Learning who we are in Christ was my lifeline to understanding God’s love, acceptance and freedom; however, what the Scriptures say about us does not always look and feel true in our experience. When that happens, we walk by faith. This came home to me one day in my prayer time. On the top of my personal list at that time was “Please, Lord, give me a gentle and quiet spirit.” My personality type is not one of the more popular personalities, nor are my spiritual gifts—prophecy and discernment. It was easy to let that unpopularity influence how I looked at myself. Not being appreciated or accepted for my honesty contributed to my self-rejection, and I struggled to separate things that did need to be changed from things that needed to be accepted. I did not always distinguish between the two very well.
On this particular day I asked God again to please give me a gentle and quiet spirit. As I sat there, I heard Him speak quietly in my heart, “You already have one. Now thank me for it.” I could not believe what I had heard! How could that be? How could I do that? “Not a chance,” my emotions screamed. But deep inside my spirit I knew—Yes! That would be faith. Not only would it be faith (agreeing with God no matter what), but since it was His voice I was hearing, it would also be obedience. So, I said aloud and wrote in my journal, “Thank you, Lord, that I have a gentle and quiet spirit.” It was one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever done. It went against all my feelings and self-evaluations, but it was part of what I was learning about my new identity and walking in grace and freedom.
Did anyone else notice right away that I already had a gentle and quiet spirit? Not at all. Not for a very long time. But I had to say it was so from then on, walking by faith that what God says is true, NOT going by how I felt, looked, sounded, or acted. This was faith. This was pleasing to God. This was receiving His grace. It changed my life.
Looking at how we often have to walk out what God says versus going by what we are feeling or acting like brings us to an important part of intimacy with Jesus. We have to learn to separate personhood and behavior. Personhood is who we are both uniquely and in our spirits. Behavior is our actions, attitudes, and appearances. These two are not the same. The best way to see it is to ask yourself, “If I bark, am I a dog?” We will look more at the differences as we continue.
Is there a godly characteristic that you long to have real in your life? By faith, claim that it is already true about you because of Christ. Don’t look to your behavior for proof. Look to Him and what He says.