Monthly Archives: February 2011

Blue Bloods: Confused Personal Identity (part 8 of 14)

Slaves live in a state of confusion, while blue bloods live in a state of confidence. One group has no clue of their true identity, while the other revels in it. The way a believer relates to himself and others is a definitive demarcation between the bondage of a slave and the freedom of a son or daughter. Consider the following and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart:

Blue Bloods:                                                             Slaves:

Experience liberty                                                      Experience bondage

Think and act                                                              Act and don’t think

Press on                                                                       Hold on

Live in a state of thankfulness                                 Grumble and complain

Life-givers                                                                  Takers (suck life out of others)

Are marked by sincerity                                          Are Counterfeits

Desire to create                                                          Desperate to maintain

Faithful                                                                        Fearful

Will fight to maintain allegiance                               Allegiance can be bought

Birthed in freedom                                                    Birthed in bondage

Will engage any problem that confronts                 Will avoid and ignore problems

Have an independent identity and know who        Will allow others to tell them who they they are                                                                        are and their place

Unique, worthwhile individuals                                Cogs in the machine

Models                                                                          Clones

Innovators                                                                    Imitators

Live with anticipation                                                 Live with frustration

Open, patient, affectionate                                         Guarded, conditional, performance based

Givers and takers                                                        Takers and strivers desiring to be seen

Secure in their inheritance                                           Constantly fighting for selfish gain

The struggle with stinking thinking is a life and death battle. The relationships you enjoy with yourself and with others are vital for your spiritual, emotional, and physical health. Unhealthy relationships are birthed out of an unhealthy identity. Confusion breeds more confusion and will reproduce itself in your natural children as well as your spiritual ones. It is critical that we recognize and repent of any vestige of slave thinking and then walk in the advantage of our royal inheritance in Christ. Your new birth determines your identity and your identity should determine your demeanor.

Remember—all creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons and daughters of God. What does your belief system and lifestyle reveal about your identity?

Blue Bloods: Who’s Your Teacher? (part 7 of 14)

The slave mentality is the result of little or no maturity in Christ. Salvation is the front door of God’s Kingdom, but it is only the front door. Once we enter through the new birth we must mature, and maturity is a choice. Sadly, there seems to be a glut of screaming babies blocking the gates to the Kingdom with messy diapers, all wanting a bottle, a burp, and their own way.

Perhaps a first century explanation from the apostle Paul will focus the spotlight on what I am trying to say. In Galatians 4:1-2, he discusses a very common cultural practice in raising children in his day. Think of it this way, if a father dies and leaves great wealth for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey guardians until they reach whatever age their father set.

In the first century children born in status and privilege were placed under the care and tutelage of a well educated slave. This slave taught and mentored the young heir until maturity, at about twelve years of age. Until that day came, the child was in reality a slave. The child’s relationship by blood to the father was both heir de jure (heir by legal right) and heir de facto (heir in fact). The legal right came at birth, but the reality of living in the benefits (the fact) came only at maturity.

Most believers are living out this first century model but never maturing. The reason is it is ineffective. A slave can only educate another with what he knows. This education is really an infection.  Sons and daughters are infected with a slave mentality—stinking thinking. If your teacher or mentor or shepherd thinks like a slave, guess what? Their students will also think like slaves. We reproduce what and who we are. And for centuries the church has produced far more intellectual pygmies than spiritual giants. Those pious pygmies, in turn, have reproduced slaves with a poverty gospel of shame, fear, works, or intimidation. The enemy has convinced the blue bloods they are nothing more than cattle—too stupid to think for themselves. The precious truth of the priesthood of every believer has been lost, and the enemy has craftily hidden it in his pocket. We’ve traded our birthright for a “free get out of hell” ticket, satisfied that this is all Jesus purchased on the cross.

But if you follow Paul’s argument carefully you will find he arrives at a completely different destination than most of today’s church. He declares in no uncertain terms that due to Christ’s atoning work on the cross and our faith in that work, we have become both heir de jure and heir de facto. We no longer need a slave to teach us; we have the Holy Spirit—we have God to bring us to maturity. We are not slaves but rather sons and daughters of God. Maturity in Christ is a part of our inheritance. It has nothing to do with age but all to do with choice, passion, and heart’s desire. We are positional sons totally forgiven; not paroled sinners doing penitence. Grace has saved us and transformed us from slaves to saints—from bondage to blue bloods.

Paul ends with a stinging question in Galatians 4:9 that would probably do us good to consider: But now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God (my emphasis of salvation’s truth), how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things (those beggarly principles taught by demons), to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?

Why, indeed, would you choose to be a slave when in reality you are a son or daughter? Why would you listen to the doctrines of demons when you’ve been given the divine truth?

Blue Bloods: Living with a Slave Mentality (part 6 0f 14)

What we think we become. Or to put it another way: Our actions reveal our thinking and our thinking denotes our true belief system concerning our identity. If our thinking stinks the chances are good our actions will too, and that exposes our foul perception of who we are.

As sons and daughters of God we are blue bloods—royalty—the King’s kids. That is our identity no matter what you think. This reality is truth and truth is determined by God, not you or me. Truth is fixed, and thus our perception must align with truth for there to be reality. Reality and truth are not relative, regardless of what our culture proclaims. If you know Christ you are a son or daughter of God. But for this truth to be more than an intellectual concept the reality of this truth must move to your heart. It must become a part of who you are by becoming a treasured core value of your belief system.

Satan has done a masterful job of convincing most of us that we must serve God to gain His favor, to win His approval, or to secure a place in heaven with Him. He has switched the focus off God and onto us. We are then forced by our belief system to take responsibility for things God never granted us liability for. It is here we neglect one of the greatest biblical truths—we are saved through grace and kept by grace. We are God’s responsibility, but for some reason we want to take that slave mentality that “I must survive at all cost” right into the palace of the King of Glory.

This warped way of thinking—this slave mentality—cripples and strains our relationship with our heavenly Father. The “me” mentality fuels a survivalist system of thought that ultimately makes everything revolve around me, myself, or I. Instead of developing an intimate relationship with God where there is give and take, we tend to act like the children of Israel as they wandered about in the desert. They constantly grumbled and complained. “What are we going to eat?” “What are we going to drink?” “Why is this happening to me?” “I don’t deserve this. God is so unjust.” This line of thinking is born out of a victim mentality.

The victim or slave mentality has seeped into every aspect of our thinking. It’s like an invisible cancer slowly eating away at our divine inheritance. Instead of living like royalty we think like slaves and thus, act like slaves. What must God think when He sees His children living so far below their positions?

Let me give you some clear definitions and you decide which one resembles the identity on display through your actions. Remember your actions are a screaming proclamation of who you believe you are.

A son or daughter is a believer who knows (through experience) who their Father is and is secure in the Father’s love, and in that assurance is secure and at peace with their identity. In knowing the Father, a son or daughter experiences validation. Faith-filled intimacy marks their relationship with the Father.

A slave is a believer who is consumed with stinking thinking. He or she knows facts about the Father, but has not moved from the immaturity of hesitation into the maturity of a heart relationship. A slave is a son or daughter with a measure of head knowledge, but little or no heart knowledge. Fear of intimacy marks their relationship with the Father.

So…which one are you? Are you living a life of false perception or true reality?

Blue Bloods: The King’s Return (part 5 of 14)

On a day much like today it happened. Seemingly out of nowhere, revelation’s curtain went up and a new man—a second Adam—appeared on Main Street’s stage in an out of the way town called Bethlehem. A creative miracle signaled His birth, much like the transformation of simple dust into humanity had trumpeted the arrival of the first Adam. A new species of man now walked the earth for the first time in human history; a man filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit lacking nothing except a sin nature.

A hero? Yes, but far more—a model and a deliverer from which to draw strength, power, ability, and direction. A dread champion—come to destroy the works of the great serpent and take back the high-jacked gifts of relationship, reflection, rulership, and reproduction. The time was right for a full plunder of the enemy’s camp and a jail break for the enslaved sons and daughters of Adam.

The King of Glory lay down His Kingdom to search out and rescue His children. Heaven’s King had stooped to pick up the divine mantle dropped by the original man and wrapped Himself with it in the frail shell of Adam. Emptying Himself of His God-attributes He chose to live, function, and suffer as a man filled and guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. His purpose—to fulfill the calling and thus, the rewards the first Adam had squandered with a single taste of forbidden fruit.

Jesus did every miracle and act, not as God, though He was God, but as a man—the second Adam—empowered by and fully dependent upon the Holy Spirit—a partnership between humanity and divinity—one of complete dependence on the Holy Spirit and total obedience to the Father. He listened and watched for His Father to speak or act and then joined in through His perfect imitation in every situation.

In one swift move, the Father restored the identity of sonship through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The second Adam came to walk in the full glory of sonship and reproduce Himself in those He would redeem. All the blue blood promises of being a royal child were once again realized, implemented, and reoffered—relationship, reflection, rulership, and reproduction.

On the cross, Jesus offered Himself as the second Adam to His Father in full payment for the sin all of humanity. That transaction opened the way for those living on death row to have a second chance—a new birth, not a re-birth, took place. A new species, made in the image and likeness of the second Adam, began to walk the earth with confidence in their royal adoption and the impartation of the DNA and divine nature of the King through the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The garden mandate was restored to the sons and daughters of God through Jesus. We have been restored and equipped to enjoy intimate fellowship with the Father. By pursuing that relationship, we now have the ability to reflect the image and likeness of our Father. As that image is reflected to others, the ability to reproduce is unleashed. And as we reproduce that image and likeness, we walk into the authority of a ruler, a true son or daughter—a blue blood.

The original intent has been restored. The King has returned and rescued His kids. If this is so, and believe me it is, why are the vast majority of us walking around bound up in the chains and shackles of a slave mentality crippled with stinking thinking? Why are we choosing to live in the garbage dump, once again prisoners of the same enemy who enslaved the first son, Adam?

Blue Bloods: Broken Mirrors (part 4 of 14)

Temptation is a cheap promise to gain you something illegally or illegitimately that God has or will give you in His grace. If the gifts of God were not so good, the enemy would not try to duplicate them with cheap imitations. Temptation will not work if you know what God says and believe it.

We left the blue blooded couple in the garden their heavenly Father had bequeathed them. Their life was one of paradise with only one prohibition. They were not to eat from the tree of good and evil. A prohibition demands a choice and choice is exercised freely through the will, another gift from God. Love is a choice, not an emotion, and the test of the garden was whether or not the man and the woman would choose to love their Father by obeying that single command. Love, according to Jesus, is doing what He says. Simple—to the point—not complicated.

God began to unveil His plan by walking with them and teaching them that relationship—“who I am”—was far more important than servitude—“what you can do for Me.” He was not a monarch demanding entertainment, but a Father who desired intimacy. No performance to please Him, just the simple practice of enjoying His presence.

That’s the exact place the enemy attacked—the relationship—by questioning the Father’s goodness and intent. “You will not die—you will be like God,” he declared. Stop for a moment and look at the emptiness of that temptation. They were already “like God,” created in His likeness and image. The devil sold this couple something they already possessed and in return their relationship with God was fractured. Their ability to mirror God’s glory was broken. Along with a shattered relationship, he bamboozled them out of their ability to reproduce the perfect image and likeness of God and their title deed as rulers of the earth. They believed a cheap promise when they already possessed the real deal.

Unable to fulfill God’s mandate, Adam and Eve fell from their privileged positions and were shackled by sin and bound up in their self-forged chains of bondage. Their desire for relationship was distorted into a desire for prestige, power, and position. Their reflection of God was distorted by the cracks of their brokenness.

The Old Testament account is littered with the failures of humanity in their attempt to gather up the broken shards of glass and glue the pieces of the mirror back together. No such luck. Therefore, there had to be another way…and there was.

God was steadily at work with a plan to restore the relationship and take back the title deed. Throughout the Old Testament He continued to stress His role as Father (Ex. 4:22-23; Hos. 11:1; Isa. 63:16; 64:8). And then in the last verse of the last book of the Old Testament the Holy Spirit sets the agenda—the purpose for the entrance of the Messiah—the turning of the hearts—the reconciliation of the Father to the sons and the sons to the Father. Relationship would be restored and the broken mirrors would be replaced with shiny new ones.

Blue Bloods: God’s Original Intent (part 3 of 14)

God catches the blame for everything when most of it is not His fault. Much of what we see happening around us was never a part of God’s original intent—translated into Christianese—His perfect will. We don’t understand that original intent because we live in the present and things are seemingly out of our control, or at least that’s what most people believe.

To understand the original intent—the purpose—of our Father, we have to look at the blueprints from which humanity was created. Those are found in Genesis 1:26-28. If you want to know what you were created for—your purpose—read it carefully. In this passage, God’s plan was unveiled in splendor. Let me show you what I mean.

The man and the woman were created in the image and likeness of God. The significance of that phrase is pregnant with more meaning than space allows. But certainly it corresponds to our ability to reason, experience emotions, make choices’ and embodies the capability of our spirit to commune with God. God created us to look and act like Him, but just remember—we are not Him—that is, we are not little gods.

Most of us have either forgotten or don’t know our familial connection to God.  Hidden in one of those long genealogies made famous in the Bible is a phrase that may blow your mind: the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38). Did you miss it? It’s not a typo—it’s in the Holy Spirit’s own handwriting. Adam was the son of God and out of 45 times that phrase is used this is the only one that does not refer to Jesus Christ. But…one time is enough. God implanted His spiritual DNA in His son, Adam, and expected the boy to reproduce accurate (true) representations of his Father, the King. Adam was to mirror the glory of God to all of creation and he was to reproduce the image and likeness of God in his posterity. The mirrored reproduction was spiritual, emotional, and in some aspects, even physical.

The second intent was for Adam and Eve to rule as regents or stewards over the earthly realm of their Father, the King. They were blue bloods. God gave them dominion over an earthly kingdom that mirrored a heavenly one. He introduced them to rulership gradually by giving them responsibility for the care and oversight of a small plot of land. They were apprenticing—learning day-by-day, bit-by-bit what it meant to subdue and rule. Their throne and castle consisted of a garden filled with the grace of God.

The first two intents were great, but the third insured the greatest privilege of eternity, the one all of us long for, even if we can’t put a name on it—the ability to experience a passionate relationship with their Father, the King. I can’t fully imagine what it must have been like to walk with the manifest presence of God in the crisp morning air of the garden. Here they learned the secrets of intimacy with God and received the directions on how to take care of the garden. God shared His secrets with His son and daughter there through peals of laughter, whispers of love, and declarations of their capabilities and legitimacy. What must it have been like to hear the presence of the Bridegroom coming for His Bride each day? How deep the emotional release must have been when He burst through the bushes, and they saw their Father’s glory!

Thus, God’s original intent and His ultimate purpose for you and me. It has not changed. Very simple—not rocket science. Look closely at each one—they are what you long for. That is why you were created. Frustrated—angry—depressed—desperate—or all of the above? You should be. Stay with me; this is not the end; just a beginning to give you a better understanding of the original intent of the same blood—the blue blood—that flows through your veins if you know Christ today.

Blue Bloods: Stinking Thinking (part 2 of 14)

The greatest enemy of the church is stinking thinking. I am not referring to the sinful thought patterns that automatically jump to mind like lust, pride, hate, etc. No, I am referring to the mindset of a son or daughter of Christ who thinks like a slave, an orphan, or a victim. I am speaking to a gross misunderstanding of our identity in Christ. Most believers live out their lives guided by the mentality of a slave rather than the mindset of royalty. Yes, we are royalty—blue bloods—princes and princesses—in Christ. Stinking thinking is sinful because it causes unbelief in the children of the King and ultimately cripples their understanding of who the Father is. If my view of God is lame, my life will limp as well.

A Christ-follower is a child—a son or daughter—of God. We have been born a second time—born of the Spirit and Father God has adopted us into His family. God is secure and satisfied in the identity of His kids (He knows exactly who they are), but He doesn’t seem to be getting what He paid for.

Instead of men and women who live out of the abundance of His infinite grace, most believers have been taught, accepted, or defaulted to a line of thinking that stinks. We talk of grace and believe it is essential for salvation, but once that spiritual birth has occurred, most trade the freedom of grace for the bondage of law in an attempt to live out the Christian life. Instead of a dependence upon the Holy Spirit, we revert back to believing that the good works we do in the name of Jesus and the strength of our willpower against sin will garner more of God’s love and favor. All this mindset earns is a strong dose of discouragement and a feeling of failure or a self-righteous dose of Pharisee-ism.

Let me give you some common examples preached from pulpits and taught by teachers across the spectrum of our faith. Read you Bible! Pray! Witness! Help the helpless! I could go on and on. My point is, these are critical things for every Christian to do, but doing these things does not make you a Christian, and they don’t earn you one more dime’s worth of God’s love. If you find yourself doing them to earn God’s favor, love, or approval—that’s slave thinking. The mindset of a slave is to obey his master to earn his approval. If you are a son or daughter of the King, you have His complete approval—right where you are. That approval—that love—is unconditional (it has no conditions you have to meet to receive it). You do those things as acts of love not as tasks to be rewarded or as a means of survival.

Your encounter with the saving grace of Christ earned you an eternal and abundant identity in Christ. Slaves seek approval with their service. Sons and daughters live out their approval through their service. One acts out of love and the other fear—one out of gratitude and the other out of debt. Children learn to “be” and slaves learn to “do.”  And most are living this indescribable life they’ve been given at mock speed like slaves destined for the trading block instead of royalty in training for rulership.

Just a note: the devil loves “doers” and will turn them into pack mules if possible. And this is the mailing address for most of God’s kids. They have never taken a moment to check out their spiritual birth certificates, so they think this garbage is what their heavenly Father expects. They’re living in Satan’s stable instead of the King’s castle.

Just for the record, this is not what God expects! How do I know? He told me so in Christ! It’s high time we all exorcise, fumigate, and otherwise eliminate this kind of stinking thinking.