Dr. Anderson starts off chapter three with a story about a young lady in his Sunday School class who, to his surprise, was liked by everyone, had lots of friends, and eventually married the nicest guy in the college department. He asks the question, “What was her secret?” She simply accepted herself for who God said she was in Christ, and she confidently committed herself to God’s great goal for her life: to love people and grow in Christ. By all outward appearances, Claire had absolutely nothing going for her. But, she understood the truth – she (and you) is unconditionally loved and accepted by her heavenly Father and understands who she is in Christ!
I am a product of my past – where and how I grew up, the “messages” I received, the actions taken and spoken about and to me……that is what the world would have me believe. Not true! I am exactly who God says I am and the more I believe this wonderful truth, the more my behavior will reflect this truth. I see myself more and more the way God sees me and I pray it reflects in my behavior……
Dr. Anderson says, “It is important that we establish our Christian lives on what we believe instead of how we behave. We need a firm grip on the truth of God’s Word before we will experience much success at practical Christianity. A fruitful Christian life (behavior) is the result of living by faith according to what God said is true (belief).” That’s good stuff right there!!!
You need an adequate foundation of truth to live a practical life of faith. When you basic belief system about God and your self is shaky, your day-to-day behavior system will be shaky. When you belief system is intact and your relationship with God is based on truth, however, you will have very little trouble working out the practical aspects of daily Christianity.
I really like what Dr. Anderson says about our position in Christ, “We are not trying to become children of God; we are already children of God (positional sanctification) who are becoming like Christ (progressive sanctification).” He goes on to say, “It is my firm belief that if we fully appropriated the first half of Paul’s Epistles, which establish us in Christ, we would naturally (or supernaturally) live the second half.”
If you want to get right with God you have to settle the fact that God is your loving Father and you are His accepted child. This is foundational. To the degree this truth is not settled in your spirit is the degree that you will suffer with your identity in Christ and you daily walk will be unstable.
Dr. Anderson says, “We don’t serve God to gain His acceptance; we are accepted, so we serve God. We don’t follow Him to be loved; we are loved, so we follow Him. It is not what we do that determines who we are; it is who we are that determines what we do.” I John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God.” And, Romans 1:16,17 says, “That is why you are called to live by faith.” To live the victorious Christian life you have to believe what is already true about you.
Understanding our spiritual inheritance is the key to resolving our daily conflicts. The truth about who you are in Christ makes such a huge difference in your success at handling the challenges and conflicts of life. It is imperative to your growth and maturity that you believe God’s truth about who you are.
Dr. Anderson points out this truth about how we see others too – “As important as it is for you to believe in your true identity as a child of God, it is equally important that you perceive other Christians for who they are in Christ and treat them accordingly.” He goes on to say, “I believe that the greatest determinant for how we treat people is how we perceive them.
If we view people as losers, we will begin to treat them that way. If, however, we believe our brothers and sisters in Christ are redeemed saints, we will treat them as saints and they will be greatly helped in behaving as saints. We affect others significantly by what we say about them and what we say is determined by what we believe about them.” Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This is a great verse that we all need to practice.
In closing, Dr. Anderson says, “I believe we ought to tell believers the truth about who they are in Christ and motivate them to live accordingly.” I agree whole-heartedly with this statement…….part of my role as Director of Renewed Life Ministries is to help me see the truth about themselves and spur them to live their lives (behavior) on this truth (belief). Presenting the truth doesn’t mean they will immediately change. It takes time – and, that is why this is a one year, residential, discipleship training center.
So, how do you see yourself? Choose to line up with what God says is true about you and live your life to the fullest!