Intimacy and Identity!

identity-manGrowing up I based my identity on what I achieved not on whom I was in relationship with. Whether it be in the sporting arena, the police academy or in the early years of my ministry, I valued myself on how I performed rather than who Christ said I was.

We live in a culture that’s obsessed with accomplishment and image because western society works on a functional paradigm rather than a relational paradigm. A functional paradigm is task oriented and purpose driven. We function together and what little time we have left over we connect and often very surface level.

Living in this functional paradigm can lead to tension and frustration. When we make life about something other than what God intended it to be, chaos is the end result. God intended us to live from a relational paradigm first, a functional paradigm second.

The kingdom of God operates on a relational paradigm. When Jesus was tested as to what the greatest commandment in the law was, he pointed to a relational paradigm, not a functional one (Matt 22:34-40). He said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and… love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ God’s will is first relational, second functional. We get saved through a person, not a task. Jesus said, ‘I am the way’, not ‘This is the way’. Everything God teaches us about life begins and ends with relationship.

Our identity flows out of our intimacy. Jesus is so attractive because he’s so secure in his relationship with his Father. Before Jesus ever healed the sick, preached a sermon, raised the dead or cast out a demon, he had his Fathers approval over his life (Matthew 3). Father God said, ‘This is my son, in whom I’m well pleased.’

We don’t attract God’s presence through performance, we are already attractive to him and he calls us into deeper levels of relationship with him. Intimacy is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. Out of intimacy God shapes our identity and it’s through our identity, that God shapes our destiny. What we ultimately possess in life is determined by who we become.

The more rooted our identity in Christ is, the healthier our relationships will be. The vertical relationship with God precedes the horizontal relationship with others. If there is conflict in our relationships with others, its possibly because there’s conflict within our own identity.

Your identity is inextricably connected to your identity. What do you value yourself by, achievement or relationship?

The Oracle!

Calling vs Career!

Too easily do we look at the issue of ‘calling’ through the lens of contemporary cultural paradigms rather than what the bible actually reveals to us.

A calling is God’s unique soul print on a person’s identity (Ps 139:13-15). A calling is a strong heart conviction that God burdens you with (Rom 4:20-21). A calling is God’s anointing that rests upon you (1 Sam 16:13). A calling transcends a job or specific occupation (Acts 9:15, the apostle Paul worked as a tent maker but was called to be an apostle to the gentiles). A calling is witnessed to by others, especially spiritual authority (Jn 1:29).

Calling comes in different shapes and sizes and transcends the practical application of it being outworked. Noah saved a remnant by building a boat. Abraham became the father of many nations by faith in God’s promise. Moses delivered a nation by leading them out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Elijah performed signs and wonders as prophet to Israel.

The difference between a calling and a career is remarkable:

  • Calling = Treasure in heaven VS Career = $ on earth
  • Calling = Life of sacrifice VS Career = Life of convenience
  • Calling = God’s always right VS Career = Your rights
  • Calling = Applause of heaven VS Career = Applause of man
  • Calling = Faithfulness VS Career = Success
  • Calling = Continues VS Career = Conclusion

What are you pursuing, a calling or a career?

The Oracle!

The Calling of a Prophet!

The office of a prophet is a life calling. Most prophets are called at birth or when they are born again (salvation). It is primarily the Lords choosing, not something you seek to become, however if called, you have a responsibility to develop your gift. Some notable prophetic ministries have identified that it can take as long as 14-15 years for a person to develop into a prophet after being called.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men… And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.” (Eph 4:7, 11)

The five fold ministry is outlined in the above passage and the office of the prophet is one of the ministries that God has established for the governmental leadership of the church. To be a prophet is a calling. To minister in prophecy is a gift. When a person ministers in the gift of prophecy, the gift is the ability to prophesy. The words themselves are the gift. When a person is a prophet, they themselves are the gift. A prophet is a gift to the church.

Apart from a foundation of character, there are actually 3 components to any mature and fruitful ministry. These are:

  1. CallingCalling gives identity. Paul was called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (1 Cor 1:1).
  2. GiftingGifting gives ability. ‘As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’ (1 Pet 4:10).
  3. AnointingAnointing gives purpose. It was prophesied of Jesus, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners’ (Is 61:1).

The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable but the anointing of the Lord ebbs and flows according to the relationship we have with the Holy Spirit. The calling on your life describes who you are. The anointing of God provides you with your purpose in life and the gifts that God has given to you becomes the ability in which you accomplish his purposes.

The Oracle!

The Source of Your Confidence!

Pop Culture promotes the idea that we are to have self-confidence. Self-confidence is a good quality to have but eventually we all let ourselves down at some point. People who only have self-confidence are doomed to hit rock bottom because none of us are self-saviours. We are all in desperate need of someone external to us to save us from ourselves, hence why Jesus lived, died on the cross and rose from the dead.

I am growing in confidence. I feel it developing everyday. God spoke to my heart recently about building a stronghold of confidence in my heart. The more I spend time with Jesus and discover more of who He is, the more He helps me discover more of who I am in Him. There is nothing so freeing like knowing who you are in God and being comfortable to be the best version of you God has called you to be.

The first step to greater confidence is not an evaluation of your talents or abilities but a revelation of God. As you grow in your awareness and insight into who God is, He gives you a revelation of who you are. Without a sure conviction of who you are in Christ, you are destined to come unstuck.

Regardless of the circumstances around me, I belong to Christ and I am seated with him in heavenly places. My worth and value is not determined by my efforts but by His love and grace lavishly extended to me. I am redeemed from the poison of sin and forcefully taken from the hands of the enemy. I am blessed and have access to every spiritual blessing in heaven. I have been chosen before the foundation of the world. I have an eternal inheritance and I am sealed by the power of the promised Holy Spirit. I belong to God and He is my Abba father. (Ephesians 1:1-14)

My confidence comes from knowing God is my Father and He delights in me as His son. Many of us struggle with real feelings of insecurity, unworthiness and condemnation, despising ourselves and skeptical of anything to do with God. I know what that feels like cause I lived in that place for a long time. But I have been set free by Jesus and when you know the truth, the truth shall set you free.

Where does your confidence come from? Have you based it entirely on your self, your bank account, your job, your contacts, your image, your reputation, your talents and your experiences? Anything other than a revelation of God as your Father is destined to crumble. The things of this world are temporal and passing away. The kingdom of God is a kingdom that cannot be shaken and will last for eternity.

The Oracle!

God of Paradox!

When one starts walking with God, we quickly learn two things about him.

First, he is utterly consistent in his love and nature toward us. Second, He is completely unpredictable. This paradox, two seemingly conflicting ideas contained in the same truth, is at the core of who God is. God loves to do things unpredictably. Gods unpredictability means we have no security in what God is doing. We can only be secure in who he is. Our mission as Christians is learn how to live in Christ and let that be the bedrock for our life. God will ask each of us, at some point or another, to do things that are outrageous, impossible and unpredictable. Unless we live in the consistent nature of God, we will never step out in faith.

One of the parts of Gods nature we must come to understand is that God is usually silent. This silence doesn’t mean disapproval. In fact, when God is quiet, it is generally an indication that he is happy with us. He doesn’t need to constantly reassure His mature sons and daughters when they are doing well. He just lets us be until we look like we are heading off track. It is incorrect to think that God is continuously revealing his will to us. However, he does carry the responsibility of putting us back on the rails when we slip off. We can trust him to steer us back if we are headed in the wrong direction.

The key element in determining the will of God is always confidence. The Father does what is always right, and he is amazing in his consistency and faithfulness. He always finishes what he starts and we can absolutely trust that he will complete his purpose in us. Holding onto our confidence is a major part of being mentored by the God of paradox. Mentors provide assurance and our personal security is built upon our own understanding of who God is for us. Assurance in God allows us to become like him. As we abide in him, our confidence grows in us to fulfill what God has called us to do.

Insight! 

Identity and your Call!

Hidden roots of brokenness prevent people from being able to do what God has designed them for. We are unique by God’s design and intention, however, our uniqueness is distorted when hidden roots, of sin, offense and pain undermine the unique call of God upon our lives.

When there are blockages in the root system of our lives, it stops the flow of the Spirit moving through our call. We need God to help us identify the blockages and have them removed. The primary function of roots is to hold a plant in place and supply it with nourishment from the soil to help it grow. Likewise, roots are found in the hearts of each one of us and if these roots are infected with deep hurts, wounds, fears and insecurity, then we will not grow as we should. We are known by our fruits. Healthy tree, healthy fruit. Unhealthy root system, unhealthy fruit.

If we suffer from a distorted identity (all of us as fallen beings do in some way), we need to enter a process of healing and restoration so that the Spirit can move freely through the root system of our lives. Your identity is who you are, not just your perception of who you are. Someone once said, “We are three people. We are who others think we are. We are who we think we are and we are who we actually are.” The challenge is to live out of who we actually are in Christ, as God has designed us and intended for us.

In Scripture we see that God would give a new name to certain people to symbolize a new identity or a sign of God’s promise in their lives. God renamed Abram, Abraham and Jacob to Israel. God renamed several of the disciples, including Peter, whom originally was Simon. These new names represented significant God encounters in these people’s lives and were marks of God’s call upon them.

Your identity is linked to your call. Your call is limited by a lack of self-worth and false perception of who you are. We need to know who we are in Christ and how God sees us before we can move freely in our calling. Whatever you and others have thought about you in your past, God wants to declare new things over your life that positions you to move powerfully in your call in the future. Bring your hurts to Jesus and allow the healing process to begin. As you do, your identity will be restored as God intends for you and your call will carry more weight as you live it out from who you really are in Christ.

Insight!