“And they have defeated him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony”
See Revelation 12:11
I used to be a very private person, I could keep secrets with the best of them; and not just secrets about others, but about myself. Deep, dark, nasty secrets. That would soon change.
When I finally decided to allow Christ to live through me, I mean really give Him full access to every part of my life, I no longer had the desire to be uber-secretive. My thought life was maturing and growing. Hiding and Jesus don’t mix. Secrets and Jesus don’t mix. They’re like oil and water. Had I known this, and what God was about to do through me being extremely candid about my past, the enemy and Old Matt might have fought New Matt a lot harder!
If you aren’t familiar with my writings, in my first book, True Purpose In Jesus Christ, I dedicated nearly an entire chapter talking about myself in the third person, about “Old Matt.” Not in a cocky way, but in a way that makes me seem like I’m fighting myself. To be clear, I wasn’t fighting myself. Myself was fine. I was fighting old ways of thinking.
Christians are not at battle with themselves! However, we are constantly putting to death old mindsets. Our thought processes of how we handle every situation are being reshaped by the Holy Spirit over time, as we live out our human lives (see Philippians 1:6).
In heaven, our minds will be complete just like our spirit is now. How is this? Because when everything fades to black our souls will no longer be influenced by the power of sin, the forces of hell, temptations, nor anything else of this fallen world.
Our identity, however, is already enjoying the divine nature with God! Peter explains this amazing truth to the early Church–that is, what’s really happened to our spirits:
“He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (See 2 Peter 1:4)
Let’s not gloss over those words divine nature. Divine means of, from, or like God. Nature means the basic or inherit features of something; inborn or hereditary characteristics.
Do you see it?! Peter is telling us that we have the very nature of our Creator! THIS IS HUGE! He’s not talking about behavior but instead identity! If you glance back up at that verse, you’ll also see I’ve underlined has given and having escaped–both are past tense!
CHRISTIAN, DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO YOU ARE?!
Every believer in Jesus Christ has been given the very characteristics of God in their spirit. We are spirits, everlasting spirits! We have souls but we are spirits! What God has done in you and to you–in order to work through you–makes a lot more sense when we divide actions and attitudes from identity!
Although secretive Old Matt was dead, some of his thought processes remained in my mind like an old recording. New Matt–my resurrected spirit combined with Christ’s–fought Old Matt’s thinking, and part of that fight was to not stay secretive. Part of that fight was to not look polished in regard to my past and even current struggles. People need to know what we’ve been through so we can be relatable. Nobody cares about how well-behaved we are when they are hurting. They need our empathy.
Now, I do have to point one other thing out. When I say fight, I’m explaining a conflict through growth in our thinking. There are some Christians who have become dogmatic about rest–and I get it. They don’t want you to use the word principle, battle, or fight–and it would kill them to be a little charismatic. But we are at battle–with old mindsets! We are at battle with demonic forces who influence our thinking!
These forces, along with the power of sin, twist our thoughts, tempt us, and lie to us. So we must get to the point where we are fighting against old unrenewed thinking and the enemy. Yes, in a state of rest as we continually “put on” Christ–but remember, Christ is also courageous! Courage allows us to push forward despite being afraid of the holy actions and attitudes we aren’t used to living out! We are learning that we are saints, and that’s weird to us!
Christians fight the best when we know who we are in spirit: God’s child, with God’s nature! We are to put on our true selves–what’s in us, let it come out–and as we do, we fight properly. With this appropriate thinking, when we fail, we don’t give up because we still know who we are.
I had been New Matt since I was a boy, my spirit had been saved since the mid-80s. But because of choosing to walk by the flesh for decades, my thoughts were prideful and I had many secrets. Old Matt had been dead for a long time, but I kept listening to his recordings in my mind along with the enemy’s chatter. As I grew in the knowledge of my true identity in Christ, both voices became weaker.
However, such utterances constantly led me to hide my mistakes and belittle my past. “Don’t talk about that! They will think less of you!”
Killing off old, incorrect thoughts is a major process, but Jesus is going to help you! Paul said we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and he also said Christ will strengthen us in all things! (See Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:13). To be able to do this, all you have to do is be your true self! A saintly spirit!
That might sound arrogant but it’s the truth! We are saints! Saint simply means set apart! It means holy! (See Hebrews 10:10). Who has set you apart? YOUR DAD! (See Romans 8:1) From what? The world! (See 1 John 4:4). To where? Heaven! When? Right now, not when we die! (See Ephesians 2:6). How? Through your faith in Jesus! (See John 1:12).
Paul calls some of the worst behaved people on the planet saints in the opening chapters of first and second Corinthians. Why would he do that? Because he wanted to get their thoughts right about who they are! Only then would their behavior begin to match up organically. He tells the Colossians the same:
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22)
Holy! Without blemish! Free from accusation! SAINTS! Saints don’t keep secrets! We use our past for our testimonies to help others who are struggling with the same things! Why do you think you went through it in the first place? It was so God could use it through you in the future! The future is now!
So today, my friends, know this: Be transparent. Let God use your past for your purpose. Yes, your true purpose is to be one with Christ and to get a new spirit by grace through faith. But afterwards, as a saint, more purpose remains as you live out your sainthood. Every Christian is an equal saint! So be active because God is active and He lives in you! Tell your story and be who you truly are! Somebody needs it! There’s no pressure on you but somebody needs it!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching me who I am. Thank you for renewing my mind and giving me the courage to talk about my past. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are trapped in a self-made prison of secrets, BREAK THEIR MINDSETS FREE! Give them that extra boost of courage to escape secretiveness! Teach them the truth of their identity! You don’t waste any part of our past, so whatever they bring into the light you’ll use it to help others who are struggling with the same stuff! You did this for me so I know you’ll do it for them! In Christ’s awesome name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!