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Higher Ground – “Our Spiritual Identity” Message from Pastor Robert Stretch

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Over the years, I noticed a common thread that ran through my pastoral counseling.  It was the matter of our spiritual identity.  While many people are busy trying to find themselves, the issue of the believer’s identity was settled by Jesus. He accomplished this through His sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection from the dead.

Each Christ-follower gains a new identity the moment they place their trust in Jesus. But we often forget that we have this new identity or the enemy of our souls seeks to distract us from who we are in Christ.

Here are a few New Testament verses that are a helpful reminder of who the believer truly is.

The follower of Christ becomes a child of God: John 1:12 – “12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name,” It is not what a believer does, but the One they believe in that grants them to right to be children of God. When we forget that we are God’s child by faith, we can easily become destabilized in life.

In addition, the believer belongs to Jesus: 1 Corinthians 3:23 – “ . . . . 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”  It’s a blessing to know that the believer belongs to the Savior.

The believer is also a part of God’s family: Ephesians 2:19 – “19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household . . . “

Because these things are true, the Holy Spirit of God comes to indwell each believer: 1 Corinthians 6:19 – “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Since the third member of the Trinity lives within each child of God, we need to keep watch over what we do and say and think.

The Christ-follower also becomes a new person in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  You and I may struggle with ugly habits like cursing, gossip, and envy, but these are not what Jesus has for His child. 

God also gives the believer strength for living: Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  While the immediate context of this verse deals with the believer’s sharing financially with those in need, the principle is true for many areas of our lives. The reason we often struggle is that we think we need to live life by our own strength. We do not. We can draw on God’s strength instead of ours.

Several years ago, I awoke on a Sunday morning with the beginning of a royal sinus infection.  It was 7:00 am on a Sunday. Who could I get to fill in at that late hour? I asked the Lord for help and informed the church leadership that I would arrive right in time for the sermon. As I stepped up to the lectern, I closed my eyes and prayed again silently for the Spirit’s help.

As I left, I was certain I had delivered a hash of a sermon to the folks gathered. Later that afternoon, I awoke from a nap to find several encouraging text messages. One person told me, “That was one of your better sermons!”  I was shocked, but I assure you it was the Lord and not I. That taught me an important lesson. Jesus Christ will accomplish much through His children if we let Him.

Pastor Robert Stretch (Retired, former pastor at Faith Evangelical Bible Church in Henderson)