“In me is working a power stronger than every other power. The life that is in me is a thousand times bigger than I am outside.” —Smith Wigglesworth.
“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.”
— Romans 1:15 KJV (emphasis mine)
I Have a Lion on the Inside
The men in our men’s Life Group at church really like to tease. One guy with a drug and alcohol background is greeted every time like he is in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting: “Hello Frank” is the chorus. The leader, our Associate Pastor, worship leader, and a former bodybuilder is told our reading group is a (ladies) Book Club. (I have been tempted to bring lace bookmarks for all the guys). Me, I get teased for telling too many stories and talking too long. You see, life-changing encounters need to be told, especially when God shows off. But they can be hard to tell in brief.
Driving to the meeting recently, I prayed, “Lord, help me watch that I do not speak too much, but not hold back what you give me.” The evening went well. I shared what I felt He led me to tell. Upon arriving home, my wife asked about the meeting and I told her how it went. But then it burst out of my mouth, “I cannot act as a mouse when I have a lion on the inside of me!”
Ego. Often boldness, especially in a Christian, can be mistaken for “ego.” But was that the case with Jesus when He said with godly confidence:
He that has seen Me has seen the Father John 14:9
Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going:John 8:14
Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.John 5:19
Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM’John 8:58
But you say, “But that was Jesus.”
That was Jesus. And why did He come? Let’s look again to the Words of Jesus in His High Priestly Prayer for all believers (those today as well in generations past):
Jesus Purpose was to Sanctify Us!
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world…And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.John 17:17-21
Jesus Purpose was to Perfect Us
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.John 17:22-23 (emphasis mine)
What we are talking about here is identification, or maybe even more precisely: identity. The real question here is: who are you? Who am I? Who, and what is a Christ-follower?
You’re a Tomato
We all remember the creation account in Genesis 1. In verse 12, it says the seed is of itself.
So, whose seed, are you? Ponder that. Yes, let’s say it together:
Then God said, let us make man (mankind) in Our image, according to Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’. Genesis 1:26 (emphasis mine)
A Chip Off the Old Block
We are a ‘chip off the old block’, ‘two peas of a pod’, yes, if our seed were from a tomato plant, we would be a tomato. Yet far too many believers in Christ sell themself short. And we preachers are partially to blame. Many watered-down versions of the Scriptures or outright untruths are prolifically proclaimed among us and from our pulpits. To just name a few of what Steve would call sacred cows:
Sacred Cow #1: “I’m Not Perfect, Only Forgiven”
Yet we just read Jesus prayed we be sanctified. That word is hagios in the Greek. It is the identical word (or a derivative of) the New Testament word for holiness. Jesus came to make a bunch of tomatoes — not cucumbers, avocados, or squash — you understand my poor analogy. He came to duplicate Himself in us! The text in Hebrews concurs:
Jesus’ Blood did it all!
‘Then He said, ‘Behold, I (Jesus) have come to do Your will, O God,’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.Hebrews 10:9-13 (emphasis mine)
Jesus Has Made Our Spirit or Heart Clean!
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.’ Hebrews 10:14 (emphasis mine)
The Young’s Literal Translation which is very accurate for the correct verb tense (though awkward to read) reveals how strong the Bible is here. Let’s look at verses 10 and 14 again.
In the which will, we are having been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once… For by one offering he hath perfected to the end those sanctified; Hebrews 10:10,14 YLT (emphasis mine)
Awkward- but awesome!
Sacred Cow #2: “When God looks at us, He sees Jesus and not our sin”
What is the problem with this? The problem is that it drastically sells short what Christ came to do for all humanity! Jesus came to die for our sins. But unlike the Old Testament sacrifices for sins which were only covered before the eyes of God, as we already read in Hebrews above, Jesus’s blood does take away sin, not just covers it! Look at this profound passage of Scripture:
We are New Creations!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.2 Corinthians 5:17-20
The One Who Knew No Sin Became Our Sin
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. for He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.2 Corinthians 5:21 (emphasis mine)
The Passion Translation for this same passage is awesome:
Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. In other words, it was through the Anointed One that God was shepherding the world, not even keeping records of their transgressions, and he has entrusted to us the ministry of opening the door of reconciliation to God. We are ambassadors of the Anointed One who carry the message of Christ to the world, as though God were tenderly pleading with them directly through our lips. So we tenderly plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Turn back to God and be reconciled to him.” For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.2 Corinthians 5:17-21 TPT (emphasis mine)
Sacred Cow #3: “We all know we (as Christ-followers) sin every day.’
Jesus told more than one person to go and sin no more. He even warned, ‘lest a worse thing comes on you’. (John 5:14; 8:11) Was that a joke? Was that just an ideal, or something to strive for?
Looking at scripture, it states some amazing things, that are dramatically cross-culture to what many in Christianity swallow as the norm today.
Christ dealt with the Sin Problem
This is why he had to be a Man and take hold of our humanity in every way. He made us his brothers and sisters and became our merciful and faithful King-Priest before God; as the One who removed our sins to make us one with him. He suffered and endured every test and temptation so that he can help us every time we pass through the ordeals of life.Hebrews 2:17-18 TPT (emphasis mine)
Cling to the Truth by Faith
So then, we must cling in faith to all we know to be true, for we have a magnificent King-Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose into the heavenly realm for us and sympathizes with us in our frailty. (v. 15) He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way as we are, and conquered sin. Hebrews 4:14-15 TPT (emphasis mine)
Focus on Jesus
And all who focus their hope on him will always be purifying themselves, just as Jesus is pure 1 John 3:3 TPT (emphasis mine)
God always makes his grace visible in Christ, who includes us as partners of his endless triumph. Through our yielded lives he spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere we go.2 Corinthians 2:14 TPT (emphasis mine)
Christ in you!
The key is to look; at what Christ has finished for us, and in us;. Paul’s burning revelation, the mystery, that was given him to preach everywhere was this:
The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them, God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.Colossians 1:26-27 (emphasis mine)
So, What is in You?
In our initial text, Paul predicates his famous statement about the Gospel, stating that he is ready to preach the Gospel, because ‘as much as in me is’. In other words, Paul both knew Who was in him, and because of this, he knew who he was. That made him ready to preach!
Paul Had a Revelation.
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:15-17 KJV (emphasis mine)
Peter Had That Revelation, Too!
Peter had the same revelation. Remember the lame man who was carried out to the temple entrance at the gate called Beautiful? The man begged for a few coins as Peter and John approached. Peter looked the man in the eye and said, ‘Look at us!’ The man expected to receive something. Then Peter proclaimed:
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none: but such as I have give I thee; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. Acts 3:6-8 KJV (emphasis mine)
What did Peter have? He had a revelation burning inside of him: ‘I cannot act as a mouse when I have a lion on the inside of me!’ Peter had a revelation that Christ was in him!!!
Declarative, Transformative, Causative
There are some that say that righteousness is only declarative — meaning that God has legally called and considers us righteous. He does call us and considers us righteous by the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. Wonderful. But beyond declarative righteousness, Jesus Christ has indeed transformed us from the inside out! He has made us become the righteousness of God in Christ. He has caused us to become a brand new creature that never existed before- made the righteousness of God. God has done this in our spirit man. Our soul must still be renewed.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.… God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God…2 Corinthians 5:17,21 NIV (emphasis mine)
Purpose and Intent
I am not going to qualify by scholarly argument or make reference to the Greek verb tenses- honestly out of my wheelhouse, though I do some reading and study of these. Rather I emphatically declare that Jesus Christ has completely changed us down through to become the righteousness of God argued by the original plan and the intent of God.
Look at Creation
What do I mean? First, consider the creation account in Genesis. What was God’s original plan in His creation of mankind before he sinned? Look at what our Creator stated as His purpose and intent:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ Genesis 1:26 KJV (emphasis mine)
Likeness & Image
Likeness. His image. Profound. God Almighty brought us into being, produced, conceived, designed, forged, generated, brought us into existence… a few synonyms for the word create. He brought us into His life, to be like Him. God chose to make us in His image- to be a member of His family.
Why Do We Want a Child of Our Own?
Why does a couple want to have a child of their own? To become a member of their family. To become their child- of their making, an actual part of the mother and the father of their very own DNA.
To love them, and cherish them and give them everything of themselves they can so the child can have the best life and be the best person he or she can possibly be. That is the intent of any loving set of parents. Jesus said:
If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask him? Matthew 7:11 TPT
The Original Plan
Why is this significant? It is imperative to understand why God made us! His intent in making you and me, (the human race, before stepping out from a right relationship with our creator) was to make us like Him, like His very self. That means we were created to be holy, pure, beautiful, lovely, intelligent, creative, fabulous beings, like God Himself. Again, why is this significant? It is significant because redemption in Christ was all about restoration to the Original Plan of God.
The Intent of God
This brings us to the intent of why God the Father was pleased to bruise Him (Jesus). The New International Version is ghastly here:
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.Isaiah 53:10 NIV (emphasis mine)
God Completely Restored Us
So God could fully and completely restore us to Himself, as holy and beautiful and righteous as Himself, as we were (mankind) in the Garden with God before we all screwed it up! Jesus came to fix us, not just patch us up! I know I keep asking “why?” over and again, but we have to think this through! Salvation is about restoring each and every one of us to the beautiful state of being to which we were conceived, designed, forged, to be in the first place, when man used to hang out with His Maker in the Garden in the cool of the day. (Genesis 3:8)
Understanding who we are only comes from God. Who He says we are is the only truly accurate view. Therefore, His view supersedes all others. Specifically, understanding, or revelation, comes by and through the Holy Spirit. He is the teacher.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.John 14:26
The Holy Spirit Opens to Us the Mind of God
The Holy Spirit has come so He might open to us the mind and the intent of God. About all things:
- How we know and view God
- How we view others
- How we assess the situations of life
- How we see our own selves.
How we view ourselves is crucial because this becomes the lens by which we judge and discern everything else and everyone around us.
We Treat Others How We See Ourselves
I will never forget my pastor from thirty years ago proclaiming in a sermon: “People treat others ugly because they see themselves as ugly.” What we need in life most of all is to fix ourselves, not the people and circumstances around us.
Obviously, we need God’s help to do this.
So how does that work? He does it by explosive revelation! What do I mean? Recall how Jesus made the following unique claim:
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”John 5:19
Jesus as a man walking this earth was wholly dependant upon His Father God. He chose to assess life, get direction, make decisions for what he thought, said, and did, based upon one thing — what God showed Him! Notice how Jesus said, “the Son (speaking of Himself) can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do.” We have no problems with a statement that Jesus would do nothing but what the Father had shown Him. But He stated He could do nothing.
We Must Do What He Shows Us
Our take-away is if we are going to do it right (all our thoughts, words, and deeds), there is only one way: be entirely dependent and obedient to only do what God shows us. That is revelation — the revealed plan and purpose for our lives in every detail. Oh, the mistakes I could have avoided had I had this perspective earlier in life.
Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong. Then you will find the healing refreshment your body and spirit long for.Proverbs 3:5-8 TPT
In Keeping, We See
Jesus answered and said to him: “If anyone loves Me he will keep My Word and My Father will love him and We will come to him and make an abode with Him. The one not loving Me does not keep My Words and the Word which you hear is not mine but of Him having sent Me the Father.” John 14:21 AWT (ACCUWORD translation) (emphasis mine)
Keep to Obey
Some translations substitute “obey” for the word “keep,” but most texts translate this as “keep.” In Greek, the word is teron:
- keep (teron)
- from the word teros meaning ‘a watch’ like a guard on duty.
It carries the connotation of “keeping a valued treasure.”
That is what we are supposed to do with the Word of God. How is that different from obey? After all, we are to obey the Word. The difference is stark, and it is profound.
Guard the Word in Your Heart
Using the term “obey” points to our own effort. However, to keep the Word (guarded in our heart as a treasure) positions us for a miracle. A miracle of sudden understanding revelation given to us by the Holy Spirit. All of the sudden we have the ability to do it. We literally see ourselves doing the Word. This originates from God. It is not our willpower (like Peter, though all deny you, I will die with you Lord — and we know how that came out!) But this is ‘such as I have’ (revealed plan, will, and worth revealed from God).
Suddenly We Can See
This is a natural progression God set up from the very beginning: the seed is in itself. Everything produces after its kind. That includes the Word of God made flesh: Jesus. As His Word is quickened (made alive) on the inside of us, suddenly we see what we could not see. We now have something we did not have beforehand: the ability to do. To do what God says we are to do, not through our own willpower, but because of the breath of the Holy Spirit upon the Word of God treasured and allowed to germinate in our hearts.
Then it become outwardly evident in our lives by our actions. This is miraculous, and it is God’s method of producing after His kind: the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ in and through our lives.
This is the secret to a transformed life. It is a gift, a heavenly gift from a loving Father.
So how do you get this? How do you get this revelation to burn within you? Let’s look at some simple, yet essential, practical steps.
- Step 1: Find scriptures which show where your identity truly comes from according to God. You are in Christ, and He is in you. Better yet, find a few of them (you are welcome to choose from any listed in this blog post).
- Step 2: Meditate upon the scriptures you have chosen.
- to murmur, ponder, imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, utter
As you do this, look up other verses which come to mind, investigate the meaning of a word that is unclear, and then repeat again.
Why is this important? Because your heart is a furnace to produce the things that God has revealed to you, but you must cook the word in your heart for the savory juices of understanding (and ensuing useful application) to be produced in your life. As we meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit reveals.
But God has revealed them (the things which God has prepared for His people) to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except for the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 (emphasis and parentheses mine)
- Step 3: Stop listening. Stop listening to those jackal voices telling you you cannot live powerfully in Christ. Stop listening to the sacred cows constantly mooing your defeat, telling you that you are less than. No! YOU ARE an OVERCOMER in Christ!!
- Step 4: As you see, do. What do I mean by this? The Lord told Joshua that as he held the Word of God dear and meditated upon it, he would begin to see differently. He would begin to see himself able to do what God told him he was able to do.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth (keep it on your tongue), but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:8 (emphasis and parentheses mine)
Know we cannot do the Christian life in our own strength. Notice I said we. We can only be and do the God-in-Sandals life by the Holy Spirit opening the Word of God and transforming us from the inside out. It is of God. And it is supernatural. Expect miraculous help to be like Christ; that is His plan.
NOTE: Those enfolded into Christ, nd have become an entirely new person are new in their spirit. The soul has yet to be and must be renewed by the Word of God. In the next article, Spirit & Soul: the Renewing of the Mind, I will deal with the difference between ‘soul and spirit’ (Hebrews 4:12) and the renewing of the mind. God has done His part. Now it is time for us to do ours.
The reason I am addressing identity first before discussing soul-winning is that we are to be witnesses as opposed to simply just going witnessing. We are called to do both, but knowing who we are, and Whose we are, and Who is in us is paramount to winning souls to Christ. It is also central to living a successful life as a follower of Christ. It is the ‘as your soul prospers’ principle discussed in 3 John 2.
A Precious Example
I experienced the following precious event on one of my many trips to India. May it inspire you!
We had a 3:30am departure by van as we were leaving India on that particular trip. Then we had a domestic flight, and then onto our international connection home. Our Indian contact pushed the young driver hard to the point of recklessness passing trucks in the dark on blind curves to make our flight time. We had to be on time for the domestic flight check-in or we would miss our flight to the US. We arrived right on time, but disovered the ticket agent had already re-sold our seats. Because we were Americans, they agreed to put us on the evening flight to the coast without charging us again which still allowed us to make our connection. The airport was in the South-Central Indian city of Madurai. I had been there the year before and knew of a hotel, so we booked a room to relax for the day.
You the God-man!
At lunchtime, we went down to the hotel’s restaurant. As our server approached, I recognized him. The year before the associate pastor from my church and I had led this man to Christ. There were two waiters there who we had led to Christ: one named Philip who had a Lutheran upbringing, and this young man named Jayaraj who had been a Hindu. I greeted Jayaraj, and asked, “Do you remember me?”
His reply completely took me by surprise. His warm response was, “Oh yes! You the God-man that met me Jesus!”
My heart was struck. Then my reasoning said within me, “Well I am a man, and I am of God; so yes, I’m a God-man!”
After all these years that greeting has warmed my heart! Jayaraj had already begun attending Bible school and was himself starting a Christian school for children! Amazing! All because he was led to Christ the year before.
Know this: each one of you is a “God-man” or a “God-woman.” Know who you are and Whose you are!
This is a fabulous song. I would recommend listening to it several times and letting the revelation of the victory Jesus has purchased for you and me sink into your spirit. HE has made you more than a conqueror!
I’ve tried so hard to see it
Took me so long to believe it
That You choose someone like me
To carry Your victory
Perfection could never earn it
You give what we don’t deserve it
You take the broken things
And raise them to glory
You are my Champion
Giants fall when You stand
Every battle You’ve won
I am who You say I am
You crown me with confidence
I am seated
In the heavenly place
With the One who has conquered it all
Now I can finally see it
You’re teaching me how to receive it
So let all the striving cease
This is my victory
When I lift my voice and shout
Every wall comes crashing down
I have the authority
Jesus has given me
When I open up my mouth
Miracles start breaking out
I have the authority
Jesus has given me
You are my Champion
Giants fall when You stand
Every battle You’ve won!
I am who You say I am
You crown me with confidence
I am seated
In the heavenly place
By the power of Your Name
I am seated
In the heavenly place
With the One who has conquered it all
I know who I am because I know Whose I am!
There’s nothing left to prove!
There’s nothing left to prove!
He freely gave His life!
REPEAT 3RD CHORUS