This is the second precept in the You Say I Am series. To start from the beginning, go to Who You Say I Am – My Person in Christ.
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].” 1 Peter 5:10
In the first part of this series, Who You Say I Am, we learn in Colossians 3:3 that we are with Christ in God. That is to say that our spirit person (who we are) and our spirit position (where we are) are so intimately linked with one another, they are in many ways one and the same. Moreover, who and where we are in Christ are more than just two attributes of our Christ-image. They don’t just accompany one other, they truly depend upon one other. We, as children of the Most High God, are simultaneously of Him, and in Him!
To comprehend and regard our spiritual position in Christ, it is fundamental that we explore our complete spiritual journey with Him from design to destination. Our position in the spirit is not only where God says we are…it is also where God says we began and to where He says we are heading. In Christ, we have our design, death, deliverance, destiny, and destination – our eternal life in Jesus.
In this article we will examine our spiritual path: God says, where we began is our Design, where we were born is our Death, where we rose to new life is our Deliverance, where we are today is our Destiny, and where we are heading is our Destination
Where God Says I Began – My Spiritual Design Our spiritual design can be found in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, the beginning of the beginnings. Make no mistake, God’s word is unquestionably clear – He spoke our commencement into existence and decreed that we were created in His image – in God as three persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – that is, in His divine character and nature (Genesis 1:27).
Though we were naturally born thousands of years after the creation events in the book of Genesis, our personal spiritual blueprint remains consistent and true to God’s original design of mankind – in His image! God’s purpose and plan for our life includes the very design by which He created us, and His purposeful destiny for our life stems from this construct. Our design is rooted in the unwavering image, (Character and nature) of God. Therefore, our spiritual and natural design can never change because, get this, God can never change (Hebrews 13:8)!
Where God Says I Died – My Spiritual Death Our first parents, Adam and Eve were created in accordance with a perfect design; and they functioned in that flawless form for one whole chapter of the Bible. In chapter three, however, the infamous and great fall of man (Adam) set into seemingly irrevocable motion the ripples of an unremitting and imminent sin nature that murdered the third figure of mankind’s original perfect design…the spirit. This death of the spirit continued to all future generations…and persists even today. Every person born after Adam and Eve was and is plagued with a stillborn spirit thus separating us from the glory of God and joining us to a sentence of death (Romans 5:12, Isaiah 59:2, James 1:15). As a result, the Bible says all are born into sin and there is no one who does good, not even one of us (Psalm 14:3). All of us now fall short of the glory (righteousness) of God on our own (Romans 3:23), and through our sinful disobedience, we deserve nothing less than the full, incomprehensible wrath of a holy and just God (Ephesians 5:6).
One might ask how we could possibly be dead in our spirit and still be positioned in Christ. Even though our spirit was designed and created by God, yet stillborn at our natural birth, God’s Spirit never ever left us. Jesus tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6 that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God is not limited to past and future – for Him, it is always “today.” Likewise His “Nevers” are not limited to future tense. When God tells us “He will never leave us nor forsake us…,” He means “Never before” and “Never in the future.” So, when God says, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” He means…never ever! At the creation of the world, even when darkness covered the face of the waters, and it was surrounded by emptiness and waste, the Spirit of God was hovering above (Genesis 1:1-2). Even when our spirit was sinking beneath the darkness of our deepest death, the Spirit of God was hovering above – knocking on the door of our hearts. And by faith, when we heard His voice and opened our hearts to Him, He entered in and restored us to new life, and a new position of unity with Himself (Revelation 3:20). There has never been a moment when we were not kept by the Spirit of a loving and most merciful God!
Where God Says I Rose to New Life – My Deliverance We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life [abandoning our old ways]. ~ Romans 6:4
In the simplest and dearest of terms, where newness of life in our spirit occurred was in the body and blood of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross, the greatest demonstration of love, redeemed our souls (Psalm 34:22), and breathed new life into our spiritual corpse – which was separated from Him since the day we were born (Ephesians 2:5). When Jesus died on the cross, we died with him. When He rose again in victory, we too rose to new life with Him and in Him. As the hovering Spirit of God breathed new life into our deceased spirit and our triune being, He effectively takes up residence within us. Now our body, soul, and newly regenerated spirit – are united for the first time since our design in the womb!
Before we traverse the threshold from deliverance into destiny, let us take it all in – what happened at the cross. What Jesus did for us on the cross is such a vital part of our position in Him, that it is worthy of marinating in for just a moment longer. Savoring Him. Cherishing Him. Treasuring Him. Pastor and theologian, John Piper, often quotes a profound truth, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Just let this wash over your mind for a moment…when Jesus died and was raised again by the power and glory of the Father, and when we were dead and rose again with him (a picture of our baptism), He not only delivered us from our death, He delivered us to our life! To our Destiny, and to our Destination! Just as Jesus was raised from death to life, we too were raised to new life, and all this was BY and FOR the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7)! Furthermore, as we develop a relationship with Jesus that is completely surrendered and wholly satisfied in Him alone, God is indeed glorified in us!
The word, “deliverance” in the Greek is “Dia,” which is translated into English as: “Intervening agent,” and “Successfully across.” There it is…the BIG PICTURE of God’s unfathomable love for us. Jesus went to the cross for you and for me as our “intervening agent’” and “successfully” delivered us “across” to our newness of life, which is, positionally speaking, life in HIM. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 captures the essence of His yearning desire for us to be in Him, and Him in us. That we would eternally be one in Him as He is One in us, and One with the Father (John 17:20-21). Once again, this is our spiritual position as Jesus successfully bridged the gap between our dark, desolate humanity and His loving, tender holiness; kindly intervening on our behalf as we cross over from deliverance into destiny.
Where God Says I Am Today – My Destiny Jesus told His disciples, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
“All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” Remember, we were created in the image of Jesus Christ, Who holds all power and authority, and Who now dwells within us through the Holy Spirit. As such, by His design, we have the full backing of the unlimited power and ruling authority of Almighty God inside of us – and He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)!
“Go therefore…” HereJesus is giving the command to go, but look closely…He says, “Go therefore…,” meaning, “Go, and fulfill the design in which I created you.” We were created in the image of His power and authority, so we should, therefore, walk in the fullness of His blessing and validation because He has placed it upon us, anointing us as His image-bearers, and therefore, His ambassadors!
“…and make disciples of all the nations…” This might sound like a tall order…especially for a new-born disciple! But look at how Jesus finishes the commission orders for His disciples of old – and for us today, “and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” God anointed us in His power, then He appoints us to the glorious destiny of sharing Him with the world!
Living according to the design of a holy creator, our destiny supernaturally flows like a river out of the design by which we were fashioned in the womb. During the conversion of Saul to the apostle Paul in the book of Acts, God asks him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). Jesus is telling Saul that deep down, he knows that he was living a life inconsistent with God’s design for him. Jesus told him that deep down, he knew that he was “kicking against the goads” (striving to find peace and joy in a life he knew was not his to live). This was the event that changed his life. Jesus “intervened” in his life, then brought him “successfully across” to his destiny as the apostle Paul.
Let’s look at destiny in yet another way. Picture a great big apple tree in a very large field – full of life and bearing great crops of apples year after year. And every season cycle, new apple trees begin to grow around the great tree and, they too begin to produce good fruit. In the natural, what is happening is an apple tree is rooted in the ground and making apples. In the spiritual, what is happening? A fruit tree, designed by God to produce apples, does so because that is the design God originally put into the tree. For an apple tree, it would “be hard to kick against the apple design.” An apple tree cannot bear oranges, nor can an orange tree produce apples. And what about those little apple trees growing around the bigger one? They exist because when the apples drop from the bigger tree, it’s seed falls to the ground, dies in the soil, and takes root. And in due season, it will grow to become like its bigger predecessor.
Where God Says I am Heading – My Destination How does our design befit our destiny? And furthermore, what does our design have to do with our destination? The truth is, where we began in Christ is precisely where we are headed. Our design and our destination are one and the same. We began in the image of Christ, and at the end of our days, we will arrive in glory into the image of Christ (1 John 3:2). Everything from beginning to eternity is all for God’s glory, which he purposed in us through His design, and continues throughout our lives while we live and move and have our being here on earth (1 Corinthians 10:31, Acts 17:28).
Our spiritual position, where God says we are, is in a maturating relationship with Jesus Christ. We began in His image, that is, like the apple tree, in His seed…His very design, plans, and purposes that He established for us personally long ago before time began. And even in our spiritual death, in our darkest moments of despair, longing, loneliness, and fear, He hovered above is in His Spirit. And when all seems utterly lost, He promises he will “intervene” to carry us “successively across” to his welcoming peace and joy. The Holy Spirit of God will intervene, but He will never interfere! He wants you to know Him…He already knows you and loves you relentlessly. He always wants what is His best for you…His design, his restoration, life in His glory, and eternity with Him.
My friend, I just want to encourage you today. Take some time and talk with Jesus today. Ask Him, “Where am I on my path toward you?” We know He has His holy and perfect design established in us. But do we still find that we are wandering wide on the spectrum between our fallen humanity and His supreme holiness? Am I yet to see my deliverance? Am I delivered, yet aimless in my position of destiny? I would just like to say, call out to God, even right now. Ask Him to bring you back to the plan and purpose He created you for. Believe in your heart that any way contrary to His design and purpose is “kicking against the goads,” and turn back to Him. Talk to him in earnest prayer that he would be your “intervening agent” and that He would carry you “successfully across” to the other side of your doubts, your anger, your depression, your addiction, your anxiety, and lead you with His powerful right hand and hold you up when you don’t have the strength to stand (Isaiah 41:10). To God be the glory!
Recommended Music: Glory to Glory