Healthy Leaders


Enduring Well: Identity in Christ

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

This is part 2 of a 5 part series on enduring through suffering by building resilience.

Part 1 – Enduring Well: Four Ways to Build Resilience
Part 3 – Enduring Well: True Perspective
Part 4 – Enduring Well: Faith
Part 5 – Enduring Well: Responsibility

The lie says, “I have failed. I am a failure.” This condemnation is always echoed by the devil’s voice internally and sometimes by the voices of other people around us. The truth, however, says, “I have failed. But I am in Christ and, by His grace, I will overcome!”

Paul leads us through a beautiful and powerful understanding of our union with Christ in Romans 8. He begins the chapter with our complete forgiveness in Christ:

…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Rom. 8:1)

And he closes the chapter with our absolute victory in Christ:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:31-39)

Because of who we are in Christ, nothing can overcome us. If we inwardly look at God, we will not fail!

Peter, the apostle, failed miserably when he denied Jesus three times on the night of Jesus’ betrayal. Can you imagine what he faced internally after that? But Peter didn’t wallow in self-condemnation. He repented, got back up on his feet, and headed back into the battle! Then, several months later, on the Day of Pentecost, 3000 were saved and the New Testament church that would change the world was birthed!

Identify other biblical characters who could have been tempted to give up because of their own failures, and yet they pushed through, looking at God with surrender and trust, and eventually saw great success. Specifically, what did they do to overcome self-condemnation? What were the results?

True identity in Christ does not deny our frequent failures but it deals with them differently. In ourselves, we will fail and deserve condemnation. But we are in Christ. The solution is not denying the fact that we have failed. Neither is it rallying more will-power so that, by our own strength, we won’t ever fail again. We must inwardly turn to God and the truth of His Word. Paul wrote:

I can do all this through Him [Christ] who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13)

The biblical reality is that in Christ, “we are more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37)!

The power to change is not in us. The power is in Him, and He is in us. Look at Him and as you look at Him you will be changed by His Spirit from glory to glory.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)

Moreover, because we have been forgiven in Christ we can and must forgive those who have wronged us – including the very people who may have provided the suffering for us!

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”… (Luke 23:34)

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59-60)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matt. 6:14-15)

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

… [Love] keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Cor. 13:5)

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col. 3:13)

We’re in Christ, so we’ve been forgiven for all wrongs against God and we forgive all others who have wronged us.

This is the path to healthy thinking and enduring well.

Boldly declare these statements from God’s Word:

You are God’s possession, you are His child, His workmanship. You are His friend, His temple, His vessel, a co-laborer, and His witness. You are a soldier, an ambassador and a building, a temple. You’re his husbandry. You’re a minister and an instrument. You’re His chosen, His beloved, His precious jewel, and His heritage. In Christ, you have been redeemed by blood, set free from sin, set free from Satan, set free from the kingdom of darkness – chosen before the foundation of the world, predestined to be like Jesus, forgiven of all your trespasses, washed in blood, given a sound mind, given the Holy Spirit, adopted into God’s family, justified freely by His grace, given all things pertaining to life, given great and precious promises, given the ministry of reconciliation, given authority over the enemy, given access to God, and given wisdom. In Christ, you are complete, totally in Him, free forever from sin’s power. You’re sanctified. You’re fit for the Master’s use. You’re loved eternally. You’re eternally kept in the palm of His hand. You’re kept from falling, kept by His very power, and not condemned. You’re one with the Lord. You’re on your way to Heaven, quickened by His mighty power, seated in the heavenly places. You’re the head and not the tail. You’re the light in darkness. You’re a candle in a dark place. You’re a city set on a hill. You’re the salt of the earth. You are His sheep. You are a citizen of Heaven. You’re hidden with Christ in God, protected from the evil one. You’re kept by the power of God. You’re secure in Christ. You’re set on a rock. You’re more than a conqueror. You’re born again. You’re a victor. You’re healed by His stripes, covered by His blood, sheltered by His wings, hidden in His secret place. In Him, you have access to the Father, have a home in Heaven waiting for you, have all things in Christ, have a living hope, and an anchor to your soul, a hope sure and steadfast, authority to tread on serpents, power to witness, the tongue of the learned, the mind of Christ, boldness and access, and peace with God. In Christ you can do all things, find mercy, come boldly to His throne, quench the fiery darts of the enemy, tread on him like a serpent, declare liberty to the captives, pray always, chase a thousand, defeat and overcome the enemy, and tread Satan under foot.

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