Why Are We Suffering from An Identity Crisis?

Why Are We Suffering from An Identity Crisis?

By Mike Spaulding

But you are a Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  —1 Peter 2:9[1]

When reality smacks up against perception it can be a very sobering experience. Statistics from the Barna Group  indicate that professing Christians hold to the same views as their unsaved friends and neighbors in the categories of viewing pornography, maintaining legalized abortion, and in supporting same-sex unions.[2]

Pornography is a plague upon every person it entraps, disrupting the natural affections and distorting the expectations people place upon their spouse’s. Pornographic images burn themselves into the memory banks of the mind and the enemy of God’s people throws them up on the big screen every opportunity he has. Social scientists and law enforcement professionals agree that many crimes are directly linked to the perpetrator’s pornographic viewing.[3]

Abortion, for all the euphemisms people use to blunt the truth of what it is, is still the murdering of unborn human beings. The barbaric practice of abortion – regardless of the type, scope, or process – is still a modern day blood offering to Satan.

Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Adultery is not “having a fling” or an “affair.” It is a violation of the covenant a man and woman swear to uphold before God as their witness.

Since all of this is true, why do so many professing believers struggle to overcome these spiritual, physical, and emotional traps? When the data is available for everyone to see, when wrecked lives, utterly devastated marriages, and children in crisis are evidence of the dangers of the actions captured statistically above, why do Christians of all people continue to believe they won’t be touched by their participation in them?

How is it possible that people who have the Holy Spirit of God living in them can engage in such behavior on a routine basis? How is it possible that people who profess to follow Jesus Christ practice at nearly the same percentages as their unbelieving family, friends, and co-workers the things listed above? These statistics alert us to the fact that the holiness and righteousness Christians are empowered to exhibit is not done by many thousands who profess faith in Christ. And apparently many are perfectly fine with that.

Friends, something is terribly wrong with the type of Christianity being manifested by a large segment of professing believers today. How has the message of the Bible become so convoluted as to give cover for egregious behavior such as stated above?

I believe that one of many reasons professing Christians engage in ungodly and sinful behavior is that they have become convinced that God loves them no matter what and that His primary concern for them is their happiness. Thus, if God wants what makes us happy, then an unexpected pregnancy can be terminated because after all, God knows we are not ready to be a parent and it would be a shame to try to raise a child when the timing isn’t right.

Now, readers should be asking themselves at this point, where does anyone who reads the Bible come up with the idea that God’s primary concern is for people’s happiness? You are correct to ask that question, and I believe you already know the answer. It’s not found in the Bible but it is taught by many pastors as their stock and trade. Appealing to people emotionally is big business in the Church today. Encouraging people to chase things natural to the flesh and cloaking it in quasi-biblical garb, only feeds the beast of ego, unfettered desire, and unfulfilled expectation.

Overcoming sinful behavior is not aided by reminding people that God loves them so much and will continue to love them through their sinful behavior. Let’s apply that to drug addiction. How are we helping people by telling them that God loves them as they are shooting a deadly poison into their veins, and He loves them even up to and including their overdose and death? Stop that! You and I both know we are going to make an intervention and we are going to do whatever it takes to assist someone to stop their behavior, even employing what is commonly called tough love.

The truth is that pastors are creating train wrecks in believer’s lives by the things they teach week by week. Calling people to holy and righteous living is so 1950’s in the minds of many today. Simply teaching the Bible is now viewed as backward and out of step with modern people. But here is a truth we must accept and press – abandoning straight forward Bible teaching has opened a Pandora’s Box that we cannot shut. I believe this is why so many Christians engage in the ungodly behaviors listed above. They are not hearing the Bible taught as the power of God unto salvation and godly living. It is instead seen as a collection of good moral guidelines if they are ever needed.

Adding to the clear dilemma is the fact that discipleship and church discipline are also disregarded. If we are taking the Scriptural command to make disciples of every nation, teaching them the words of Jesus – and we are lovingly confrontational as part of our corporate life together – then these snares of the enemy would not be so successful.

What Christians need today are pastors who will say “the deeds of the flesh are . . . .” and who will back this up with action. Christians are as the Apostle Peter reminds us, “… a Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Because Christians, those who have trusted in Christ’s atoning work on Calvary’s cross for the forgiveness of their sins, have been called out of the darkness to walk in the light that is Jesus Christ, we should deny darkness any and every opportunity to manifest in us or in those we love.

Only when we are walking in the light of Jesus Christ can we proclaim His excellencies. Our testimony to what God has done in our lives is a very important aspect of remembering who we are. God says many things about His sons and daughters in the Bible. We can encourage one another with those things.

Are we suffering from an identity crisis as believers today? Indeed we are.

Too many Christians do not understand because they’ve never been taught that they are dragon slayers. Christians are meant to be people of renown or at least a peculiar people when contrasted with the culture at large.[4]  Wisdom and courage are to be our constant companions. An unflinching devotion to Christ is of primary importance in our lives. Christ said that our love for Him would be demonstrated by our obedience to what He commands. Obedience to Christ leads to blessings from Him, assurance of who He is and a constant experience of His power working in us and through us.

We cannot occupy until Christ comes again if we do not know that we are even in His Army. Where do we start to regain what has been lost to the deceptive teaching of hirelings and modern day motivational speakers masquerading as pastors? We start right here with reclaiming our spiritual God-given heritage.

The first action we take is throwing off the effeminate pseudo-identity that culture has foisted upon us. Why do we allow pagans, heretics, and the unsaved masses in the media, government indoctrination centers (public schools), and social media behemoths to dictate to us who we are in Christ? Men, it is time to be real men. Lead your families with godly vision and holy fire. Love your wife and give her your best, not the crumbs left over after doing everything else that needs done in your day. Protect your children from the ravenous wolves of secularism, the anointed high priests of our government education propaganda system and from the evil of media in all its ubiquitous forms. These are slithering serpents that brainwash people until they become mindless zombies repeating the ungodly drivel of progressivism which is only progressive in its march away from God.

Secondly we must become better at listening carefully to the Holy Spirit. He will lead us day by day if we will take the time to listen. How important is this? Consider just a few of the things the Bible tells us about living by the power of and under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38).

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  (John 3:5).

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63).

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:25).

for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, (Philippians 3:3).

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24).

The reality of our new life in Christ is that we are provided with all that we need day by day to live obediently to the Father by the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit will always lead us into righteousness and will never lead us into error. The Holy Spirit will always lead us toward the fight and never advise us to duck and run.

Thirdly, become people of prayer. Husbands pray for your wives.[5]  Wives love your husbands, support and respect them. I encourage wives to pray[6] Proverbs 4:20-27 over your husbands daily. It states clearly the importance of listening to the Word of God and allowing it to govern the mind, soul, and heart.

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious speech far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead
And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 Watch the path of your feet
And all your ways will be established.
27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left;
Turn your foot from evil.

Finally, plumb the depths of the Bible together as men, women, and children. Stop the misinformed segregation of our young people into their “teen” or “youth” groups and learn the wonder of our great God together. Make sure you are teaching your children the Bible and not a publisher’s watered down version of Bible stories.

Demand and only support shepherds who are faithful to proclaim the whole truth of the Bible. Friends, it is in the pages of the Bible that we learn who God is and what He says about us. Our identity is found in God’s Word, in His heart for us, and in the myriad pictures of His love for us. Remember and cherish this.

A word of caution here – this is not a call to a “witch hunt” or to creating a new cadre of Pharisees that sit in judgment of shepherds God has called. It is a call to support and encourage faithful men who teach and preach and give of themselves for the benefit of God’s people. You should know the difference between men who need to be dismissed because they are not called of God and men who need to be supported. We are called to treat one another with love and respect.[7]

When we understand who we are in Christ, the resources that are ours by spiritual birthright, and the power that living a life of obedience yields to our earthly benefit, we will regain our true identity and rise up in unison to advance the Light that is Jesus Christ.

© 2018 NWV – All Rights Reserved

E-Mail Mike Spaulding: [email protected]

[BIO: Mike Spaulding was ordained to the ministry in 1998.  Since then he has planted two Calvary Chapel churches – Calvary Christian Fellowship, St. Marys, Ohio, in 1998, and Calvary Chapel of Lima, Ohio, in 2005, where he currently serves as teaching pastor. Mike holds a B.A. in Organizational Management, a Masters Degree in Theological Studies, and a Ph.D. in apologetics. E:Mail Mike Spaulding: [email protected]]

Footnotes:

[1] Unless otherwise stated all Scripture references are from The New American Standard Bible Expanded Edition, 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: Lockman Foundation).

[2] For stats on pornography among professing believers  –  Accessed March 8, 2018. For stats on abortion  –  Accessed March 8, 2018.  For stats on same-sex unions  –  Accessed March 8, 2018.

[3] Statistics available hear.  Accessed February 25, 2018.

[4] 1 Peter 2:9 in the KJV.

[5] I will provide specific reasons why men must pray for their wives in a future article.

[6] Covering Your Husband in Prayer 31 Days available here  –  Accessed February 26, 2018.

[7] Mark 12:29-31; John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; for example.

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