you see to feel that, to live that out we have to change the way we see ourself. Sometimes we've got to resolve some issues and forgive people and break the power of words spoken over us, but you are better than you think. You're a wonderful person, a wonderful person, make no mistake about it.

You're a wonderful, unique person, loved by God, embraced and celebrated by your Heavenly Father. You're someone entitled to receive from God because of what Jesus did. You are called and privileged to represent Him. That's who you are. Now you decide whether you'll believe that and live that out, or whether you'll believe what you've always believed and you'll just live a life different to that. We choose what we believe. What kind of life are you going to live? Are you going to live out being the person God called you to be? You mighty man of valour, I have challenges for you to face and I will be with you. I'm going to send you to make a difference in the community where I've placed you. I'm going to send you to take on some demons, because didn't you know you are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you and gave Himself for you?

You're not just an ordinary winner; you're greater than a winner. You're a super winner. You're definitely not a loser. The devil's the loser. That's who you are - what a privilege, who I am in Christ. This is why I love the prophetic gift. Many times the prophetic gift will speak out and bring revelation of who a person is and what God wants to say about them. That's who you are, a great man, a great woman of God. That's who you are. There's greatness in you, unimaginable greatness. He is able to do more than you ask or imagine. He's willing to do it. He can do it, but you've got to imagine more and ask for more. Why don't you make a decision, I'm not going to live out of the names people call me and the things I've taken on board. I'm going to begin to discover what God says I am and I'm going to live out of that.

I'm going to begin to renew my mind and my pictures every day. Every day I'll begin to meditate, begin to see this is who I am. I'm a winner today. I've got Almighty God with me. I can't help but win, and even if I have a setback or two, or three or four, at the end I win anyway because I learn from them, get up again and get going again. See? And maybe you get overthrown by sin. Maybe you fall down, something goes wrong. That's okay, I'm still a winner. I'm a forgiven child of God. I'm going to stand up and believe that. When the devil starts to get on your back and say you're a loser, you can't do anything, I'm going to just reject his lies. I'm going to stand up and say I am who God says I am; I'm a winner in life. I'm a wonderful, unique person, a gift to this community. You imagine if the church in our city rose up believing that and began to express it?

Now you understand this; believing for a Hebrew meant you embraced the truth in your heart and it was now being worked out in your life as a part of your life. For a Greek they've just - they've taken in and they know it, stored it away in their brain, hasn't changed their life. Why don't you begin to meditate in the word of God about what God says you are, and decide I will believe it? There's greatness in me. I'm a great person and I will demonstrate my greatness. I'm a servant of the Lord. You go into that workplace tomorrow, you're the servant of God. Servants of God can go anywhere. They act on Jesus' behalf anywhere they are. They can pray for people, minister to people, pray for the sick, cast out demons, bring encouragement to people, release gifts to people. They can do all kinds of things, because they're the servant of the Lord.

That boss doesn't notice you, recognise you, it doesn't matter because you're not really his servant. You're the servant of the Lord. You're serving Him as an ambassador. So you suffer injustice and difficulty and setbacks, don't worry about it. Lots of people in the Bible did. You're the servant of the Lord. You're more than a winner. You're going to win in the end. Just keep your attitude right.

[File ends 00.47.11]

From Victim to Victor (2 of 4)  

Sun 25 May 2008 AM « Back to Top

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From Victim to Victor (2 of 4)

From Victim to Victor (2 of 4) Mike Connell 25.05.2008 am

Well I want you to just look with me in Proverbs 23:7. I want to share with you something today that's an extension of where we're at. We've been talking about identity, who am I you know, and some people don't know; I don't know who I am and it's a problem if you don't know who you are - or it's an even worse problem if you've got a wrong idea of who you are. In Proverbs 23:7 it tells us, it says as a man thinks in his heart so he is. He is. He is means his identity, so the way you think will reflect in the way you live your life. Everything about your life is an overflow of how you see yourself, so the way you see yourself is very, very important. If you see yourself as a born again child of God, a representative of God in the earth, you are part of the answer. If you don't see that, if you see something else then what happens is you'll be inevitably part of the problems that are there instead of being a great representative of God.

So we need to see ourselves the way God sees us, so we're looking at a series on identity. What I want to just pick up, something I mentioned last time I was talking, about the whole issue of victim mentality, victim mentality. Now I've taught on this. I couldn't find my notes on it so I've redone it and I think its better, but when I first taught on this issue of victim mentality the tapes went out to different places. But one guy gave it to a friend of his who owned a business in North Auckland and they were having a lot of troubles with their employees and many, many conflicts in the business. When he got the tape and listened to it he realised that the majority of the workers employed there had a victim mentality with major, major negative effects on the way they did business, did their work, treated their fellow employees and related to management.

So he implemented a program, took the message, reformed it and then wrote a program and it totally transformed their whole business. So I want to pick that up today just in the light of this area of victim mentality, so I'm going to just talk a little bit about it and I want to give you enough that you can identify if you think this way. I want to just give us God's focus because God - I want to share with you three key principles that you need to get a hold of and begin to think about. If you embrace these things they will shift how you do life, and then I'm going to try and help you understand how this mentality operates. So a victim, let's describe first of all a victim. See, a victim is a person who's suffered at the hands of other people, or suffered negative circumstances and was unable to help themselves. They couldn't prevent it. They found themselves unable to do anything about it. That's a victim.

They were at the mercy of others, they suffered at the hands of people or circumstances, and for whatever reason - sometimes it's a reason of just age - they weren't able to do anything to prevent it and so they suffered. So that's a person who's a victim. They were powerless or felt powerless to do something about it, and of course people can be victimised by physical abuse, by violence against them. Someone's attacked for example; the trauma of it often sets up a cycle of failure and victim mentality in it. Fear and all kinds of issues come into their life. A person in a home can be treated in a way that makes them feel powerless. A controlling parent will cause a child to feel powerless and they become a victim in their thinking. Some families are so - their dynamic is victim oriented and so people pick it up and then they copy the patterns they've learnt in their family.

So a victim is someone who has suffered authentically through people or circumstances, and were unable to help themself for whatever reason; may have been a child, may have been sick, may have been an accident, something like that. But a person who suffered as a victim may then adopt an attitude of life that I'm powerless and I can't help myself. It usually comes like this: it's not my fault. Someone else is to blame. It's extremely common and I want us to just lock in today onto some of the ways this operates, and then look for it. Now what they did in this firm was every one of the staff having had this list of these things of the way a victim thinks and the way a victor or a person who's an over comer thinks, they locked in on those things and got to memorise them. Then each one of the staff identified a person who thought that way and worked with them to help them transition in their thinking, and that was what shifted everything in the business. It was amazing just how it all shifted.

See, so a person who takes on a victim mentality, their identity has now become I am a victim. I am a victim. Now you understand you can have pain and suffering in your life and experience being the victim of some situation, but that does not define your identity, who you are - unless you take on that mentality. Got the idea? So a victim mentality is a way of thinking about yourself and a way of thinking about life, where you view yourself fairly powerless in life and at the mercy of things which come against you - so it's a victim. Now one of the just - I won't go into but one of the big problems that God had with Israel, God delivered Israel, saved them out of Egypt and He had a great Promised Land to bring them in to. But what He was unable to do, unable because people wouldn't make the right choices, there are some things God can't do. He's given you free will; He can't make you change your mind. You have to choose to change your mind.

So He took them through a number of experiences called wilderness experiences, designed to break the power of victim thinking in their life and establish a faith level and confidence so they could enter the Promised Land and obtain things there. But they consistently complained and failed the opportunities that were given to them, perceived them negatively because they thought like a victim. They interpreted them negatively because they thought like a victim, and when the final time came and the opportunity to possess this inheritance that they had ahead of them, because they failed consistently to change their mentality they had never developed the faith for the big things God wanted them to have. Now that's the heart of that whole wilderness journey. God's intention and heart was to save them, get them into the Promised Land, but He had to shift their mentality through some challenging experiences of life.

But because they interpreted them negatively through a victim mindset they were unable to touch God and actually shift, so the majority of them failed to enter their inheritance. The Bible says in Hebrews 4, it warns us not to take on the same attitudes lest we end up the same way. So as a Christian you can experience being saved, water baptised, filled with the Holy Spirit, but never, never fulfil your purpose and destiny because you're unwilling to shift mentalities and outlooks. If you still think like you used to think you can't enter into the things God has for you. You've got to shift how you think; as a man thinks so he is, and that's the bit that we struggle with a bit because it requires we change. So I want to give you now three key biblical truths that are true about you. They are true about you. These things are true about you. Now you say well I don't know whether I really believe it. It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not, they're true. They're absolute truths about you.

You need to embrace these truths and think about these things. They shift your life. Genesis 1:26, and there's more I could share. I'll just keep to this area here because there are three important ones. God said let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, all the earth, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and said to them be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of the air, every living thing that moves over the earth. Alright then, now today I want to just share from victim to victor, so I won't focus on all the truths here. I want to pick up a particular one.

Now you notice what God said to them. God said to them in Genesis 1:26, subdue and have dominion - so here's the first truth. You were created to win. You were created to win. In built in you, you're designed for winning in life, the ability to excel is already in you. You are created to win and the ability to excel is already within you. It's in your design. It's in how you're made up. God made you to subdue and have dominion. To subdue means something there is resisting you. Something there is a challenge to you. Something there you have to overcome. Something there you've got to assert a force and bring it under. In other words you've got to be a victor. You've got to rise up and overcome that thing, see? That's before sin came in, that was the mandate in man: have dominion. Now that's talking about man having dominion. We know that God rules; this is about you actually stirring yourself up to function like God intended you to function and bring influence over circumstances to change them so you win!

You're called not to be a victim. You're called to be a victor, a winner, a conqueror in life! It is hardwired into you. That's why when you're not winning, when you have a losing mentality, you are miserable. It is impossible to have a victim mentality, a losing mentality and be a happy person. You cannot because you're malfunctioning. You're operating against how you're designed. You are designed - the Bible says Jesus spoke to unsaved people, said the kingdom of heaven is within you. The principles and the values and lifestyle of the kingdom are hardwired in. When you violate them you get trouble - but when you walk in them things naturally just seem to flow much better, so you're made - it says the first one, you're created to win. Tell someone, you're born to win! [You're born to win!] You were born to win. You say well how come I'm losing so much and I'm such a failure? Well that's a little bit of a challenge isn't it aye? Well it's because of how you think.

Okay, here's the second thing and we'll read it in Genesis 2:15-16. Now the Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord commanded the man, of every tree of the garden you may eat freely; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat you shall surely die. Now here's the second thing. You were created with the capacity to choose. You were given a free will to choose. You've got to know that. You were created to choose. God wanted a relationship with man. He had to give him free will to choose. You were created with capacity to choose. You can always make choices. You can always make choices. You have power to make decisions; you can make good decisions, you can make bad decisions, but never say you had no power to choose. No choice, no decision is a choice. No decision is a choice to give up your right to do something and to allow things to cruise along.

Everyone, no matter what situation they're in, there are certain areas of choice available to you. So God's made you with the power of choice. Now we always have choices; sometimes they're difficult because they require us to change. Some choices are difficult, see? Now you can't choose about family relationships, but you can choose how you will participate in them. You can't choose your family of origin, you can't choose your father and mother, can't choose your children usually. You just can't - but you can choose how you function and relate to them. Don't blame your parents, don't blame your kids, make better choices! Victim blaming people as we'll see in a moment is all part of this whole culture of victim mentality. It's not my fault! Listen, you're carrying on like a victim. Don't you know you have the power of choice? Why have you given your choices up?

Why have you resigned from influencing what's there? You've got to think about this see? So you can choose to stop being a victim of your past. You can change your life by changing your choices. You can change your life by changing your choices. I love it in the pre-school what they do. They're just so great. When the kids are young, very, very young, they teach them was that a good choice or a bad choice? They're getting the child to think that they make good choices and bad choices. Now of course coming on from that is every choice has consequences. You can make the choice but you can't choose the consequences. Now it's a very, very simple thing that one isn't it aye? Every choice has a consequence. So you notice here then, here's the third thing then, Genesis 3. We'll pick this next one up, verse 9.

Now the Lord God called Adam and said where are you? And he said I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. And the Lord said who told you you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree I commanded you should not eat? The man said don't look at me, not my fault. It's that woman You gave me! There's a victim. That's where it first appears in the Bible, the first victim statement - not my fault! It's that woman You gave me - and notice who gave her. Do you hear me asking for one? It was Your idea. Don't - speak to the hand, I'm you know, nothing to do with me. So there it is then, so all choices have consequences. Notice God said to Adam here's all the trees in the garden. There's - look at them, there's heaps of them! Oh, trees as far as you can see. Now see that one there, now that one you don't eat of that one okay, because if you eat that one then you die.

Now you notice now he's given the power of choice. God's not saying that I'm going to force you not to do it; He's saying you've got the power of choice, but that choice brings with it a consequence. It brings a consequence, so everyone has got the power of choice, but no one has the power over the consequences. You are already reaping today the consequences of yesterday's choices, so don't whine and complain about it and play the victim. Errr, not my fault! See, to win in life you have to take responsibility for your actions and choices. You've got to take responsibility, so here's the key principle here. You were created to take responsibility for yourself. You're created to take responsibility for yourself. You're made to be responsible for yourself. God intends you be responsible for yourself. Now of course a person who's very, very sick can only do limited things and needs someone to actually help and care for them.

A young baby can't take much responsibility. They don't have many privileges either, they're just there. They just get someone waiting on them, but eventually they should grow up and the design for parenting is - God's design is you teach your child that they have power to make choices, good and bad; there are consequences of a good and a bad choice, and they must be personally responsible for their choices. That's good stuff, good parental training. When you violate that and allow the child not to face and feel his consequences of bad choices, you then ruin the child because they're not learning a vital lesson for success in life, that if I choose good I'll get good results; if I choose bad I'll get bad results. They have to learn that and so that's one of the major functions of the parent in nurturing, bringing up a child is to teach them that they have power of making choices, good and bad, and the bad ones will always have bad consequences even if not immediately.

They have to learn that and so if a child does something bad and you don't hold them to account for their behaviour and have bad consequences, what happens is they never learn. You've rescued them and in rescuing the person you've taken away from them the learning opportunity they had. This is really important stuff. Think about this, you see? So you know, often a teenager, they're wanting all the privileges and your mother says, father says or whatever, your parents say well you've got to get these things done before you're allowed to go out tonight to that function. So you mess around, don't get them done and then there's this battle goes on; I want to go out! No, you can't, you haven't done - did we not say that if you got these done you could go and if you didn't get these done you couldn't go? Oh you're not fair! You're just so mean!

Now listen, that person is behaving like a child and the more they do it, then the younger they're getting all the way until there's no way you're going out! Such a child could never be allowed out like that on their own. Come on, think about it. So a teenager mostly is looking for freedom and privileges without responsibility. The parent's role is to help them become responsible and attach privileges to growing responsibility. Getting the idea? Well it's not all about that. I want to get you out of a victim mode first of all so you stop blaming everyone okay? [Laughs] So you're responsible for some things. Your thoughts are your thoughts, don't blame me for how you think. Your feelings are your feelings, so don't shut them down, own them. Your choices are your choices, your words are your words; you made me so mad! No, I didn't make you mad. That's your stuff. Your feelings are your feelings!

Your actions are your actions. Your desires are your desires. Own them! Own them! Own them! They're part of who you are. You have to own them - so that's part of it. God's made you to become - He's called you to become responsible for the decisions and things that happen in your life, so you've got to do it. If you're going to win in life you've got to be responsible for your choices and your actions. It's the only way you can win in life. I read something the other day, look at this one. You'll love this. When rewards are handed out they belong to you, but when consequences arrive remember they weren't delivered to the wrong address. [Laughter] That's quite good isn't it aye? When consequences arrive remember they weren't delivered to the wrong address; it's not fair! Oh yeah, it's fair. They've just arrived. They had your name on it, had your name on it see?

Now here's another one that's really powerful. Blaming others is proof the person has yet to embrace personal responsibility. Blaming others is proof. You hear blaming going on, it's the proof that that person has not yet embraced responsibility for their life. Now this is the core. Now once you get a hang of those three truths - I'll just give them to you back again, then we're going to look at the victim thinking and you're going to see that victims think a certain way. Anyone that's got a victim mentality, they think a certain way and realise this, that life is - life really sucks for them. They come to church and try to make everything work and somehow it never works for them, it always works for someone else. So let's go back again: You're created to win, the ability to excel is already built into you. You are created with a capacity to choose, good choices or bad choices. You have capacity always to choose, and you're created to take responsibility for your life.

Okay, now what I want to do is to show you when a person has a victim mentality they will think in a certain way. You might like to tick the number of ones you come up with and see how strong it is inside you, and if it's strong inside you then you could make some different choices. You could choose to change and your life will change. Your life will change because you made better choices. Most people wait for someone else to change, so you get in a marriage situation. Every time in a marriage situation, it's without exception one's blaming the other and waiting for them to change. Come on, what a losing attitude that is. How can you possibly win in life like that? See all you do is get resentful and angry. You can't win when you adopt that strategy. It is a losing strategy by being irresponsible. So I've jotted a few things down and so I'm going to just give them to you, just going to read them out because [unclear 00.21.06] time to think about them.

Then I'll just show you some key choices you can make that'll shift you, key choices, of course we need the Lord to help us but we've got to have this mentality and think through what we've got to change. See, it's all very well to pray God will change you, but actually you've got to change what you think. They're your thoughts you know; God's not going to change your thoughts. You've got to change - you have to work on your thought life with the word of God and changing the way you think and do things. Sometimes we need help to do it. Okay, so let's just go through. Now every one of these is the characteristics of a person with a victim mentality and life for them just doesn't go too well at all, so here it goes. The first one is they shift or avoid responsibility so it lies somewhere else, and the consequence is they feel powerless.

They shift or avoid responsibility, so a victim just doesn't actually - they just won't take responsibility for their life. They shift it somewhere else, so any situation that's happening, well it's not my fault. You can't blame me, it's not my fault! They actually put the responsibility for the whole deal outside them, and as soon as you put responsibility outside yourself you feel powerless; I can't do anything about it, I'm just waiting for them to change. I'm praying Jesus will change them. I'm waiting for them to change. Listen victim, victim, victim! Don't think that way. YOU change. Just change how you do things, how you operate things - so they shift or avoid responsibility so it lies somewhere else. The consequence is they feel powerless, but a person who's got a conquering or a winning mentality, they take full responsibility for their own actions and attitudes and as a consequence they feel empowered.

So no matter what situation there is, no matter how difficult, they say well I've got some choices I can make here. I can be responsible for my life - and they don't mix it up. This is what I'm responsible for and that's what you're responsible for. That's your stuff. This is my stuff. So a person who's a victor will think about what they're responsibility is and where it lies. They don't go round carrying other people's baggage. They don't go round picking up and carrying other people and not allowing them to be responsible. The Bible reinforces this over and over and over again. In Galatians 6 for example in the [second 00.23.06] verse, it tells us every man should bear one another's burden, which means literally that every one of us should lift crushing loads that stop a person getting up. Then straight after that a few verses later it says and every man shall bear his own burden, which is a different word - the [light, list or light 00.23.21] pack like you just get through your day.

You know, you've got a suitcase or a briefcase or a light pack you go to school with, that's your stuff. No one's going to carry it for you, you've got to carry that stuff. But if you're down and crushed someone comes along and lifts that off you while you get back up, but once you're up you've got to carry your own stuff. Carry your own stuff! Carry your own stuff! Come on, carry your own stuff. Don't put it on someone else to carry it - and that's what parents are always looking for isn't it aye, so when you've chosen to carry your own stuff you feel empowered because you know what's yours. My thoughts, I can work on my thoughts, actions, attitudes. I can work on all those feelings, I can work on those. The other person, I can influence them but I'm not responsible for their choices. If they make a bad one, okay, let's make some consequences for doing this dumb thing you're doing, and you don't get into the power struggle that goes on where people contend with one another, each one trying to win and both losing.

Okay, the second thing is they blame others for life being the way it is and this empowers others at their expense. They blame others for the way life is, whereas a winner, a conqueror, a victor will refuse to blame others. They embrace the challenges and difficulties and they determine to win over them, so this issue of blame - so a victim will always blame other people. They just continually blame others. Now people blame all kinds of [things 00.24.38]. They blame their father, they blame their mother, they blame their brothers and sisters, they blame their teachers. They blame the church leaders, they blame bosses and employers, they blame everyone. Yet you keep the blame game up you aren't going to win. You actually have to break with the blame game. You've just got to stop playing that game. You've just got to change that and see, so a winner refuses to blame others.

They reckon if there's a challenge and a difficulty there, well man what a great opportunity this is. I can really learn from this - a different way of thinking about it. Come on, a different way of thinking. Here's a third thing then. A victim will refuse to assume responsibility for the consequences of their bad choice, so a victim - you notice another thing I've noticed about victims is this. When you try and hold them to account for what they've done they really get angry and resentful, because they don't believe they're responsible and when you try to hold them to responsibility by making them have consequences they get resentful and angry and blame you. But they refuse to take the consequences of their actions. I saw it in the paper just recently in the big upheaval there over tagging and the one thing I was looking for, will anyone state that people have to be responsible for their behaviours? And anyone who stands up and says they're not responsible, oh they're this and this, hello! You're perpetuating victim culture.

You're not going to help them. You're going to actually condemn them to a life of being victims, angry and resentful. So I've noticed that victims inevitably don't want the consequences, so they do something bad, they don't want to actually have pain following it. Do-gooders will try and rescue them from having the pain. Life tells us very clearly your choices have consequences. Don't spare people the consequences. They're to learn from them and as they learn from them they grow. It's the most wonderful way God set it all up, beautiful, works really well. Here's another thing about victims, so of course they refuse to assume responsibility. However a person who is a victor, well they'll take full responsibility for the consequences and they learn from it and they'll ask for feedback. They're actually quite open to feedback, you see whereas if you try to give feedback to a victim they get defensive.

They just actually get defensive and react angrily because their identity is in what they've done, just don't want to go there. You can't help them when people are like that, so you've just got to [help 00.27.01] them face the consequences. Here's the fourth thing. They focus on negatives and problems and lacks and injustices, and complain and feel powerless to do anything about it. They focus on negatives and problems, lacks, injustice and they complain you see, whereas a victor will focus on options and possibilities and opportunities to grow, and they're thankful for the opportunities. So one complains about the injustices and problems, continually complains so their attitude is one of complaining; ooh someone [unclear 00.27.27], negative and complaining. Whereas a person who's got a winning attitude says man, this is an opportunity here, so what are the options? They just think options all the time; what are my choices in here?

See, notice they're owning I've got choices in this; what choices can I make? How can I go? What options have I got? They think that way. It's just built in to think that way, and if you don't think that way, if you feel - the moment you feel powerless you've got to stop, step back and say I'm feeling powerless. What choices do I have here? What options are open to me? Then you start to choose better options. Now see every situation where you feel disempowered you've got to step back and then look why you got disempowered and what you can do, what choices you have now available to you. So it requires you being aware of how you feel and actually taking time to think about your life and what you're doing. Getting the idea? Really good isn't it aye? Okay then, so because victims feel powerless they want others to come through for them and they become demanding and focus on their rights.

Because victims feel powerless they then become demanding. They want others to come through for them; you've got to help me! I want you to learn to help yourself. What options have you got? Aah, [I've got no one 00.28.42] to help me, bail me out - so they've got a consistent problem with mismanaging their money and now they're in debt. The creditors are coming, they're beating on the door and wife's upset, the dog's upset, kids are upset and everything's a disaster; it's not my fault! You've got to help me! So we say well how can we help you? Well just give me all the money to pay the bill. [Laughter] Well that's not going to help you, because next week you'll be in the same fix. You haven't actually owned that this is a consequence of some choices you made a little while before. When you blew the card out here and you blew the card out there, and you blew the card out there you weren't thinking that one day that account would come in and you'd be oh no, I can't pay!

You just didn't take responsibility, so helping people out - notice with our work in missions, see the theme out there on the back is not a hand out. You give a hand out you don't help anyone; you've got to help them up. You've got to help them to learn and grow through that situation. Getting the idea? And see people all want a hand out. Hand outs don't help people. They can provide temporary relief but you actually want to help them up, which may involve a whole range of things but it always involves changing the way they think. So when we worked in Uganda for example, the biggest challenge we faced in all the Third World is shifting how they think, because they think like a victim; I'm this, you're that, you've got to come through for me. So we tell them we've got no money, we're only a small church, got no money you know? So what we can be is be friends to you and help you grow. Then on the way you'll find some money will turn up. That's why I've gone slow on some of the missions thing.

I'd love to just jump in and do a lot more, but you've got to grow them. Otherwise they just stay in this cycle of poverty and then they're looking for someone to help them out. Getting the idea? I hope you're not doing that. You wouldn't be doing that. No, you're very [laughs] - see, so of course a victor, because [they're powered, they're 00.30.33] proactive and institute change. They focus on responsibility rather than privileges. It's kind of interesting with people that are victims, they're always demanding something. They just think you've got to come through for me and you feel when you're with them a demand you've got to do something. You just feel it. In fact you feel drained. You're with them, you can't wait to get away because you feel this pull and you feel guilty, you feel drained, manipu- and it's just inherent in that way of thinking. And of course it doesn't bring life building relationships. It drains them out when people act like a victim.

Okay, so here's another one, number six. Because they feel powerless they're unwilling to seek help and they react defensively when they get feedback. But you see you know, the person who's a victor will always seek help out. Okay, here's another one. Because they feel powerless they speak bitterly against others, especially those in authority who they blame for hurting them. So they speak bitterly against others because they feel powerless. If you're powerless you can't do anything. What are you going to do? Just get angry and yell at people; [unclear 00.31.29] the boss - and that's what people do and they get more and more bitter, whereas a person who's got a winning mentality, well they don't think that way and they don't act that way. They actually act and they speak - because they're secure they can encourage this one, encourage that one and they always treat bosses with respect.

They just think differently. So just work out how you're doing today. Work out how you're doing. Now of course you'll actually think you're doing better than you are. You just ask someone to give me some feedback. Oh, [I won't 00.31.56] do that! Why would you ask me to do that! Oh! [Laughs] Tick, another one there. Okay, so let's give you another couple. Okay then, so here's another one, number eight. Their hope for change lies outside them and so they get frustrated, so for the person who's a victim their hope for any change in their situation is outside them. Something has got to change in the circumstances, so they get into a Lotto mentality. You'd be amazed how many people - I bet there'll be some here, but you don't have to put your hand up. [Laughter] This is what they're thinking: I'll get that Lotto ticket. I just might get that big breakthrough, just might. And actually everything in their life has that same mentality. It's the big breakthrough, the big breakthrough.

You hear them talking and when I hear people talking about the big breakthrough I think listen, the only breakthrough's you're ever going to have are a result of what you choose to do today - so what are you doing today? I'm taking a ticket. Oh, get over it. If you got the money you wouldn't have the ability to manage it. You'll blow it and it'll ruin everything around you. Just read the papers about people who've won a lot of money and what it did to them. A Lotto mentality was I'll just pray and then I'll get a breakthrough with God and then everything will change. That's Lotto thinking. It's Christian Lotto thinking. Well I just pray, just pray! Just pray! Oh wow, whoa, oh, you're praying, oh good. What are you doing? Oh, well I'm praying for a breakthrough in my marriage. Well what are you doing today to help build your marriage? What are you doing that you could do? Oh, what are you talking about - I'm praying! [Laughter]

Your breakthrough's a long time coming I can tell you [laughter] and what'll happen is you'll get bitter and frustrated and angry at God, because He didn't come through for you and every time you hear a message about breakthroughs or hear a testimony of breakthroughs you'll get angry and bitter because how come them and not me? I prayed so hard you know, even fasted a little bit. [Laughter] Never got the breakthrough! People who are waiting for a breakthrough it isn't coming, because they're not doing today what they need to do to initiate the changes. Just prayer doesn't do it. Prayer - He said you know you show Me your faith by your works. The works, what you're doing demonstrates whether you're a believer, so I look and people tell me they believe; oh I believe God, blah blah. Oh look, I've heard it for years. I say what are they doing? That's what tells it. Your faith is demonstrated by the way you live your life. It's as clear as that see?

So again, this victim mentality gets into the church and the Christians. Okay, so the hope is outside us. Now because they feel powerless they're passive, waiting for something to happen. They're passive and they're waiting, so a lot of people are passive because they're waiting for something to happen. But you see a person who's a victor, they think differently; man, I'm here to make something happen. I take initiative - you know, so a person who's a victim will say oh won't someone do something about that? How come someone doesn't [unclear 00.34.50]? Listen, you saw it. Why don't YOU do something? You know, so a person's who's [initiative, 00.34.55] man look, there's an opportunity there and I could do something about that. I'd be good at that. They think differently. You have to get people out of victim thinking. You will never help them by allowing them to stay in victim thinking, see?

And of course here's the last one I thought of was so a victim will see God as uncaring and indifferent. In their heart they'll see God doesn't care about me and He's indifferent to what's happening, and so their life is characterised, their spiritual life is characterised by unbelief. They can't trust God, see? So a person who's a victim will take the view that God is uncaring and indifferent and so they can't trust Him, and their spiritual life is characterised by unbelief. One of the challenges I've continually had is to ask this question: what actions are you taking that depend on God coming through for you as a result of taking those steps? And it just keeps you a check as to whether you're in faith, or whether you're just in cruise mode. So a person who's a victim will be religious. You can't help but be religious because you haven't assumed responsibility.

You might even come and sing songs, worship, wave your hands, jump up and down and wave the flag, have a banner, do all kinds of stuff, but listen. If you don't actually take responsibility to initiate things you will actually become religious. You'll have all the expression but no life and no power, and we don't want that. We want people to come into [light, 00.36.20] okay? Whereas you see a person who's a victor, well they see God as caring, involved, wanting to empower me. Man, and they're growing in their faith. They're continually growing in their faith because they're connecting to God, because they believe that God is going to walk with them. Man, God has given me a mandate to go out there and make a difference. Boy, if He told me to do it He's with me! Something should be happening! Got to think that way.

See, but the other would say oh, that's - so of course a victim would come back, oh it's so hard. People are so unkind. I shared about Jesus and they really weren't very kind to me. Stop whining! That's victim speak. Victim speak. You ought to get sussed out at how to pick up victim speak. Victim speak has got a sound of its own. It's got a whining sound, like a diff that's gone. [Laughter] A continued whine. [Laughs] We don't want to have that do we? Okay, I'll give you one more verse and then we'll show you just a couple of keys out of it. Okay, here we go. Here it is in 2 Corinthians 2:14, we quoted it before. Now thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ. Well that doesn't read like this: well thanks be to God who once in a while may give us a breakthrough. [Laughter]

Notice this. It says thanks be to God who always, always, always, always, everywhere, every place, every time always CAUSES us. So we're involved in this thing and what do we do? We triumph because we're doing things that God has got His hand on, in Christ and because of that to make manifest His presence through our lives we're working with God and we're cooperating with God and eventually we win! You say well look, you know, sometimes it doesn't look like you're winning. No, it doesn't look like winning at all, but you know when it's over I may not have won completely in that, but what I'll have done is I'll have grown up another step in character. I'll be all ready for the next challenge. I win no matter what. I win no matter what! I win no matter what, because either I'm going to grow in character which is a win, or I change that situation which is a win. Either way I can't help but win! I am wired to win! What a life! Wired to win! WHOA, WHAT A LIFE!

I can't stand it, it's so good. What a life! Wired to win everywhere, no matter what we face, wired to win! That's got to be good - but you've got to make better choices. Oh, well don't tell me that, I'm just going to pray. I'm going to pray! You've got to DO something too. You've got to get [that power. 00.38.49] What can you choose to do? See the little boy brought out the five loaves and fishes. Next thing there's a whole miracle. The breakthrough came when someone did something. Okay, I'll just give you a couple of steps out of it. I won't develop them, but just give you some steps out. When you choose to think like a victim you're going to have no power. You're going to lose power in your life. You've got to change the way you think so here's a few things you can do. Number one, stop blaming and complaining. Tell someone next to you they need to hear that one: stop blaming, stop complaining, straight off like that. [Stop blaming, stop complaining.]

You hear someone blaming, oh-oh, zip! Just give them a sign any time you hear one of the believers in the church and they're blaming someone, psst! I hear victim speak! You poor you! [Laughter] Come on, really bring it out: victim speak, hello! They're singing the victim song. Blaming someone else - oh poor you, you're so powerless you can't do anything. It's all their fault. Why don't you change and do something different? Okay, so stop blaming, stop complaining, start rejoicing and taking responsibility. The second thing is you need to assume responsibility for your life. Start to rejoice, take responsibility. Man, it's a winning life. I'm wired to win! What a life! I'm going to rejoice in the Lord! Is there something really heavy in front of me, difficult in front of me? Oh yes. Is it overwhelming? Well it seems that way, feels that way, but boy I'm wired to win! Somehow I'm going to come through this one okay.

So we've got to do that. You've got to choose that. Those are the key things you've got to change. Now the next thing you need to do is initiate actions that bring change in your own life. You've got to do something to change your life. Don't go coming up in an altar call all the time and just - I see people come up in altar calls all the time. That's why we don't have them so often. We have them once in a while but not all the time because people used to come up all the time. They never change and what people do is they get to think well you know, making decisions to come to the Lord is not going to do anything. You actually become a stumbling block for others, so we've tried to change our processes in the church. What can you do to change? Here's something you can do to change.

If you have been treated like a victim and you're hurt and someone's really done the dirty by you, then why don't you just face the feelings, let go the anger and forgive them? Start to bless them. Break out of this thing. The second thing you do if you think like a victim, why don't you just a hold of some things you think, get the Bible promises and change how you think. So see, it's not hard. You could do that. You can do that because the Lord will come in on that. He's all into that. The moment you start agreeing with how God sees life you start to wire into Him and He starts to move. If you think like a victim you're disagreeing with God. God will say well didn't I say in Genesis 1 they're wired to win? What's going on here? They're not agreeing with Me - I can't help.

But the moment you break out and start to say God, you've wired me to win in life. You've called me to subdue and have dominion. Whatever it is, I'm going to win on this thing. I'm trusting You to help me, show me what I can do. Show me my choices; what do I need to change on the inside? That's the first thing, and then how can I influence - here's the last one - how can I influence what's around me by better choices? How can I influence people and circumstances by making different choices to the ones I'm making? Man, this is good isn't it aye? We need to get someone the CD for this one. You know someone who needs to hear this. I know that. I know that. You know someone. You're thinking of them right now - boy, I wish they were here. They need that. No, YOU need it actually. Come on, get that list and tick it off in private - not here, you'd be embarrassed. Check off in private.

I can think of circumstances in marriages and finances and lives that changed the day people stopped being a victim, made a decision to take personal responsibility, to recognise consequences, change their decisions, let go forgiveness, change how they think and change how they do stuff. Then they get amazing breakthroughs. You want to talk to Steve and Delwyn, you have to see the miracle they got - unbelievable miracle they got in their finances. But there was something before that great breakthrough. It wasn't the Lotto. They didn't just come and oh Jesus, help! It was far more than that. They made good choices and God gave them a miracle. Amen. You could have a miracle too couldn't you? Come on, let's close our eyes. Father, right now we just thank You You've wired us to win. You've called us to be champions in life. You've called us to be MORE than conquerors through Christ Jesus, that's greater than a winner. We're an outstanding winner, so that people understand we serve the living God.

Lord, we ask today You'd forgive us for where we've thought and acted like victims and Lord, have whinged, whined, complained and blamed and put the responsibility somewhere else and they've tried to cover it with religious activities and haven't just got straight down to business and started to do what we need to do. Father, I pray that a great revelation of this would come into people. I pray that mindset of being a victim will break in people's lives. I'm asking Lord that during these coming weeks, that You will cause people to remember the things that were said today and recognise whenever they're acting like a victim and thinking and speaking like a victim, or when the people around them are thinking and acting that way. Help them to begin to recognise how deep-rooted it's in our culture and to begin to stand up and become the answer to it, in Jesus' mighty name. We say amen to that.

[File ends 00.43.49]

Performance (3 of 4)  

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Performance (3 of 4)

Performance (3 of 4) Mike Connell 08.06.2008 am

Thank You Lord! Thank You Lord! We love You Jesus! Hallelujah Lord. Amen. Please be seated. Have a look in your Bible, Proverbs 23:7. We've been talking about identity, identity. I want to pick that up. We're doing a series on it. I looked identity in Christ in the first session, what it would look like if you were free to be who you are. Then we looked at some ways people define identity, who I am. Identity's all about who am I, and if you don't know who you are well you're in trouble because everyone else will define it for you. So we saw different ways people identify themselves and we looked particularly at one area of victim mentality; I'm a victim. I can't do anything. So the question is then how do you see yourself, because how you see yourself and Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Or what you believe in your heart yourself to be is how you'll live your life.

What you believe about yourself will dramatically determine your life and your relationships, so the question is how do you see yourself? Do you see yourself the way God sees you, or do you define yourself somewhat differently? So we were looking at some aspects of that; what do you believe about yourself? See, how do you see yourself? How do you define yourself? You're going to live out of that. See, who are you really, and next time I'm up I want to just talk to you then about our identity in Christ, how we establish what that identity in Christ is and how we establish it strongly and firmly in our life. I need to know who I am in Christ, see? So your identity is who you are and it's made up of a lot of things. We define it different ways, so one way you look at your face; oh, there's Cecelia. She didn't say a word and I knew her face, so your face defines who you are. Your face speaks or identifies who you are. Your name identifies you. I'm Mike. That's my first name, so my face and name identify - and voice identify me.

My name is Connell so I'm from a family line. I'm connected to a family line and in that family line a lot of things look similar. Anyone seeing my brothers would realise a lot of things are similar. [Laughter] You look, you see oh, it's a family you know? You can actually see - so my identity is also partly defined - in the natural area we're looking at now - by where I come from, the family line I'm a part of. And God sees you connected into generational lines, so God sees you in terms of family and when God looks say for example at Levi, He said well he's part of the Abraham line. So whatever Abraham did, Levi was a part of that because he's part of the family line - but Levi was a great-grandchild. So when God looks at families He looks at the whole line of the family. Now that's a problem. It's good and it's bad because if you've got great parents then you are part of a family line that's great, got great qualities going through.

But if they were really bad you've got some issues, and so there's a problem there. So God designed us so that family identity would flow down from where we came from, so Adam and Eve came from God. Who are they? They're the children of God, but when they sinned something changed. God's plan was that from Adam and Eve would flow down the line of God into the earth; that Adam and Eve were made in the image of God with His character, His nature, some of His capacities. They were designed to reflect Him in the earth and so what God's design was that they would have children, and the children would also reflect what God is like. But when sin came in, see now the next line was now made in the image of Adam, not in the image of God because something had changed. Sin had come in and now there's destructive things come in family lines as well as constructive things and we have to understand that and work out what to do about that.

So we identify ourself by our gender; I'm a male, I'm a man. I'm a man, I'm a woman, you know so that's a part of identifying who you are. You identify yourself by your [racial background; 00.04.14] I'm a Kiwi - so we use a whole number of ways of identifying ourselves. We could identify ourselves by our social status; well I'm a leader, I'm a pastor, I'm a businessman. That's who I am. What if your business goes bust, who are you then? [Laughs] We can identify ourself by experiences, by the hurts and pains and difficulties or failures we've had; I'm a failure. No, you're not a failure. You've defined yourself in your identity by your experiences, but that's not who you are. Alright, we may define ourself by painful experiences; I'm a victim. I'm powerless. I can't do anything. Now you never say that but actually it's in the heart it'll flow out the life.

You'll believe that about yourself, so many people in this church here today would define themselves not as God defines you, not as God sees you but according to how you see you and it's defined by what's happened in your past; I'm a failure, I'm a reject, I'm a nothing see? Well that's going to affect how you run your life, and so clearly the motivational people are right. You need to get a good view of yourself, your self-esteem, but the problem with all of the teaching stuff on self-esteem is it never has the cross in it. It always exalts self rather than exalting Christ, so it tries to build a person without actually becoming rooted in who I am as God intended me to be. That's the problem with it, so it's got good concepts. They're all drawn from the Bible actually [although they may 00.05.44] not admit that. That's where they come from.

So some people identify themself by the words of others; I'm a failure. How do you know you're a failure? I'm useless, I'm this, I'm that because someone told me and I believed them. Then so we looked at - particularly last week we looked at the area of victim, defining ourselves I'm a victim. In other words I'm powerless, I can't do anything, bad things always happen to me, what's the use. Now all that kind of mentality leaves you disempowered. That's not who God called you to be. God called you to have dominion, you're a person with dominion, so we're going to share with you in another time how you actually arise in your personal life and begin to assert dominion into the realm that's around you. But to do that you've got to know who you are. Okay, now I want to before I get into the final one on identity, I want to look at another way that people define themselves and this is a really important one.

If it rings your bells then put your hand up and get to change okay? [Laughs] So another way is that people define themselves is by their performance, what they do; I am what I do. So what I do tells you what I am. Now it's only a partial truth in that, so Jesus [identity 00.06.50] and the key to your identity is revelation. The key to your identity, your true identity, is revelation. It's what God says about you. If you don't know what God says you are how do you know who you really are? You're just defining yourself according to your background, or experiences, or what people say about you or even the group you're in. They put a label on you so they can say who you are; oh, you're just that. Oh, you're just a Pentecostal. Oh, you're just a Catholic. You know, people put labels to box us, but I need to know who I am according to what God says. Every one of us needs to know clearly who we are according to what God says about me, and then I live out of what God says.

Now I may not be living up to it completely, but I'm not trying to prove that's who I am. I'm actually living up to who I am. Got the idea? So it's a real different thing, whereas most people try to establish who they are by doing something. God reveals who you are and then you begin to live up to it. Getting the idea? Okay then, so just have a look - I want to have a look first of all in John 1:29. Now Jesus' identity was defined very clearly. He knew exactly who He was. Because He knew who He was He didn't worry about position or rank, title. He didn't worry about what people thought about Him. He was actually free to be Himself, because He knew who He was so He didn't need someone else to say who He was. But we find His identity's defined in two places; one, it's defined by the prophet of God revealing something to Him in John 1:29.

And He says the next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and he said behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Now you notice what's happening here. You have to understand this. John was God's representative in the earth and John was preaching the gospel, a repent of sin and repentance towards God and then water baptism. Now you've got to understand what the significance of this water baptism thing is. Water baptism was this, it was I have repented from my old life, my old way without God, and now I want to demonstrate openly that the old identity of life as I used to live it is gone. And I'm beginning a new life as a new person with a new framework - God is the centre. So baptism then was they go down into the water; the old life identity as you used to know is buried. Now there's a new person risen up, a walking with God person.

Now Jesus had to be baptised, not because He'd sinned but because He wanted to identify with what God was saying in that day. God was saying in that day repent, change your lifestyle, change your heart towards God, and begin to live a lifestyle of relationship in pleasing God. And to indicate that change get water baptised, so Jesus said - came down to John. John said You don't need to be water baptised, You should be doing that to me. He said no, to fulfil what's right before God I will be water baptised and notice now associated with His old life - what was His old life? His old life was His natural life as a carpenter in Nazareth, so when people looked at Him that's the carpenter of Nazareth, and He was saying My life as carpenter of Nazareth is over. I'm beginning who I really am which is the Son of God, Jesus, the Saviour of the world. Therefore I need to be baptised as a public demonstration of who I now am.

And associated with that there are two witnesses; one in the earth, one in heaven. John stood up and said behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Who is this man in your midst? He's the Lamb of God. This is the Saviour. This is who He is. How did John know it? Revelation. How did he know who Jesus really - oh, that's my cuzzie bro. [Laughter] See, naturally that was true. John was His cousin; oh it's just my cousin. Who does He think He is? But he had revelation and the revelation was this is the Lamb of God. Now Jesus gets baptised. Do you know what immediately happens after He gets baptised? The heavens open and Father from heaven says this is My beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased - so He has a voice on earth, speaking God's heart, God's revelation; a voice in heaven, this is who this person is.

He's not the carpenter you once knew. He's not the boy that grew up in that community. He's not that little child that was part of a big family that their dad died and He took over the business. This is the Saviour of the world, the promise of God, the gift of God. So how did he know who He was? It was revealed. He had there was a word from God through a prophet and a word from Father in heaven directly to him, so if he didn't know it before he knew it then! How did Jesus know who He was? God told Him, this is who You are, it's where You come from. This is who You are, this is where You're going, this is what You've got to do. So His identity was totally secure. Now I want you to have a look with me in Luke 3 - or look in Matthew 3. It's all the same sort of thing, Matthew 3. We'll just read in Matthew 3 - here it is there, verse 17. Suddenly a voice came from heaven saying this is My beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased, so God's just burst out and said ah ha ha ha! Hey, I know who You are! You're My Son and I love You. Well I can't help shouting out from heaven! You understand?

So who is He? Well God - the prophet said who He is and the Father said who He is. There's no doubt who He is - and notice what the devil says, [Matthew 4:3. 00.12.47] When the tempter came and said to Him if You are - if You are. That's an identity question: who are You? If You are prove it, do something. Now you notice what he is, he's trying to move Jesus' identity from what God says He is, to proving it by what He does. And this was consistently a pattern in Jesus' life, is a tempter would come and say if You are this You ought to do that. If You're the Son of God - Luke 4 - he said if You're the Son of God prove it, do something. See? If You're the Son of God prove it, do something, see? Now there's a couple of other places too. I'll give you them but we won't look them up.

In Luke 23:8-9 Pilate hoped to see a miracle. If You are the Son of God do a miracle. Pilate asked Him a question; are You the king? Jesus said nothing. Now you'll notice when Jesus was challenged who He is - who are You? - He either quoted the word of God or He said nothing. He quoted the word of God or said nothing, but He never felt the need to prove who He was. You either received it and recognised it, or He didn't worry about it. If you didn't recognise who He was that's okay, it's your problem. When He came to His own town they said this is the carpenter. We grew up with this boy here. We know Him, we know His mother and brothers and sisters and the business they ran. They were offended and wouldn't believe and no miracles, so you understand they saw Him in natural terms. They did not realise who He really was, so because they didn't recognise His true identity they couldn't receive.

Do you realise that the way you get saved is to recognise the true identity of Jesus, what He did, who He is and what He's done? The moment you acknowledge that in your heart and speak it with your mouth, you're saved. Isn't that amazing? So each time Jesus come under a spiritual attack, this is one of the things. In Matthew 12:38-39 the scribes and Pharisees come up and said well if You're who You say You are, prove it. Do a miracle. Now what they're sort of saying is if you do a miracle I'll believe You're true. I'll believe You're the Son of God. Actually if he did a miracle - He did miracles. He raised Lazarus from the dead. You know what they wanted to do? Kill Lazarus, because this is a problem Lazarus living. He was dead before and he's alive now - we don't want to know how this happened. Let's just get rid of the fellow, because if we acknowledge it we'll have to acknowledge who Jesus is.

So miracles will not necessarily establish the identity of God, who He is and what He does. People just won't believe. If unbelief is in their heart they won't believe, so it's revelation. That's why Jesus said no one can come to the Father but by Me, and no one comes unless the Spirit reveals. Now you need to know who you are. You need God to reveal to you who you are as well. You need to know who you are, and I'll share that in the next message. I'll go clearly to what the Bible says about it, see? So look at this in the end of Jesus' ministry, Mark 15:29 and 32. They said hey, if You're the Son of God! Come down from the cross, prove it! So You're the Son of God, so You're the king. Prove it! Do something spectacular. So you notice even when unbelievers look - well you're a Christian, why don't you do this? Well I am a Christian and I do lots of things; I'm not choosing to do that for the moment.

You understand, people want to attach your identity to what you do, or they want you to prove who you are by what you do. Many believers, many Christians unfortunately are locked into what I call performance orientation and they define themselves according to what they're doing or have done. Now we all are subject to that. We all have that dilemma in our life until we become established clearly, this is who I am and I am happy with who I am, and I am growing in who I am and I'm actually able to be free to be that person. It brings tremendous liberty, so many people for example, they'd have something like this going on in their life; I'm a success. How do you know you're a success? Well look at all the things I've done, I must be. Well did God ask you to do all those things? Were you designed to do those things? Is that what the call of God was for you to do all those things? Is that how you're successful?

A person gets to the end of their life and they're about to die and go to heaven, they really have a reality check immediately on what was of value and what isn't. They never define their life [according to 00.17.13] what they did. It's always the relationships that they have and who they've expressed themselves to be, see? So you know, even God says - He says well I see you've done all these things, but did you love people? Is love in your heart? Are you a loving person? Who are you? Are you a loving person? Are you a generous person? What kind of person are you anyway? Well I look at my past and I see what I've done, I think I'm pretty miserable really - so we cannot define ourselves according to what we do, otherwise we'll come up with things I'm a success because I did this, this and this. I went to university, [sniffs] you didn't. But you see understand that when you define your identity around your performance, then you divide your world up into those who've performed less than you and you're better than them.

Then unfortunately you'll meet up with people who perform better than you and now you'll feel less than them, so you don't hang around them. They make you insecure because they challenge your identity. They show you up. You actually didn't do so much after all, and if your identity is attached to what you do the moment you meet someone who's accomplished a lot more you become insecure, because the comparison you were using before was someone who hadn't done so much; well look what I've done. I've got all this money together - look at you! And then you meet a billionaire; oh whoa! You understand, if our identity is attached to what we've accomplished, then we're insecure the moment those accomplishments fail or we meet someone else who's accomplished more, because our identity is attached to the wrong thing. So the moment you fail you've got issues about not the failure but who you are.

So for example if a woman attaches her identity to her children's performance that's an issue. Now the kids have got to perform or mum feels bad about herself, and when the kids are failing in front of people mum is now in a major insecure identity issue. It's not about the kids, it's not about training them, it's not about godliness. It's actually about I'm not looking good. I'm feeling bad, and you kids are causing it and I've got to really get control over you to stop this happening. So you cannot have your identity within your children. Children leave home, now you're rejected because got no kids around. Your identity's been in the wrong place. Our identity's not in our children. If your identity's in your children you can hardly say no to them and you will try to control them. Our identity must be in Christ. We're secure [in our Christ 00.19.46] and we steward our children for God. That means training them, saying no to them, shaping them and then eventually releasing them.

If your identity's in them you can't release them, because it's part of who you are. You're letting go. You can't die because your identity's tied [up. 00.20.04] You getting the idea? So people live with a thing like I'm inferior. Well where do you get this thing I am inferior? Inferior means you're comparing with something; well I'm comparing with you and I compare what's best in you with what's worst in me, and I am inferior. So my mindset is I'm inferior - but I'm not inferior. I am me, and you are not the basis for how I evaluate my life. The Bible says 2 Corinthians 12:10, it says if you compare yourselves, one with another, you're stupid and foolish and you've got no sense in the conclusions you come to. You can't use someone else as the basis for who you are. There's only one person we can use and that's Jesus Christ. Now you'll get to in a minute about what it means to be born again you see.

So if a person has got this whole performance base inside, essentially in their heart they believe if I do well I'm loveable and acceptable. If I don't do well I'm not acceptable, I'll be rejected. That's the core belief system inside and that has to shift, see? Now if a person believes that, if you believe that in your heart - I believed it for a long time. I believed it for years and you know what the fruit of it was? The fruit of it was every school I went to, every place I ever went I had the diligence prize, but do you know what drove it? A funny belief system inside, and a drivenness and a fear and a struggling and a striving that produced this thing which was not the fruit of the Spirit. It was the fruit of fear and inferiority in my life. See, so you can't use that. See I put approval which I was seeking on performance, so therefore performance was always the evaluation mark of who I was and how I was doing. [That right? 00.21.50]

Now when you think like that you have a whole heap of stuff goes on in your life, and you might know someone like this so I want you to listen to this list of fruit because I think you'll know someone just like that. You might even like to point it out to them. [Laughter] But don't expect them to receive it. You could expect an angry response - so the first thing is a person who's got their identity in their performance always needs affirmation about their performance. They constantly need to be affirmed. Why? If they're not affirmed they don't feel they are okay. Okay, second thing is they can't handle feedback because they feel rejected. Give them feedback; well this was good because of this, this and this. That was bad - oh! What do you think [unclear 00.22.31] - now you see because in their world when you say something about the behaviour you're attacking them, because their identity is attached to the performance.

Speak about the performance, now you're attacking them personally and they're going to get angry, resentful and react. Many Christians are like that. When you try to disciple them and talk about their behaviours and their attitudes they react and get offended and withdraw. This is the reason why; because their identity is not established in Christ. It's around their performance, and when you say something about the performance you say something about them. So you try to point out to a mother something about her child you know, four times out of five she'll react angrily. Talk to the dad, he'll probably say yeah, they've been doing that at home too - but the mums identity, because of the nurture is often - not always but often - more deeply attached to the child and their behaviour. A criticism of the child is perceived through this filter in the mind, that's an attack on me. [Laughs]

We had a standard policy: never talk to the mum, always talk to the dad first of all. He'll come up more honest and up front you know? [Laughs] If you want to know how it really is ask the mum. Okay, a person who's got performance orientation's afraid to try new things because they might fail. So you understand if your identity is tied to your performance, what's going to happen if you try something new? Yeah God, what if I fail? This is too much to think of. I can't possibly stand that - so there's a fear of failure. Another thing is constant fear of failure and what people think, so a person who's got performance orientation is always worried about what someone else is thinking. Well you know what, let me just tell you a little truth. People are going to think what they think no matter what happens. Who cares what they think? You see, the reason you're afraid of what people think is because you really want their approval because your identity's not secure in what God says about you, His thoughts about you. Are you getting the idea?

Okay then, so here's another thing about people who are performance oriented like this. They need to know the rules beforehand because they have to be in control, so whenever they come into something they've got to know exactly what's expected, [exactly what to think. 00.24.31] But actually the real thing underneath it is I'm terrified I'll make a mistake. I can't make a mistake. I CAN'T MAKE A MISTAKE! Tell me what the rules are! So they live their life by rules instead of spontaneous flow. Horrible way to live your life, by rules. Oh, you live in fear all the time you're going to break the rules, and of course - okay, so they need to know the rules; can't be spontaneous because they have to be correct. If you're living all your life and you have to be correct, you can't be spontaneous because you're always trying to do the right thing. What's the right thing? I don't know. Well look around, find out what seems to be the right thing around here. [Laughter]

You understand? And you get everyone doing that, you have a whole church culture where everyone's looking to do the right thing - whatever the right thing is. God doesn't call us that way, He calls us to do things that bring life and it doesn't matter whether you think it's right or not. Its irrelevant see, so you can't be spontaneous if you're controlled and correct. Of course you know, a person who's like that, they'll give out their affection and praise in a very measured amount: I'll give it if you deserve it. You don't deserve it, so I'll withhold it. You understand that, because that's been their experience; I'm loved if I perform. If I don't perform I'm not loved, so that's how I dish things out to the world. But you know that's not the biblical perspective. God is a God of love, I'm made in His image, I'm a loving person. I love because I love, not because you deserve it.

You get this in the church [unclear 00.25.52] huge issues. A lot of people have this kind of thing going on in their life, and of course if you don't perform right they give you the cold shoulder; you don't meet what I want. So you get the silent treatment, the cold shoulder. In a marriage they withhold sex until you do what I want you to do. That makes a person a prostitute because I'll give you sex if you do what I want you to do. That's humiliating and demeaning to the person who operates that way, and they feel defiled by it. This is a strong culture, it's a strong thing in the culture and of course when it gets into church you have a huge issue when it gets into church. Of course you've got to understand this when you're working with children. You know when you work with children, I've been into schools and it was so - religious schools - so tight I thought I could never send my kids there.

I'd rather they went to a secular school than be exposed to this thing, because it'll destroy them. It'll destroy their soul, but you see because a religious spirit is the worst kind. So a religious spirit is something which is trying to please God, but see true Christianity, God has already done the thing that pleased and we've just got to trust it so now we're free to be ourselves. So we're FREE! Ha ha! Ooh, [unclear 00.27.09]. Thank God I don't have to perform, you know? Like I've been living out of something someone else did for me, not my own performance, and so when you've got that kind of environment - of course you've got to understand in a home, in a home one of the things that builds a great home is when you have a lot of laughter together because it's hard to be controlled and laugh at the same time. [Laughter, applause]

Let it out, a great hearty laugh [laughs] and you know there's something free about that that people like. See, not much laughter around the home? Boy, she's tight - and then if it's not much laughter and it's all controlled do you know what happens? A kids spirit gets shut down inside and they get - you know what? They don't believe - this is what they believe in their heart: I can't be myself in this environment. I can't share my feelings and my feelings are part of me; I can't share my thoughts, my thoughts are part of me, because the moment I do they'll say you're not to think like that. You shouldn't feel that way. In our family we don't do those kinds of things. Now you understand that kind of environment crushes kids and raises them to be performers and they're really insecure. When there's laughter and affection and people are accepted and mistakes are not you know, dwelt on [unclear 00.28.16]. Listen, get over it. Come on, it's a light thing. Little kids make mistakes you know?

But you see if your identity's tied up in the kid performing perfectly, you're going to require something of them that crushes their spirit. Love and laughter and affirmation, that creates a healthy environment for everyone - including me. [Laughs] I love it - so of course when people get into church, of course now OH NO! I've got all these new things I've got to do! [Laughter] It was hard before and it's terrible now! [Laughter] Now God, I must do this and I mustn't do that, and I have to do this and I can't do that, oh! And that's people's concept of Christianity. You talk to unsaved people, their concept is you can't do this, you can't do that, you have to do this, you have to do that. Listen, I don't have to do anything. Because I love the Lord I do the things that please Him. They're part of who I am. You getting the idea?

So the Pharisees were like that and of course when there's people like that they're striving to be perfect all the time. They're full of guilt and full of striving - and they're full of envy. They look around, you know they're watching what everyone else is doing; who did the pastor talk to? He didn't talk to me. [Laughter] What does that mean? It means he favours this one, doesn't favour me. They get all screwed up inside on it. [Laughter] He looked at me, he didn't say anything. What does that mean? [Laughter] It didn't mean anything; he was thinking about something else, that's all it means. Came in and I said hello and he didn't say hello, just walked straight past me. What does that mean? [Laughter] He hates me, I know it. I knew it. I've always known he hates me. [Laughter] No, no, he was thinking about something else. He just walked on by and never heard a word.

Come on, you've got to understand, this is stuff that goes on with people when they're insecure inside and it's because they're watching everyone, they're comparing, envy, someone gets something - I didn't get that. How come I didn't get that? Why do they get it? They don't deserve it. Well maybe they just got it not because they deserved, but because someone was generous. God is generous. He doesn't give things because you deserve it, He gives it because He's generous. Yee aah! Well I paid my tithe, God's got to give me - God doesn't operate like that! I'm glad God's saved me, my finance [was His hands so 00.30.23] so I'm glad to give, and God is glad to bless me. But the moment you get into this performance thing you come under the law and it becomes miserable and legalistic and people can't trust God, they can't be spontaneous. They're shut down.

I've been into some churches and I look and I think oh my God, this is disastrous. There's one place I would never be if I was in this city was that church there. [Laughter] I would die. The first thing I want to do is get them to laugh. [Unclear 00.30.49] we came here in the beginning, 40 - when I turned 40 we started this church here and the first thing we had to do was start to have a party because everyone was serious and miserable. [Laughter] Had to learn how to laugh and have fun. Laughter and fun are part of the kingdom of God. We're called to have joy in the Holy Ghost. [Unclear 00.31.04] It's not helpful for you - so the Pharisees were like that. The Pharisees lived that way, and Jesus said here's your problem. You're concerned about every little performance of the law, this done right, that done right, this done right. But you miss everything that's really important to God, which is on the heart and on the inside. You miss the whole deal.

The Pharisees were full of performance orientation because their identity, I am a godly man because I do all these good things. Actually the truth is I'm a godly man because I trusted in Jesus Christ. If any man is in Christ he's a new creation! So I'm a new creation! Well I still do some goofy things. Well that doesn't mean I'm a goofy person. It just means I haven't yet grown up into the fullness of the identity I have in Christ. I'm a generous person because God is a generous God! Generosity's in me. I'm a bit mean and miserable sometimes. That means I just haven't grown up into the fullness of what God has of abundance of generosity, because I've got some fears and brokenness and damage I need to sort out. Well I am holy! You don't look holy to me. [Laughter] I know you're not holy, I saw what you did. [Laughter] That wasn't a holy thing at all. You're right, but I am holy because God is holy and I'm in His image. I'm just learning to live up to it.

Thank you for pointing out [laughter] but I'm still holy - not because of that thing but because God says it. He says be holy, He doesn't say do holy things. Do lots of holy things and you'll be a holy person. He says you are holy, now live up to it! Spirit of holiness is in your life, let the spirit of God begin to identify with the new man you are! In 2 Corinthians 5:17, any man who's in Christ, he is a new creation. That's what it means to be born again! You're sinning, you're living a life without God, you're struggling, victim mentality - oh, poor me! Poor me! Oh there's so many bad things, always bad things. And then you - performance, I've got to do things to be accepted. Then you come to Christ; what have I got to do to be saved? Repent and believe! There must be more to it than that? No, religion's more to it than that. This is what Christianity is. Repent and believe! Now be baptised! Why do I need to get baptised? Because you need to acknowledge the realities of what's happened in you.

Your old identity, your sin in living without God finish. Now you rise up and you get immersed in the Holy Ghost. You've got a new life you're living and you know what? We called a new name on you. We called on you the name of Christ. You are a Christian, a Christ follower. Live up to it! Live up to it! So now I have to discover who I am and begin to live that life - so what's happening while I'm discovering? I have all kinds of things go wrong on the way, all kinds of immaturity, all kinds of mistakes, all kinds of failures. It doesn't matter, because God said it's okay and made provision for all of those. You're a believer and a Christian not because of those things happening or not happening. It's because I've already given you the gift of love. Now I want you to discover who you are. Who are you? Who are you now? I don't know who I am, I think I'm a failure still.

Why do you think you're a failure? Well I look at all this stuff. Listen, learn how to walk with the Spirit, walk in the principles of God and your life will be surrounded. You're already a success. God designed you for success. Start saying it; I'm a success in life. I'm a success because of one thing. I've discovered the God who made me and I'm linked to Him for eternity. I don't worry about what you think about my life. I'm only concerned about what God is saying about my life and if you're speaking on His behalf then I'm really concerned. Getting the idea? So what does God say? He says I'm generous. I'm holy. I'm a child of God. What does that mean? I need to understand what that means and live it. Then when you go out I'm an ambassador, [well that sounds 00.35.20] important. Now you see before I was thinking I'm a victim. Now God says no, you're an over comer. But I don't feel like an over comer.

It's not about what you feel. But look, I've got things going wrong. It's not about what's happening around you. I HAVE MADE YOU THAT! BELIEVE IT! STAND UP and learn how to live in it and get rid of the junky thinking inside. Start to live out what I've called you to become! As you walk in the Spirit and as you begin to express what I'm like, then it establishes your identity who you are. Otherwise you just live out of the old and you're trying hard to be new, and that's where so many believers live in defeat. They're trying to be a better person. You're trying to do God's work for Him. He didn't tell you to be a better person, He said I made you a better person, believe it. Live it. I made you generous. Well I don't - I'm not - well that's because you've got some bondages in your life, but that's not who you are. In fact have you noticed that when you're like that and your money's tight and you can't [unclear 00.36.27], have you noticed how miserable you are and how closed up you are and your life is not so good?

You notice, because you're not living who you are. Who you are is generous! I love what Anna said: I love to give! It's fun to give! See, she's living out of being a giver. Oh, well what did God do for me this week? Maybe I'll give Him something. Listen, no, I'm a giver, that's who I am. That's why I give, because I am. My identity is that, therefore I do. My identity is this, therefore I do. My identity is I'm a child of God, therefore I talk to Him daily. My identity is an ambassador, so therefore I'm concerned about how I represent Him. It's because of who I am, not because of what you think, because there'll be times when you represent Christ and everyone hates you and turns on you - but you're still a wonderful person identified with Christ, His ambassador. Huh! See, so if you've got an issue with performance orientation here's a couple of things.

Number one, you need to acknowledge it's a disease that infects your whole life and relationships, because not only do you evaluate your identity on what you do; you evaluate everyone else the same way and it infects your relationships. You need to recognise it's a cancer of the soul. It is a cancer of the soul that eats out true faith and true identity. The first thing, I've got to acknowledge it and start to look how I'm behaving. The second thing I need to do is I need to actually repent of it. I need to come to face the unbelief in my heart. I haven't believed I'm accepted, I reckon I've got to do something to get there see? And I listen to people's language: how are you getting on? Oh, I'm getting there. I've arrived, I'm just enjoying the journey. [Laughs] Where are you getting? Well implicit in that statement 'I'm getting there' is I've got all these things I've got to try and get over and overcome and change and shift. Why can't you just enjoy being who you are and enjoy the journey?

So we've got to believe, and so that means I've got to change the beliefs in my heart, I've got abandon, repent and abandon the belief systems that keep me performing to get approval, performing to get accepted. We've got to abandon that stuff, so it may take a little time to figure out what you believe, and then you start to repent of it. The third thing is you actually need to acknowledge that because you've lived that way you are very resentful and angry inside. Oh, no I'm not. [Laughter] I tell you what'll flush it up: someone else getting really, I mean really, really blessed and they don't deserve it. It'll flush it up in you. That's why - the Prodigal Son. The son come home, he's wasted all his money, wasted his life; Oh dad, I'm sorry. Dad just loves him and blesses him, gives him a party - and the other son is furious! Hssss [laughter] resentful and angry. And notice when his dad comes out to talk to him what he says.

Well, I've served you all this time. I've never gone out and done this wild party living. You've never done this for me! You've never acknowledged me. You've never thanked me and appreciated me. I've been the good son instead of the bad son! Then this rotten son of yours, I'm - he's nothing to do with me! He's your son. He's come back and now you put a party on. What is up with you?! You understand, this man is totally oriented to performance and it always brings resentment and anger and religiosity. He was there, he could had everything. He never had it because of his attitude. He never understood the father's heart. The father said everything I've got is yours, why didn't you ask for something? I thought I had to work for it. There's your trouble.

Father in heaven, we just thank You right now, You're a God who's a gracious God, a loving God, oh a God who loves people. Oh Halleluiah, I just thank You love people. Jesus was declared by His enemies to be the friend of sinners. I want to be that kind of person Lord, I am that kind of person in You, in Christ. I'm a friend of God and I'm a friend of sinners. Father, I just thank You what You're showing us at this time about becoming really understanding and believing in our hearts who we are. Father, I pray for every person here that's struggling with this issue. I wonder if there's anyone here today and you're not yet a Christian, have never given your life to Christ. You're struggling as a broken person in the world without God, no sense of destiny, where your eternal purpose is; no sense of understanding of God's love for you and a relationship you could have with Him, so you're trying hard to look good.

It's hard work looking good. It's real hard work having an image. Why don't you just come to the Lord and He'll just receive you. The Bible says everyone who comes to Jesus Christ, who puts their trust in Him, believes in Him, receives Him as their Saviour, He welcomes them. He's your friend, but you can make Him your friend by acknowledging what He's done and committing your life to Him. Is there any person here today, you say I want to give my life to Jesus, want to become a Christian? Why don't you raise your hand right now, just let me know, I want to become a Christian, I want to give my life to Jesus. Anyone here, put your hand up, say man this is my day, I want to give my life to Jesus. Is there anyone here who'll give their life to Jesus, ready, right at that point? I wonder if there are other people here today and you're wrestling with this performance orientation. If you were to be honest you'd say man, this is me. This is me! I've got a problem in my life.

I wonder if you'd just acknowledge it before God today, say Lord, You're speaking to me. Too much of my identity is attached to what I do. I get insecure when people give me feedback. I get upset when they talk about things I've done. I just am watching all the time what others are going through and what's happened to them and comparing myself. I've got all these things going on inside me Lord, and I need to repent of that whole framework and belief system and begin to renew my mind. If that's you why don't you just raise your hand, say God's speaking to me today. God bless, many hands going up, many hands. Many hands, many hands. Remember what the keys are. The first step is recognising it; second is repenting, just repenting of the belief system. Third is letting go the resentment and anger and forgiving people. The final one is that you've got to learn to embrace the word of God.

I'm going to share that in another session, how to get God's word around your heart and begin to establish your identity soundly, strongly, in who I am in Christ. I am a child of God. I am the servant of the Lord. I am an ambassador of Christ. I am a new creation. I am holy - and then we need to learn to live [up. 00.43.07] Father, I thank You for each one that's responded. Father, let there be right now in Jesus' name, I speak and I break that spirit of fear and control that dominates their life. I break the power of that orientation around their life to try and perform to get approval. Father, I ask for the power of Your Spirit to come around each one and to begin to shift them so they can be free to be who they are, able to be spontaneous, able to love and to receive love, able to give and receive gifts, able to enjoy the journey because they're secure in who they are.

And Jesus we give You all the honour and all the glory. We thank You, You've welcomed us. We thank You, we don't have to listen to that Pharisee spirit. We don't have to listen to that accusing, blaming, self-righteous spirit. We don't have to tolerate it in any way! We can be ourselves, oh ho ho ho! Thank You Lord. Thank You for Your goodness. You say amen to that. [Amen] Come on, let's give the Lord a great clap! Whoa! [Applause] Come on, let's stand up, let's celebrate. This God we serve is a great God! [Music to end] Halleluiah!

[File ends 00.44.23]

Establishing your Identity in Christ (4 of 4)  

Sun 22 Jun 2008 AM « Back to Top

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Establishing your Identity in Christ  (4 of 4)

Establishing Your Identity in Christ (4 of 4) Mike Connell 22.06.2008 am

Okay, I wonder if you can open your Bible, Proverbs 23:7. I want to finish the series I began a little while ago and I've got to finish it by giving you some practical keys, so I want to get there and we're just going to quickly pick up what we've been doing. We've been looking at our identity in Christ, your identity, your identity and it's part of what the Lord was talking to us about through the year. Proverbs 23:7, as a man thinks in his heart so he is. Today I want to just talk about establishing your identity in Christ, who am I? We saw in this verse here, let's just summarise some things we've done over the last couple of weeks so we get to the new things - and first thing we looked at, Proverbs 23:7 tells us as a man thinks in his heart. What you believe in your heart about yourself will determine how you live your life. Make no mistake about it; the way you see yourself affects the way you live.

Even in the secular world they talk about self-image, the way you see yourself, the way you view yourself. That actually affects the way you relate, the way you connect. It affects your expectations, it affects the way you connect with people, so how you see yourself. If you see yourself as a person with nothing to give you won't front up to give. You'll always stand back in the crowd and always be a little unhappy someone else stood up and did something. If you see yourself as being uneducated, therefore you can't contribute, this is actually a lie and many people who are not educated are great achievers in life. You understand? But if you get the message while you're at school I'm a dummy, I can't do anything, and you begin to believe that it's going to affect your performance all through your life.

I prayed for a young man who had been rejected totally by his father, totally abused by his father, got involved in homosexual activities and he got a massive deliverance. Actually it was on the floor of a restaurant. I was up there in this restaurant and he gave his testimony and I was really deeply touched by his testimony and I thought I'd like to pray for him. So I got my hands on him and prayed for him and actually gave him a big hug. I held onto him and gave him a big hug, such a non-homosexual hug [laughter] and a big hug, a big father hug and held him. I held him and he just began to break and weep. He wept and wept and wept and then we just cast these demons out of him. Well the staff were just astonished. This guy's rolling around the floor and these demons coming out of him, and afterwards just totally clean. But you see his mind had been shaped, the way he saw himself and he just needed to get free.

I had another young guy in a church just recently and he also had had a similar background. He just said in his heart, he said I just want the pastor to hug me and I hugged [unclear 00.02.46] going on praying for people. I saw this one guy, just gave him a big hug and held him, he began to weep. I didn't know what it was. Later on he said God had touched and set him free, just like that. See, but these people saw themselves in a certain way, so how you see yourself is going to affect how you live your life. How you see yourself will affect how you live your life and we saw that people defined themselves in a whole number of ways; by our name: who are you? Oh well I'm Mike. We define ourselves by our name, we define ourselves by where we've come from, I come from this family line. We define ourselves by our race, I'm a Kiwi or I'm an Irishman or I'm a Maori or I'm a Cook Islander.

We define ourselves by gender; I'm a woman, I'm a man - and if we're not sure, well I don't know you know? I'm in between. [Laughs] But if you're uncertain, boy it's certain you're going to put some vibes out there that people will pick up. So we define ourselves in a whole number of ways and we saw also people define themselves by the experiences they've had. So if they've had a lot of failure experiences and they believe I am a failure, then what happens is they begin to live their life out according to that and they fail repeatedly. We saw also that if people had experienced abuse, injustice or whatever and they began to believe I'm a victim, I'm powerless, I can't help myself; then what happens is they begin to then be victimised all through life. That's why young women who have been abused tend to attract into their life men who abuse them - until the issue is resolved. When the young girl gets a different view of herself, then she'll attract a different kind of guy in.

That's why you've got to be made whole. You don't want to hang around - in fact if you've been abused don't think of entering into romantic relationships until you've resolved your baggage. You're bringing your baggage in, you've got a bad future ahead of you. At some point it'll come up and you'll have to resolve it. What I have noticed is people who see themselves as being a victim of abuse tend to attract into their life people who will abuse them. It's just like until it's resolved you're like a magnet for this stuff. That's why you have to change, we have to renew how we think about ourself and even you notice in Uganda when the woman saw themselves in a certain way. Just getting the truth that actually a woman is a minister of God sets them free. Now they start to think, I can do that kind of stuff. So many of the ways we see ourself are shaped by our family background, our culture, the community we're in. All kinds of things affect it.

So we're wanting to move from that and to look at how we get established in Christ. So the first thing we talked about was how God defines us according to His purpose, so when we looked at Jesus we found in Matthew He shall be called Jesus for He will save His people from their sins. So when God brings a person into the earth He has a purpose for our life, so He wants you to see yourself in terms of your relationship with Him and what you're called to do with your life and destiny. You're an important person. You're an important person. Jesus, when He was baptised, the father spoke to Him: this is My beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased. So He received His identity by revelation. He was who the Father said He was. Now people from His hometown said that's just Jesus, the carpenter. He said no, I'm Jesus, the Saviour, and so He lived His life out of revelation of who God said He was.

Those who related to Him according to Him being Jesus, the carpenter, He couldn't touch their life at all. He couldn't receive any miracles, and hence you see the problem. If we view ourselves according to the way the world's described us we can't live out what God called us to be. If you view other people according to a natural way you've seen them, according to where they've come from, what family they're in, you will confine them and they won't be released to be who they are. Sitting next to you is someone waiting for their potential to be released. Are you going to confine them by your expectations, or are you going to help them become who they were called to be? Church community is to be a community where we call people forth into who God has called them to be. You don't have to make people anything; we have to find out what God has called them to be and help them become it.

You can see it's quite different, as we get to the end of this you'll see this. So you notice then Jesus was incredibly secure in His identity. In John 13 it says in verses 1, 2 and 3, somewhere around about there, he said Jesus knew where He came from. He knew where He was going, He knew what the Father had given Him, and do you know what He could do? He could serve. He wasn't worried about position, wasn't worried about title, wasn't worried about privilege. This is important to lots of people - wasn't important to Jesus at all. He took up the lowliest job and washed their feet. He said I'm your master and I can do this. You guys can do it too. In other words because His identity was secure He could have any position, status anywhere; His life was not found in those things. Life was not found in His money, not found in property, it's not found in His position, not found in His title. It's found this is who I am, for the Father told Me so and so He could lay His life down.

If you're not sure who you are you'll look for people around you to affirm it. You'll try and find your identity outside yourself, when actually you need to find it inside yourself by hearing what God has to say about you. I don't care what the authorities say about you. What does God say about you? I don't care what your past friends have said about you, what does God say about you? That's your potential. That's who you can be. Most people will only know where you've been, but God knows where you could go and so we see in the Bible as we - remember, we looked at this. We looked at various people, how God spoke to them. God speaks into us and sometimes He changed the names of people, because He wanted them to get a different picture so they can fully embrace the call of God. For example Abraham; we saw his name was originally Abram and God changed his name to Abraham so everywhere he went they'd say who are you? Oh, I'm the father of nations. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're an old fella, where's the nations you know? Where's the father thing you know?

But he had to actually present himself as I am this. I am this. Well we don't agree with that, we don't see any kids. I don't care whether you see any kids, I am this because God said so. The Bible says in Romans 4:17, God calls things that be not as though they are, so before He was physically a father God called him a father and he agreed with God and he called himself a father. This is part of the way faith operates; you don't try and work hard to become something. You find out what God says you are and begin to embrace that until you actually grow into it. There's a huge difference; one, people are striving to become something, and the other, you're beginning to understand who you are and then embrace how you live that out. You'll see this is incredibly important when it comes to your Christian walk, because you're either trying to become someone - I ask the question how are you doing? I'm getting there. I think you've got a problem, because you've got some imaginary place you're wanting to get when actually what you need to know is be rested, I am already acceptable in Christ. I'm growing up and working it out.

I'm discovering more and more about who God called me to be and what He called me to do, see? So Gideon, Gideon, you mighty man of valour! He said what? What? Where? Listen, I'm only the youngest in the family. So you understand that over and over again in the Bible God spoke to people according to what He had called them to be and to do. Simon - Simon, you're going to be called Peter, the rock. James and John, it says Jesus called them another name, sons of thunder because you're going to up heave the place everywhere! So sometimes in the Bible God renamed people in order for them to get fixed in their mind this is who I am as I walk with God. Otherwise you're living out of who everyone else said you were as you grew up and that's where most people live. They live out of their background, their past, their concepts, their beliefs, instead of actually making it a life pursuit to discover what does God say about me. Who am I?

Only the One who made you knows who you are and what lies inside you, what dreams are in there, what hopes are in there, what possibilities are in there. There's no one around you can tell you that. The One who created you can tell you that, but you've got to stop trying to be someone else and actually discover what does God say about me. That's what is going to be the foundation of my life. This is who I am. I am who God says I am. I am forgiven. I am loved. I am redeemed. I am blessed. It's got nothing to do with anything outside me; this is what God says. I'll live out of what God says - and that's how Jesus said you've got to live your life. The devil came to Him; if you are this then prove it, do something. He said man shall live not by bread alone, every word I live by what God says. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. You understand, because I live out of what the Father says about me. That's a really important thing to get a hold of, a major, major thing.

Now when you embrace your identity in Christ you become free then to actually connect with people, because you don't have to build a mask around you. You can be who you are. When you become secure in your identity who you are, you can actually then become quite creative because you don't have to copy anyone. You can be an original. When you become free in your identity and who you are you can connect with people without a mask; you can be creative and you can be quite confident because you're not being someone else, you're being you. What a liberating thing that is! Not trying to be someone else. One of the big pressures young people face is trying to be someone else, so the Bible says a lot of things about us. Let me read you a couple of scriptures, then I want to show you who we are in Christ and how we establish it in our life. Here's a couple of scriptures.

In 1 John 3:1-2, Beloved, now we are the children of God! See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of God! Now beloved we are. Who are we? We are the children of God. It does not appear what we shall be. In other words no one can see what you're really like - but when He appears we shall be like Him, but we shall see Him as He is. So clearly it tells me I'm a child of God, I'm growing and I will come to a place of maturity just being like Christ. That's what God has in mind, wants you to actually have the character in life of His Son, being a true Christian [laughs] instead of a copy. Okay, so there's a simple scripture. Look at 1 John 4:17. The Bible says as He is - what is Jesus like right now? As He is, so are we in the world now. I pray that one over me regularly; Lord, as You are, so I am in the world now, so I begin to declare what He's like. His nature, His characteristics are in me and flow through me, because the Bible says it. As He is, so am I now.

Well I don't feel like that. Hey, it's got nothing to do with feelings. Your feelings and everything around you will change if your heart belief will change. Got to work on the heart belief system see? Okay, I want you to have a look with me in 2 Corinthians 5. So the Bible tells us many things about who are. You've got a job to discover it, otherwise you're only who people say you are and who you think you are, but God says there's much more to you than that, much, much more to you than that. You are His workmanship, God's working on you, fine piece and master of art. You're His workmanship. You're His servant. Do you see yourself as a servant of God? You're a minister of God. Do you see yourself as a minister of God? Wherever you go you can bring God to people; do you see that? Do you believe that? If you believe that then of course you'll want to be equipped on how you can move in the spirit of God to bring God to people, because that's who you are. You do that kind of thing.

Let's have a look in 2 Corinthians 5. I want to read a few verses here and we'll pick it up in verse 14. For the love of Christ motivates us, because we judge that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. I reckon if someone gave you $1 million you'd feel very indebted to them for helping you. What if someone laid His life down for you? You'd feel quite indebted to respond. Okay, it says from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we've known Christ according to the flesh, we know Him this way no longer. Notice that - from now on we no man after the flesh. I'll tell you what that means in a moment - therefore if anyone is in Christ he's a new creation; old things have passed away and behold, everything has become new. I've got a problem straight away because it doesn't feel like everything's become new.

Now let's just go through it, and then it says then we are ambassadors for Christ. I want to go through a few things in here and show you. Notice what the Bible tells us, it says we have new motivation when you become born again. The new motivation, it says now the love of Christ compels me forward. I'm not doing things because I have to any more, not doing things because it's the right thing to do any more; I'm doing things because I'm loved by God and the love makes me want to do stuff. See, the love of Christ constrains or motivates or harnesses my life. I want to do things I never wanted to do before. Before you came to the Lord you're selfish. That was the old you. The new you is generous. Have you caught up with who the new you is yet, or are you still living the old one? So you notice the first thing is we've got a new motivation in the love of Christ. Notice the second thing here, it says we no longer live for ourselves, so we've got a new centre of living.

So we're no longer self-centred now. We're thinking man, I want to live my life for the Lord. I want to please the Lord. I've got someone who loves me, committed to me! I want to serve Him! I want to so connect with Him that my life makes a difference, otherwise I don't think that way, I'm thinking like I used to live. It's just what's in this for me, see? So [we no longer 00.17.14] live for ourselves. Notice a couple of other things here; got a new perspective and it says before, from now on we know no one after the flesh, got a new perspective on people. Now what does it mean to know someone after the flesh? It means when you look at people you start to look at them differently, so when you're born again you start to look at people differently. You don't look at them and say how much money this man's got, or what job he's got or whether he's white or black or brown or yellow. We're not looking at whether it's a male or a female. We now see people differently.

The problem is of course if you don't realise that you see people differently you're just going to relate to them the way you used to, out of prejudice and attitudes. But you see if I'm motivated by the love of God now, and if I actually start to look at people differently I see this is a lovely person that God created to represent Him. This is my brother, this is someone in the family of God. I'm not worried whether he's the mayor of town or whether he's got some great position or some great influence or income. That's got nothing to do with anything. We're not to know people after the flesh. To know them after the flesh means you judge people and you put them into ranks of social status; this is high up, this is low down; moneyed status, this is rich, this is poor, or positional status or racial status or gender status. Said in Christ all of those things have gone, because God doesn't see us that way. It's time I caught up in my thinking and look at people differently.

The new me sees people like Jesus sees them, as immensely valuable people, eternal beings. So if you just start to look at people as whether they can get you ahead you'll just be the same old person you used to be. You'll say you're a Christian, come to church, but you're living out of someone you used to be, not out of who you are now. This is the [dilemma. 00.19.04] I want to show you how you can shift on the inside in that area, so the Bible says henceforth we know no man after the flesh, but you know people after the spirit. In other words you can feel something about them the moment you meet them. You can weigh them up, you can sense where they're at, you begin to feel the person's flow of spirit. You can sense when they've got walls up, you can sense things about them. Why? Because I'm knowing people after the spirit now. That's a whole new way of living, of learning to relate to people after the spirit.

There are no old people, young people, rich people, poor people, Jew people, Gentile people. There's all just one kind of people. These are valuable representatives of God and I need to learn how to love them; old and young, black and - whatever colour, see? And you understand that old mentalities will stop you doing that. We've got to upgrade our thinking how we see people, otherwise you'll see well that's women, women don't do that. Well who said? Where did you get that idea from? Well that's a man, men do that. Where did you get that idea from? Why don't you see people in the spirit? Why don't you see them according to the way God sees them, which is according to their new identity in Him, a child of God with enormous potential? If you saw people that way you wouldn't talk against them, judge them, find fault with them, look at the outside and judge them according to appearances.

How can you judge people according to appearance? You've got no idea what's going on and you've got no idea what motivates them. The only way you'll ever find out is if you don't judge them on the outside; you let God show you things and you listen to what God says about them. It's one of the hardest things of all to do is to withhold judging people, just not to judge them, just hold it until God has given you some insight. Okay, so we're getting on - now notice what it says here about our new identity. We're getting to it now. If anyone is in Christ he is totally new. I like that. Old things, all of them are gone away. They're passed away, meaning they're dead. He passed away means he died. The old things passed away. Notice it says behold, all things have become new. Now of course when you look - I used to look at that scripture and think oh man, that's a tricky one because I don't feel like it and I definitely don't live like it, so what's the deal here?

God saying I'm a new creation means when I'm born again I got a total renovation on the inside of the house, a fresh start. Therefore the Spirit of God coming into me gives you and me a fresh start, and now the Bible says behold or take a look at this! But all the old stuff's passing away and there's new things are coming into your life. Get the picture? You see if you don't get the picture that having come to Christ, that everything old passes away and now new things are coming into your life, you're going to live out of the old instead of embracing the new. And He says behold, get a grip on it, get a vision of it, get a picture of it that old things - old things means the selfish way of running your life, self-centred, self-sufficient, just the way of relating to God and to people and to life. It's all gone away. He said behold, new things have started.

Now the problem is even though God has practically and legally made all things new, it's not my experience until I start to make it mine. So for example when Jesus died on the cross all men potentially could be saved and go to heaven, but only those who actually make a response to Him by faith. Then they're born again, they receive Jesus as Saviour, sins are forgiven. Now we're positioned for a life of becoming a new person. In God's eyes He said everything is changed. This is a new person. It's a child of God that was a sinner. This is a child of God, this is one of My family now, totally changed. Now have they changed in the way they think? Not so much. Have they changed the way they live their life? Yeah, a little bit. But there's a lot of stuff has not changed yet, so why is it not changed? Because something's required of me. God says everything is passed away, and now you can be that new person I've called you to be. You need to discover it.

How am I going to do that? I've got to actually begin to discover from the word of God what He says about me, so let's have a look in Ephesians 4:22. This is what He says. Notice it says a very simple thing here. He says put off concerning the way you used to live your life, the old man which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness. Now notice God requires me to cooperate with Him in making some effort here, so He doesn't - even though you're born again and the Spirit of God's come into you on the inside, you've still got old beliefs, old emotions, old struggles, old ways, old habits, but potentially everything is new. You've got to know I am new and begin to throw off - it says put off, like take the garments off that you used to live like and put on new ones.

The key to doing it is you've got to change how you think, be renovated in your mind. So that raises a good question; how do I renovate my mind? How do you renovate your mind? Put off, put on, renovate the mind, renovate your thinking. So if you just understand how your mind works; your mind or your subconscious mind stores up every experience you've ever had, it stores it up, it's all stored in there; the feelings you've had, the painful things, the difficult things, the memories of things you've [had 00.24.33] all stored in there like in a big super filing system. The beliefs you formed, they're all in there too. The judgements you formed, well they're all in there too. The opinions, yes, they're all in there. They're ALL in there, so you've got this huge box inside your subconscious mind, all the things that you've learned over the years and experienced over the years.

Now what are you going to do? Well the way you live your life is no matter what you say or do, as soon as you have an experience it'll trigger off something inside you and you'll act out of the old - unless you decide to change it. This is why so many Christians live defeated, because they don't understand the cooperation required of us in working with God to renew the inside of our heart and mind. If I don't do the work of renewing I just will live out of the way I used to before, same old reactions, same old anger, same old hurt, same old rejection, same old, same old, same old. And yet now I'm trying hard to be a Christian. What a bore! It's too hard. [Laughter] It's too hard. God wants me to relax; this is who I am, now I begin to work with the Holy Spirit as He shows me to process and deal with issues in my life. That's not so hard, not a hard thing to do.

You don't have to try and rack up all the junk and get it all. As you walk through life if you live a reflective life with the Holy Spirit He will show you stuff, and if He doesn't someone around you will point it out to you. Isn't that nice? [Laughter] You've got a bad attitude! Then you've got a chance; oh, I've got a bad attitude. I wonder what is that attitude and what can I do to shift that attitude? Or you can say who do you think you are anyway!? Oh yes, you really have got a bad attitude. You're just responding out of the old ways you used to respond. You haven't actually understood the new man in Christ operates differently. You've got to learn who I am and how to operate my life see? So how am I going to do it? Let me give you four things which are part of the process. I'll just lay them out for you very simply. Number one - and you sort of work on all of these at one time or you could work on any one bit at one time, but it is a part of the process, okay?

So I'll give it to you in four bites, what kinds of things you can do. Remember, it's our responsibility to shift. In Romans 12:2 it says don't be pressured or conform to the way the world does things, or be pushed into a mould so you're like everyone else. Be transformed or go from a [butterfly to a caterpillar 00.26.59] kind of life by being renewed in your mind. So if I'm going to be transformed or change my lifestyle it starts with renovating the mind. Renovation is like this: you go in and you gut the building and you put in the new stuff, so you've got to see what needs to be ripped out first of all you know. Don't just lose your brain. You've got to actually be quite constructive with your mind, so you notice that the first thing I need to do then is I need to resolve past issues which impact my identity. I need to resolve past issues that impact who I am or who I think I am, so for example if you've got victim issues you've got to process the stuff.

If you've got performance issues you've got to process that stuff - so what do you mean by process it? Well you need to actually allow the Holy Spirit to help you remember those painful experiences where you were humiliated or hurt and you began to form beliefs inside. As you remember them you just grieve over them, forgive the people concerned and begin to identify what you believe that needs to change. And it can happen so easily. I was just driving down the road, I was driving - where was I driving? Driving somewhere. I was driving around to a birthday part and I just felt tears come to my eyes. I said what is that [unclear 00.28.17] I'm going to a birthday party, [I might be 00.28.19] happy, not crying! And I felt the Holy Ghost just talk to me, just dropped a thought into my heart. I said can we put it on hold until after the party's over? [Laughter] I'm not going there to have a howlybag at a birthday part, so I went back afterwards, went into my room, began to just pray and then I began to engage and encounter the Lord showed me what He wanted to shift in my life.

The emotions were the first key to get that there was something there needed to be resolved. I was able to just bring it up, allow myself to feel the emotions, find what was going on and then Jesus touched me and the whole belief system shifted in my life. It wasn't so hard at all. It's not hard. It's not hard. I had another situation, I'd just turned the television on and I just caught the end of a movie and there was a bit of music on it. As I listened to the music I started to feel tears. I thought why am I emotional, it's only music, it's a movie? It's an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, [laughter] why have I got emotional? But then I turned it off and I stopped and I thought what does that music remind me of? Suddenly the Holy Ghost showed me exactly what it reminded me of and I began to weep and weep and let go the pain of that situation. Then the Holy Ghost, Lord just appeared to me and just brought comfort to me and shifted the belief system just like that.

It's not hard to renovate on the inside. You've just got to be open to stop controlling it all and engage, this is your stuff. If you're going to renovate the inside you've got to face what's there, even if you don't like it. If there's rot in the woodwork well that's okay, cut it out but don't paint over it for sure. [Laughs] Okay, so number one, you need to resolve past issues see and remember it, grieve over it and identify what you believe and just let it go. The second thing is we need to actually change what we see and what we believe. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 it says this, now beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image. I'll just give you this in a simple language. If you pick a mirror up and put it in front of you and look into it, who do you see? Aye? You see yourself. Is that right? And often when you look up there's spots and wrinkles and I missed a shaving spot there.

You see all the things that are wrong, did you notice? And you try to put them all right. Okay, now notice what the Bible says. Now beholding as in a mirror, what? The glory of the Lord. I need to be looking at what Jesus is like and seeing when I look at it that that's what I'm like. This is the new me! This is who I am! I am like Him! I am like that. I'm a loving person. Focus on your faults, they get out of control. Begin to focus on what you are in Christ, you begin to start to grow. You're a loving person. You're a forgiving person, you're a generous person. Start to see what Jesus is like, begin to meditate. How do you do that? Well very simple: find out what the Bible says about you. That's the first thing. What does God say that Jesus is like? Now I begin to meditate and as I behold Him, begin to fix on Him, I'm thinking that's what I'm like. I'm a generous person, [whoa! Yay! 00.31.25]

You begin to start to personalise the scripture. You make it personal. I am loved and I am a loving person, that's who I am. God is generous to me, I'm a generous person. You begin to look and make Him the focus of your heart. That takes time, you visualise it, imagine what that's like. You begin to repeat that, that's who I am. That's who I am. Oh, that's new to me. I thought I was pretty mean and selfish; turns out no, I'm a new person now. This is who I am! If you keep focussing on all your faults they just get bigger and bigger and bigger. You actually just put them off and focus on what God says you're like now. Let that be the emotional focus of your heart. You begin to picture it, make it personal. You begin to imagine how it feels, you begin to declare it, this is who I am. I am this kind of person. I am a forgiving person. I'm a loving person. I'm a person who walks in the Spirit. I am this. Why am I like that? I saw it in the mirror. I saw God's conforming me to Jesus Christ and that's what He's like, so that's who I am.

God calls the things that be not just like they are right now. Our problem is we remember what we used to be and then we reject what we are now, rather than actually embracing what we are now and then letting your life cooperate and come into alignment with what God says about you now. We try to become something, rather than Jesus says you ARE something, now grow up into it and live it out. Discover what that's like. Discover what it looks like. Begin to think if I'm a loving person what does that look like? How does that work out? If I'm a generous person what does that look like? How - and begin to see yourself living out what Jesus says you're like. It just takes time. Most people won't put in the time, that's what the difficulty is, so their mind remains unrenovated.

Here's another thing you can do, I'll give you two last things. Here's the third thing you can do is to practice positive disclosure. I'll explain what that means. We're not talking about cleaning out your junk and talking your junk to people, but if you're going to become who you are you actually need to own up to some things and make them known, like for example you need to be able to say I like this. I don't like that. I feel this. This is part of who you are. It's time you stopped hiding all that stuff and be a little more honest in talking about things; this is my dream instead of hiding it. This is my goal, this is what I believe I could be and do - but most people keep it all secret. They're ashamed of even bringing the things out. A lot of people are ashamed to talk about what they feel; I feel discouraged today. Well at least you can actually state it, then you can do something about it instead of covering it all over. So positive disclosure's pretty good; this is what I want, this is the help I need. That's positive, that's saying what you need. That's part of being a person.

A lot of people just cover up everything, won't even say I need some help on this. See a part of actually growing in your identity is to be able to disclose those things, and then the last thing is you need to begin to practice doing some different things. You need to practice doing some different things. Two things you can practice being, one is joyful and the other is generous. See, God that we serve is a generous God, a generous God. I can be a generous person, generous with compliments, generous with praise, generous in giving to people. I am that person, and so I give not because I have to, not because someone stood up there and gave an inspiring message. I give because I'm generous. That's who I am you know? You understand? Now that's a whole different deal to being pushed and persuaded and made to become, to do something out of guilt or duty or you're a Christian now, you should be like this. That's a guilt load. Jesus didn't come to give any of that stuff to us.

He says you are a Christian. Don't be condemned if you've got a few funny things and quirks, I know all about them. Just don't be condemned. Just set your mind on the spirit thing, set your mind on things which are godly and you'll walk in the spirit. Will you blow it? Sure you'll blow it, just own up to it and move on. I've already got it all sorted out - but do not live condemned. Do not live forever thinking I'm nobody or I'm nothing, or I'm a failure or I've got a weak or a hopeless Christian life. Listen, how can you have a hopeless Christian life? Listen, you're a believer. You're a [saint 00.35.51] of God, you're a child of the living God. You are loved by your Father. Stand up and begin to live that out. If you fall over just get up again quick, get grace to live your life out. Live out of who you are. You're a forgiven child of God.

Who am I? I'm forgiven. When you fall over you're still a forgiven child of God, so stand up into that and begin to walk back in that again. You'll be amazed how quickly condemnation, accusation just drops off you like water off a duck's back. You don't have to live that way any more, because that's not who you are. You're not a condemned person; you're a vindicated, redeemed person. The Bible says that the redeemed of the Lord say so, say so. I'm redeemed. I'm loved - and not only that, I'm lovable as well. Well you may not think so but it doesn't really matter because my Father told me so. Can you understand? Make God's words your reference point, and other people can signal if you've gone off track a bit but they're not the reference point for where your life is. Make God's words the reference point for your life. He's got only positive things to say about you and if He's got to tell you off He does it so lovingly, just straight, He goes straight into your heart saying I didn't like that. Oh, forgive me [unclear 00.37.06], get back up again and get going again.

Don't stay down, stay up, stay alive! Be joyful in the Holy Ghost! Why? Because the kingdom of heaven is [unclear 00.37.15] God's sons are always joyful. They've got joy in them! God's sons are always generous, they've got generosity in them. Well I don't have much to give. It doesn't matter, just give something. Only got $10 and you give five of them, well that's really generous. [Unclear 00.37.30] you're an abundant giver. You understand? It's like a heart spirit thing. We are the children of God. We're ambassadors in another kingdom. We are something the world hasn't seen yet who we are but oh, we're breaking out and [applause] becoming that! Come on, why don't we stand up and give the Lord a clap! Halleluiah! Oh Lord, we love You! We thank You we're becoming more like You. That's who we are! We're Christ followers! Oh halleluiah! Bold, courageous, full of the Holy Ghost, full of the joy of the Lord! Thank You Lord for all You've made us to be. We honour You Lord!

[File ends 00.38.08]


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