Understanding your identity in Christ is essential if you are going to become all that God wants you to be. This article will discuss your identity in Christ as a victor. Someone once said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t – you are right!” It is what we believe about ourselves that determines where we go, what we become, and who we are.
George Foreman understood the importance of how identity affected him to become a two-time heavy weight champion. At age 45, he became the oldest man in the world to win the title. In his book, God in My Corner, this is what he writes:
“When I climbed in the ring during my comeback, the announcers often introduced me as “the former heavyweight champion of the world.” As they introduced me, I’d mumble to myself, “And the next heavyweight champion of the world. How could I ever win the title if I didn’t believe that I could? If you have a great dream you are attempting to fulfill in your life, you’ve got to believe it can happen before you can actually do it. I wasn’t trying to be proud. I simply believed what God had promised me—that I would regain the title.” (George Foreman, God In My Corner, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007, p.135)
Every single one of us act out of our identity. That is why we must adopt our new identity in Christ from the Word! As we look at our identity in Christ as victor, we will discover this powerful underlying truth:
- Your “Victory” and Your “Identity” come because of your relationship to Jesus Christ.
The moment you got saved, you became a victor in God’s eyes. You may not have felt like you had “victory”. You may not have walked in it yet. But God gives us a new identity based upon our faith in Jesus Christ. God sees us for what we will become, not necessarily where we are at right now.
At the end of your life, if you accept your identity in Christ as victor you will be able to look back at the things you have conquered:
- The flesh
- The devil
- The world
But here is the key, You can’t do it on your own. You need Jesus! I am not just referring to the moment when you first trusted Christ for salvation. That was a wonderful moment. The real truth is that we need him every moment of every day. Jesus is the one who makes it possible for you to actually have victory.
We are completely deponent upon our relationship with Christ to bring us victory. Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Please take note to how our victory is tied into Him. It is through Christ we have been given a new identity. That identity in Christ and our daily connection to him is what allows us to overcome.
To conquer is to be victorious over an adversary. To be “more than a conqueror” means we not only achieve victory, but we are overwhelmingly victorious. That is who you can be. If the final score of a basketball game is 148–12, we know that the opposition put up a fight, but they were no match for the victors. The win was beyond the scope of a regular victory. If you are a Christian who has accepted your identity in Christ, then the promise of overwhelming victory can be yours.
In the book of Revelation 2 and 3 there are seven letters to seven churches. These letters were written by Jesus. In those letters, there are seven promises given to those who are overcomers. An overcomer is a victor. It says seven times, ”to him who overcomes” or “He that overcomes” (Revelation 2-3) I don’t believe those promises are just for a select few. It is something that God wants for each of us.
God is not in the carrot dangling business. Have you seen a cartoon or a little donkey with a carrot tied in front of him as motivation? No matter how fast the little donkey runs, he never can get the carrot. God is not like that. If there is a reward promised and a reward given, it is because Jesus is saying it is possible for us. Every one of us can be an overcomer-a victor. But it all depends on our relationship to Jesus Christ. Over and over in scripture, God pictures us as winning, as overcoming, as being victorious. But every time the promise is given, it is given in relation to Jesus. Consider these two verses.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
John 15:4-5 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Alone, without abiding, you will not be victorious at fruit bearing. You need to abide in him. That means you stay connected to him. He gives you the strength, ability, nourishment you need.
When you accept your identity, that will you lead you to victory. Nowhere in the Word is the giving of a new identity seen more than in the life of Gideon. As we look at the life of Gideon, we discover that there are
- Three Steps Towards Victory
As we look at these steps, we are going to see that these are the same steps we take as well. In a way they are stages, that we pass through. Those stages are steps on the way to realizing our identity in Christ as victor.
- Victory on the inside
- Victory in your personal life
- Victory in the “mission” God gives.
As Judges 6 opens, we discover that Israel is in a mess. They have turned their backs on God, and they are worshipping the Baals. They had stopped obeying God and decided to adopt the gods of the peoples around them. The Midianites were coming up at harvest time and literally stealing all the crops. Imagine working all year only for someone to steal your harvest.
We are not an agrarian society. But can you imagine if for years you had worked hard and on your way to the bank every week the “Midianites” stole your check and your money? That is what it felt like. When we meet Gideon, he is hiding. He doesn’t look much like a victor. He looks afraid. He has some wheat and he is threshing it in secret. He just wants to get enough grain to hide so perhaps he and some of his loved ones can live and not starve.
Judges 6:11-12 “Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
The first step you take in be becoming a victor gains for you victory on the inside. You must…
- Accept What God Has Said About You.
The first victory that comes to is on the inside of us. Before any outward circumstances change, there comes a change on the inside where you start believing God and trusting in what he has said. Gideon had to accept that he was a mighty man of valor and that Gods call was upon him.
That is the same thing you must do. You accept and believe that you are who God says you are. At first Gideon had a hard time accepting it. The angel of the Lord clearly gave him a new identity. He said, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Gideon is very honest in his conversation. He says in essence, “Does this look like victory to you? If God is with us, then where are the miracles? If the same Lord is with us that brought us up out of Egypt, the God who parted the Red Sea then why is this happening to us?”
The angel of the Lord didn’t get into a big discussion, he just tells him to go and save them in his mighty strength.
Gideon is struggling with his new identity. You can almost imagine the conversation going on. “Who you talking to? I am the only one in here. Don’t you see who I am? Then he rehearses who he is. He says, “My tribe is the least in Israel. My Father is the least in his tribe. I am the least in my household. I am nothing. I am not a leader. There is no mighty man of valor here.”
That is really one of the main struggles that everyone of us have as believers. Our old identity wants to cling to us. Especially those that are newer in the Lord. The enemy of our souls would like to provide us with our identity. We tend to define ourselves by our past. We tend to think that we cannot escape from the negativity or the situations we have been in. We get our identity from our family of origin, the neighborhood we grew up in and what others have said about us. Our old life shouts from the past. The enemy doesn’t want us to accept our identity in Christ as victor. He wants us to think we are losers, incapable of overcoming sin, our flesh, and the world system.
Have you accepted your new identity in Christ? 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
What you did doesn’t define you. Where you grew up or your experiences in life do not get to determine your identity. You are a new creation! What you used to be doesn’t matter. You have been given a new identity. You are more than a Conqueror. Many people in the body of Christ have heard of their new identity, yet hearing alone is not enough, we must accept our new identity in Christ.
Gideon wanted to be sure that what the Angel said was true, so he asked for a sign to be given him. After preparing a goat and unleavened bread for the Angel of the Lord, the Angel took his staff and touched the rock upon which it was sitting, and supernatural fire consumed it. But even that wasn’t enough to convince Gideon. Shortly thereafter, he placed a fleece on the ground at night asking God to either wet the fleece with dew and keep the ground dry or wet the ground with dew and keep the fleece dry. God did all these things finally convincing Gideon that he was who God said he was.
That is the same struggle that many believers have. They don’t accept their identity. Yet our identity is based on a better covenant with better promises. Christians don’t need supernatural signs from God. We have been given the written Word. God’s word is inspired, inerrant, and infallible. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
This Word is alive. Read it and believe it. We used to have an old saying: God said it, I believe it, and that settles it! Are we going to believe it or not? If God says you are a victor, more than a conqueror, then that is who you are.
And beyond that, we have another witness. The very witness of the Spirit of the Living God. Romans 8:16 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”
I don’t know how he communicates with you. But there are moments in my life in prayer and meditation and loving and adoring Jesus. When I sense the Spirit of God, and his Spirit communicates with mine, that I belong to Him. So go ahead and accept your new identity in Christ as victor!
The next step if you want to accept your identity in Christ is that you must
2. Cean Up Your Home and Life
The most obvious place to start living this new identity out is in your home and personal life. You are who God says you are! Since that is true, you begin to live and act as a child of God. In other words, if you are a victor, if you are a conqueror, if you are a mighty man of valor, if you are who God says you are. It is time to put that in action. The most logical place to that is in your personal life and in your home.
Gideon had enough spiritual sense to remove what was hindering his home and his spiritual life.
udges 6:25-27 “Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.”
Gideon wanted victory over his enemies-the Midianites, but he couldn’t gain that victory until he gained victory on inside, and the victory in his home and personal life. It was because the people had left God and had erected these false Gods, the Baals, that they were in this situation in the first place.
Gideons own family had done this! Gideons own father. Gideons own town. Everyone he knew was worshipping the Baals. Gideon had probably been involved in that. Gideon said, If Jehovah God is with me then this false god called Baal has to go.
And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, there was the altar of Baal, torn down; and the wooden image that was beside it was cut down. I want you to understand, that the men of the city weren’t happy about the change in Gideon. They preferred Gideon to stay small. They preferred the hiding Gideon to the mighty man of valor Gideon. They were not happy when they saw changed in Gideon. Why? Because mighty men of valor sometimes upset the apple cart.
I need to inform you that as you start living out your new identity in Christ that some people aren’t going to be too happy about it. In fact, if you start tearing stuff down to please Jesus, even your family are going to not be happy with the new you!
It takes courage to live for God. It takes an inner strength that knows who you are. I believe that God is looking for men and women today who would say: “I don’t need to run to the places I used to run. That is not who I am now.” And consequently, changes come, worldly things start to disappear!
A lot of people think that the way a person actually lives and what they believe about God are in two separate compartments. They aren’t. Who you are on the inside (your identity in Christ) will come out in visible ways on the outside. It may mean that you stop getting drunk, or stop doing drugs, the things you watch will change, your talk will be different. You may even have to tare down some old friendships and replace them with new. The atmosphere will start changing.
If we are a new creation with a new identity in Christ, it will affect how we live. When I was a missionary in Colombia, we did a lot of evangelism. My pastor friend Alejandro Arisa would begin discipleship, the moment people confessed Christ, He would say almost immediately after people had accepted Christ that Christians clean up the house. He would say, Go get some Fabuloso and start cleaning. Sweep the patio. Why did he do that? He knew that a clean environment would lead them to thinking about their lives. How we live really matters.
Victory begins inside, by accepting our identity. Victory then moves into our personal lives, spiritually cleaning up our lives, and our homes. And then we progress to the third stage. Victory in the mission God has given us. Therefore we must…
3. Stay “on mission” with God
God gave Gideon a mission! With just 300 men he defeated the Midianites. It is really one of the most astounding Old Testament stories. The outward circumstances in his life were ultimately changed by the power of God.
A lot of people think that they can change the outward circumstances of there lives, without first having victory on the inside, accepting their new identity in Christ, or that somehow the way they live at home and in their personal life doesn’t matter. But that is simply not the case. The first two steps or stages are essential.
God has given us a mission. The mission of every believer must be the proclamation of the gospel, and the making of disciples. I believe that victory is possible in this area as well.
So let’s stay on mission with God! Accept your new identity with Christ and it will affect all aspects of who you are, internally, at home, and in the mission God has given.