Saint Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive and fully alive consists of beholding God.” The furious longing of God for you is a reality that is meant to cause life to explode from your heart.

The truth is that most of us live primarily out of our natural identities. Our natural identity consists of how we look/compare to people – our jobs, our money, who we know, our gifts, skills, abilities and achievements. Our natural identity is insidious. We think we’re not living out of it and yet, most often, we are. But honestly, it’s a horrible, horrible way to live since there is not a person alive who has enough of these things to feel good about themselves on a consistent basis. We are doomed to feel like failures living by our natural identities.

Yet when we came to know Jesus a new identity became available to us. It’s a spiritual identity. It’s what we look like to God. What we look like to God is that we are the object of His desire. God desires us with such intensity that it sent Jesus to the cross (John 17; Psalm 18: 19; Psalm 16:3) .

When God the Spirit reveals what God the Father and Son are like to us (specifically how they see us) something deep within us cries out, “Yes!” Something begins to come alive inside of us. We are empowered for righteousness, worship and the word of God. Obedience seems reasonable.

When the word of God is awakened within us through the Holy Spirit and causes us to progressively transfer the source of our life from our natural identity to our spiritual identity, when we begin to live out of the power of what we look like to God instead of from the lack of power that comes from what we look like to people then we begin to come alive on the inside like we never thought possible.

Consider the apostle Peter in John 21. He denied Jesus three times. He must have felt like a hopeless hypocrite, an abysmal failure. So he went back to fishing.  Jesus wouldn’t leave him alone. He asked, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter replied, “Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You!” Here Jesus is calling Peter to trade in his shame for his true identity. Jesus caused Peter to reject the definition of his life as a hopeless hypocrite. God didn’t see Him as a denier of Jesus. God saw the cry in Peter’s heart to love and that’s how He defined him.

God doesn’t define your life by your weaknesses.  People most often define you by your struggles but God defines you by the cry in your heart to be a wholehearted lover of Him. When this truth touches our hearts then, bursts forth, life!

Joel Ratcliffe

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