We’ve covered a lot of ground so far in our Spiritual Soldier Series, training in spiritual warfare. Many Christians don’t realize the significance of their identity in Christ. Knowing who you are in Jesus makes a world of difference in spiritual battle.
We will talk about the battlefield of the mind later in our series, but the mind is crucial not only to your survival but to thriving in spiritual battles. When you know who you are in Christ you fight from the high ground of victory instead of being tricked by the devil concerning your power in Christ.
- You are a new creature in Christ.
First, Paul tells us we are completely different people after we meet Jesus, becoming a new creation by His design (2 Corinthians 5:17). When you realize everything that happens to make you a new creature in Christ you fight from a place of strength.
Many Christians can quote this verse but they don’t understand the significance of what must happen for Jesus to do this for us. We are no longer subject to the flesh, our former desires. Some Christians still live like they are, but it is a choice rather than your nature.
We don’t have to do what we used to do. We don’t have to listen to temptation because it preys on our former desires. When we see things happening in the world around us that used to draw us in, our desires have completely changed. We now seek to please God and glorify Jesus.
When you look at the context of 2 Corinthians 5:17 there are several things Jesus has done for us. We are not only changed from our former perspective and desires (2 Corinthians 5:16) but Paul talks about the ministry of reconciliation.
Because you are no longer subject to your former desires you have experienced reconciliation and peace with God. You are no longer His enemy. God does not turn His wrath toward you. You are at peace with Him and serve Him now.
Jesus reconciled you to God through his death on the Cross. He paid a high price for you to know Him. Anytime you are tempted by your former desires you must remember the cost to make you a new creature.
God chose to not count your trespasses against you (2 Corinthians 5:19). This goes the whole way back to the Fall. We were living under the result of the Fall, living by sin instead of in righteousness. But Jesus changed all of that.
Part of your spiritual battle is to remember what He has done for you and not pay attention to your evil desires and the temptations that follow. You become a warrior for Christ against sin in the world and your own desires. And with the power He has given you and the understanding of your mind you can be victorious as a new creature in Christ.
- You are an ambassador for Christ.
Your second weapon against evil spiritual forces is to actively work for Jesus as one of his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). This follows on the heels of being a new creature in Christ. You carry the gospel of Jesus to those around you.
You are behind enemy lines. Do not underestimate the power of the gospel to change lives. You are a light in the darkness proclaiming the most powerful weapon of good news to the hopeless. Ask any missionary or evangelist if there is not a spiritual battle waged every time the gospel is preached.
When Jesus came into the world as the Light of the world the darkness tried to Overcome Him but failed (John 1:5). Just as Jesus stood up for you and reconciled you to God, so God sends you to proclaim the same message of hope to others.
Ambassadors are sometimes in the most dangerous places. Several times throughout American history we have seen the dangers ambassadors face, especially in places they are not welcome. As I write this, most recently in Afghanistan we have closed our embassy after pulling our diplomats and ambassadors out of the country first.
In Saigon during the Vietnam War we have images of helicopters rescuing our ambassador at the close of that war. These images are disturbing to most Americans because of how dangerously mismanaged the politicians made these situations for the military. I can remember similar dangers in Libya.
Because you are behind enemy lines it is not always easy to bring the light of the gospel to those in darkness. You must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to bring the light to the darkness. Jesus was willing to bring His Light to this dark world and die on the cross, becoming sin for us. We also penetrate the darkness with the light of God’s good news for those who are perishing.
- You are in the world but not of the world.
Christians have made this a catchphrase that is helpful to understand our position in this world according to your identity in Christ (John 17:11, 14-18). As Jesus prepared His disciples (and us) for His departure He wanted you to understand how to live in this world for Him.
You work in the world for Jesus as you live here, but this world is not your home. You have an eternal destiny with Jesus forever. This keeps you from getting comfortable with this world. We are so used to this world that we get comfortable. But Jesus shows us that we have a different and better destination.
You’re not here by accident. Jesus has put you in this world to serve His Kingdom. He has a purposeful design and mission for You. But while you are in this world to serve Jesus you must not share the values, principles, and culture of this world.
People think you are strange because you don’t want to do what they do. You share the gospel with everyone you meet. You fight for the souls of your loved ones.
The different lifestyle you bring to this world shows them what living for Jesus is all about. You’re not perfect yet but they see your godly values and worldview. They see the fruit of your labor for Him.
Knowing your identity in Christ, that you are in the world but not of the world, keeps you fixed on Jesus and Heaven. The phrase, “Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good” does not fit you. I believe those who are heavenly minded are even more earthly good. They want Heaven for everyone around them.
As you live for Jesus in this world you steal dead spirits from the clutches of the enemy with the light and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your bold witness and lifestyle show them the way to Jesus and you rescue them as an agent of God’s Kingdom.
- You are a child of God.
God has made you His child through supernatural means (John 1:12-13). As a son or daughter of the King you receive an inheritance far better than anything you have on earth (Galatians 3:26). Satan will attack your salvation and place in God. But he fails because you know who you are in Christ.
You are also a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You automatically have dual citizenship, here on earth and there in heaven. You are no longer God’s enemy (Ephesians 2:19). As you wait on Jesus to return for you, you know He’s coming because he is transforming your character here on earth.
Satan and his demons will accuse you and challenge you. They will tell you you are not really becoming holy like Jesus. But you can’t trust these liars. The Holy Spirit testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God (Romans 8:16).
You are sure of your salvation in God. Your place in his family is secure. If the devil tries to challenge your salvation you know where you stand with God. So you don’t give up any battlefield ground to the enemy when he challenges who you are in Christ.
- You are salt and light in the world.
You make a difference in the world with every opportunity you take to be different (Matthew 5:13-16). Jesus used these images of your identity in Him to show how you live in this world.
Salt is a preservative for food. They put it with meat to preserve the meat longer when they did not have refrigerators and freezers. As Jesus’ salt in this world you preserve righteousness and the witness of the gospel for people to hear this good news.
Salt also flavors food. This is probably what you think of when you think of salt. You season your conversations and ideas with godly wisdom (Colossians 4:6). When people ask you questions about Jesus you answer them with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
You are Jesus’ light in this world. You shine for the gospel through your words and actions. People see Jesus in you. You cannot hide from your faith. You take back the darkness with the light of the gospel.
We also use lights to reveal what the darkness hides. You expose the evil deeds of darkness (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:11). You are a child of light (Ephesians 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:5). You do not do works of darkness and wickedness. You bring righteousness into the world.
- You are blessed beyond measure. (The Beatitudes)
In the Beatitudes Jesus outlines the kind of Kingdom character He brings to his disciples (Matthew 5:3-12). When you understand your blessed place in Christ you know how to deal with everything the enemy and this world system throw at you.
You are poor in spirit, knowing that you are spiritually bankrupt without Jesus. Because you seek to abide in Him (John 15:1-11) your relationship with Jesus is strong and vibrant. From this strength Jesus gives you power to fight spiritual battles You bear fruit for Jesus that lasts and you remain in Him.
You mourn for the lost and understand the wickedness of this world. Your humble strength is a witness of Christ in you to the world. Jesus satisfies your hunger and thirst for righteousness in a wicked world controlled by Satan and his demons.
You are merciful to those who don’t deserve it as you maintain purity for Christ. You don’t mix worldly and godly principles. Your allegiance is to Jesus alone. You seek to bring peace to a chaotic and warring world.
Most of all, you endure persecution of all types. You thwart every spiritual attack against you because of Jesus’ power in you and the power of the gospel. Your citizenship and inheritance are in heaven. As you suffer for Jesus you show the world the power of Christ in you.
Despite the darkness and dangers of this world you are blessed beyond measure because Jesus is working His Kingdom character in you. He’s teaching you how to live counterculturally in this world.
- You are holy like the Lord.
Finally, Jesus calls you to be holy in a wicked world (1 Peter 1:14-16). You imitate Jesus in his holy and righteous character. He is making you more like Him every day. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of you and conforms you to Jesus’ image (Romans 8:29).
You live opposite of this world and its systems. And they can’t stand it. They want you to reject Christ and they will persecute you. But you have come out from among them (2 Corinthians 6:17). You are separate from the world and its wickedness.
Holiness also conveys the image of purity. You are unlike the world, not mixing your allegiance with Christ with the world. You keep yourself from mixing the world system’s perspectives and values with godly perspective.
You live for eternity rather than for today. You worship one God instead of many gods. You refuse to compromise your integrity and godly standards. The Holy Spirit is working God’s high standards into your character and life.
You worship and serve the living God in a world full of dead idols. Holiness also keeps you from worldliness. You are a friend of God (James 4:4). Submitting yourself to God, at the same time you resist the devil and he flees from you (James 4:7-8).
Your holiness protects you on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. As a Spiritual Soldier for Jesus, your holy living demonstrates Kingdom values to the world. The Holy Spirit dwells in you and He is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
These seven portraits of your identity in Christ aid you on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. They tell you who you are and keep the enemy from trying to lie to you about your salvation and God’s love for you.
Trust in Jesus and your identity in Him. Your connection to Jesus reminds you of your place in God. You walk with Jesus behind enemy lines and win spiritual battles because you know the promises Jesus has given about you.
In our next battlefield training we focus in on the enemy of our souls. Satan doesn’t like that you are taking back spiritual territory for Jesus. We will look at 7 truths about Satan that show you who he is and what his goals are. Join me for the next Spiritual Soldier battlefield training.