“As he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17c).
Friday of last week and on Monday of this week, I shared something of my testimony concerning my illness and the insight I gained as a consequence concerning our true identity versus an “illness identity.” After reading the message, my wife remarked that the principle I had outlined in the message regarding illness would also apply in any area of bondage. Since then I have received letters in which the writers confirmed that the truth I had shared was applicable to other needs in their lives.
Many of lifeís problems are a consequence of our losing sight of who we are. It is obvious that I am not speaking of our physical or natural identity but rather of who we are in Christ. When we are trapped in any form of bondage, it is because we have developed a concept of who we are that is in conflict with who/what the Word says that we are. This happens because of what we entertain in our though life.
For this reason Paul taught that one should take control of his thought life, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV). When we focus on illness, debt, smoking, drug addiction, anxiety, lust or any other form of debilitating or defeating thought (whether we reluctantly think on it or wholeheartedly entertain it), the creative functions built into our minds go to work creating the very thing we have focused on, thus further entrenches the bondage we already have or creating new ones.
The scripture frequently warns of the imperative we have of our guarding our thoughts and of the consequence of not doing so. The writer of Proverbs said: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV). He also said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23 KJV). What we think will ultimately become what we believe and what we believe determines what we do. What we do establishes our thoughts: Again, the writer of Proverbs said, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3 KJV).
Bondage is a created part of one’s thought life with him being the creator. The key factor of any form of bondage is the identity one accepts as a part of the package. That confirms and establishes the bondage. Bondage and identity go hand in hand. When in some kind of bondage, we will tend to think, “That’s just the way I am. I can’t do anything about it.” We will do what we see ourselves to be. Until we change our view of ourselves, thus accepting a new identity, we will be unable to break the bondage associated with the old identity.
Many feel doomed to live life in light of the poor estimate they have of themselves or view themselves to be in the grip of a debilitating bondage. Regardless of whether it is the way we see ourselves or the way we look at our bondage, we will not be able to advance ourselves or be free until we choose to see ourselves in the light of who Jesus is. Our text for today clearly gives us that point of view: “As he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17c).
When we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we were given a new identity. Our old identity was disposed of on the cross and the new came through the resurrection of Jesus. The solution, then, is to subject our old way of thinking to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and then to live liberated in this world according to how He (Jesus) is NOW! Following are a few hints as to how that might be lived out in our lives.
- Define the particular mindset or area of bondage the keeps you defeated.
- Discover what kind of thoughts that you think in relation to that bondage.
- Determine how the life of Jesus in His resurrected form relates to those thoughts.
- Deal death to the old way of thinking by seeing it on the cross with Christ and it in the grave with Him.
- Deem yourself to be risen with Christ and seated with Him at the right hand of the Father.
- Declare that you are seated in Christ far above all principality, power, dominion and every name that is named in this age and that which is to comeófar above every debilitating thought and bondage.
- Deliberately chose to live your life in light of how Christ is in this world today.
The view you have of Jesus and how He is today, will determine whether you can walk in victory or will continue on in the old “bondage identities.” It is a choice. To have victory we must “Declare those things to be true that are not true so they can be true” (Manley Beasley).