The Devil’s chief assault in our lives is against our identity. He assaults my identity by calling my character and motives into questioning. He uses my behavior as evidence to indict me and convince me I am deserving of judgment and punishment. If he can get me to “go along with him” he begins to divide my house and set me up in opposition to myself. (See II Tim. 2:24-26, OKJ).
For example: Let us take the common label often attached to our identity and used to define us; “I am a sinner”. “I am a sinner” could mean I do bad things, or it could imply I am bad, making it a direct contradiction to what God said when He made us in His image, good and holy.
“I am a sinner”, may accurately describe what I am doing, but it is entirely false in describing who I am. I believe “I am a sinner” because I have seen myself sinning. I may even come to the conclusion that I cannot keep the Ten Commandments. Now some teach that keeping the Law is the fulfillment of the Law, as did the Jews of old.
If you were raised by a group of people of that sect you may even believe that you are already condemned and might as well go away from God because you have failed and will never be able to successfully keep the standard by which we are to judged as righteous. (People raised under this notion of the Gospel are often found wandering in sadness, addicted to some type of comfort aid, and freely admit they are lost entirely, or quite sure their innocence in not recoverable.)
Our identity and sense of goodness has become all wrapped up in our ability to keep the Law. Failing to keep the law is defined as sin, (although the Bible clearly stated that ‘all have sinned’ and fall short of the glory of God and the Law cannot save anyone anyway).Therefore, when I sin, I break the Law. Furthermore, because I have been given a free will, and much of what I “do” was of my own choosing, (it would seem), it is very easy for the devil to hang guilt and blame on me and accuse me of being a sinner.
Because I cannot refute his argument, I am forced to accept it. I cannot lie. I did do it and therefore, I embrace the idea that I am a sinner. If I am a sinner, then logically, to get rid of the sin, I must get rid of myself. This not only cancels out the work of Christ on the Cross, but brings no benefit to the Kingdom of God. Instead, I am pressed with the need take responsibility for my actions. Many times the Enemy’s charges against us are reinforced by those around us much like what was happening with Job. I have been caught in the Devil’s plot to embrace a new identity and begin to sink into the mire of despair. I loose my sense of true self and exchange my divine nature for that bestowed upon me by my Enemy.
I now begin to exchange my true nature, my original divine nature, created in the image of God, as one of His sons or daughters, for the fallen, human nature. “I am a sinner”, therefore, “I am bad”, sits at the top of a long list of faults and short comings that describe my human nature. Satan’s plot against humankind is to get me to believe lies and do wrong things. Then he uses the wrong things I did to convince me I am the sum of all the bad things I do, or that happened to me, or what people have spoken over me.
My divine identity is being overtaken and I am becoming enslaved by, “a slave of,” sin. Notice, the bible never calls us “depraved”, but often refers to us as “enslaved”. These are two entirely different concepts. We have often heard how important it is to separate the sin from the sinner. This is precisely why. Even after I am saved, I will sin, not intentionally, perhaps, but out of ignorance. The process of sanctification, the work done by the Holy Spirit in my life, is not yet finished.
Though we are tempted to accomplish our own righteousness through self control and will power and penance, our efforts are as futile after we are saved as they were before. In I John we are told what to do if we sin as believers. We are to confess it. Simple! Confession is an incredible way to come back into agreement with God and deny the devil access to past contracts we have made with sin.
Even for those of you who would call my attention immediately to Romans 3:10-18 where Paul gives us a very descriptive list of the behaviors of those who do sins, i.e., “None righteous, none who understands, none who seeks after God, gone out of the way, become unprofitable, none who does good, whose bodily members practice deceit, and whose mouths are full of curing and deceit, whose feet run to shed blood, and full of restlessness with no fear of God”, would agree that he is describing behavior, not being.
If it is true that what the heart is full of the mouth speaks, then this is undoubtedly coming out of a darkened, deceived heart. Because, what ultimately IS salvation, but the revelation of Jesus Christ, Who is the Light of the World, to our darkened heart? “…Even when we were dead in sins, (Old KJV), and trespasses, (NKJV), (He) made us alive together with Christ for, by grace, (not works), we have been saved, and raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (See Eph. 2:5-6) Please read the next three verses for the rest of the story of God’s ultimate plan for us.
Mankind was created good, but deceivable. When they were deceived in the Garden, their “foolish heart was darkened” and death, (separation) came into their relationship with God. Their souls and their bodies began to die. Shame “knocked down” their posture. Sin bent their frame, and death began pinching off life flow to their bodies.
Fear stepped in as the chief counsel to their souls, (mind, will, and emotions) and advised them that their behavior, (sin) had gotten them in trouble and it was their fault. Shame covered their identity as children of the King. They hid. They thought their efforts to repair their nakedness, which, had never been a concern to them before, could be remedied by a covering of fig leaves, (good works, better known as religion).
The light in their eye was gone and the hope for the future was blackened. Words cannot describe the horror of the events of that day and the pain and terror it would bring to the human race. Only God knew the severity of the torture and pain His children would now have to endure to be reunited with Him. Only He knew the only remedy would be the death of another son, His Only Begotten.
Let this parable illustrate and give understanding to the King’s children. The King of Life had a son, his cherished, heir to the throne, who journeyed to a far country. He had been sent to a dark and foreign land to learn the ways of his Father, to come to know the love of his Father, and to rely on the word and power of his Father that he might become like his Father and be qualified to share the throne with his Father, and ultimately, to rule and reign with Him forever.
The young son was sent (born into) the Kingdom of Darkness, totally unaware of the plan his Father had authorized, totally unaware of even his own identity as royal heir to the throne. Because trust and obedience were both very important parts of the test of greatness, all revelation and understanding was taken from the child. He knew nothing of his identity or the reason for the test.
The King of Darkness hated the son of the King of Light. He despised the Great King for His goodness and truth and plotted against his son to destroy the heir and hurt the King.
The son was captured by the Darkness and Fear began to feed on his mind. Anxiety bound his heart and Shame stole every sense of honor and goodness from his soul. Death began to grow in his body. The child began to grow old in the weary pursuit of nothing that mattered and soon lost the little glimmer of youth that burned as hope deep inside the core of his being.
He had been captured, and seemingly, lost behind enemy lines. He was thrown into the pit of life where the tormenters of Hell began to reprogram him, psychologically brainwashing him into believing lies. The pit became his reference point for life and his experiences defined his truth. Any thought of escape was soon washed away by the distractions of the daily struggles for survival and the familiarity of the Pit itself. He got used to living in the Pit, and even figured out little ways to make his life in the Pit a little better. He learned to barter and lie and sometimes hurt other pit dwellers to make himself a little more secure and comfortable.
And though his behavior always left him feeling like something was not right, “right” soon became relative and wrong was negotiable. Excuse making and blaming took over, ever present and ready to rearrange the thoughts of his mind and the twinges of his conscience to feel better.
He soon lost all sense of who he was, convinced he could only be the things he did. And though it had never been very clear to him, what life was about, there remained a tiny sense of desire for greatness and a longing for home. His innocence was soon lost and the Pit, with its allegiance to Death, began to convince him of its own merit. He lived everyday in servitude to the counsel of lies and even worked it out in his mind how they could be true.
Until one day, quite suddenly, a Light broke through the clouds, and for a long moment, he realized he did not belong to the Kingdom of Darkness. He had become part of the Kingdom of Light. As he stood in the revelation of the Light, he cried out to the Ruler of Light. The Light showed him his awful condition, how dirty and unkept he had become. It showed him how he hated what he had become and offered him hope and a pathway out of the Kingdom of Darkness, if he was willing to follow.
The way out would only work if he was willing to believe the truth and choose life over death. He was willing. He began following the Light. Others noticed he was changing. Some rejoiced and confided in him that they too had chosen the Light and had become secret agents for the Kingdom of Light even though they were still living in the Pit. They had become warriors for the King of Light.
Almost immediately, the demon tormenters heard of the news of the son’s conversion and his new allegiance to the King of Light. Just as quickly, they began to work to restore their hold on the son. They reminded him of his past sins and his allegiance with them. They even used the old agreements they had made with the fathers of his past who had made agreements with them to try and pull him back under their control.
They worked from within his mind and heart to control his soul. They tried to inject his mind with vague promises and cover him with a spirit of slumber. They stirred up old passions and tried to lure him into new places of deception. They even made the Darkness appear to be the Light.
They intensified their work as the Body of Death worked to take over his flesh and destroy even his physical body. Other spirits confused him on the decision he had made to follow the Light and brought him books filled with laws they said he must do to secure his place in the Kingdom of Light.
But all the while, something wonderful was happening. The Light had come to live inside him and was pushing out the tormenters who controlled his mind and heart. Their programming was being disrupted by the life of the Light The Holy Spirit was giving him new strength and telling him about the true nature of the King of Light and the truth about who he was. He was a descendant of the very King of Light, and, in fact, one of His own sons.
At first the son found it hard to believe it to be true that he was a son of the One True Light. The tormenters tried hard to confuse him and fill his mind with doubt. They bound him with cords of iniquity and shamed him with his past sins. They told him he was stuck with them and any decisions he made apart from them were not legal. But the truth could not be stopped.
Even though the son began to be homesick and despair tried to destroy him, hope continued to grow quietly in his heart. Even when he felt alone, and sometimes, even worse than before he came to the Light, the Spirit never left him. The words of the Spirit told him the Light was his true Father. The words of his Father told him who he really was and what was really going on. The Spirit even told him the real purpose of the Pit.
And as the son reflected on those words they began to transform him into a man of strength as a son of God. The Spirit began to train him in the art of war and equipped with the armor of his Father. He began to do battle with the liars and tear down their strongholds and set others free who were bound by the tormentors of the Pit. His life became consumed with the abiding in the presence of his Father through the Spirit that continued to sustain him and give him boldness and authority over the tormentors until, at last, the great day of coronation came.
The day of the Return was a glorious day. The Light was now at its full strength and the son was absorbed in its warmth. The painful separation was over. The desolation of the Pit was forgotten. The Kingdom of Light gathered him up into its eternal goodness where the son now lives in the beauty of holiness filled and satisfied forever in the love of His Father.
How far have we fallen from the truth of God’s love and care?
How quick have we been to believe lies about His motives, intentions, and actions toward us?
Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, giver of Light and life, lead me into all truth, including the true nature of who I am and who I have been called to be, in YOU.