You know what the Bible has to say about our identity in Christ and how to leave your past behind you to walk in freedom.
But if you don’t understand how bitterness can destroy your identity in Christ, all that you’ve learned is useless.
It is possible to walk in your identity in Christ, only to regress to a life of insecurity, hurt, and under a weight of failure and bitterness.
This is the strategy that the enemy will use to cause you to walk away from a life of freedom and grace back into bondage.
This is why Paul said, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
One Prevailing Reason Why Bitterness Destroys Your Identity in Christ
The Bible is clear about the importance of forgiveness in the life of the believer.
In fact, Jesus said that if we refuse to forgive those who have offended us, we will not forgive us. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15
Bitterness will destroy your identity in Christ because it shuts off the fountain of grace from flowing into our lives.
Without the continual receiving and giving of grace, our identity in Christ begins to wither and die.
For our identity in Christ to grow and give life, both to our spirit and to those around us, we must have a constant flow of grace in and through us.
Unforgiveness stops that flow every single time.
Unforgivness is literally a rejection of that grace!
Embracing our identity in Christ requires we first embrace God’s grace
He had a married couple come to the front. The husband represented God’s grace and the wife represented a person who would decide to embrace or reject grace.
Whenever we are faced with a painful situation: a loss, rejection, offense, failure – whatever it may be, God’s grace is right behind us waiting for us to embrace it.
Sermon: The Missing Part
We can turn around and embrace His grace, and when we do it will embrace us back!
Or we can choose to reject His grace and walk in bitterness, disappointment, and disillusionment.
This is why Jesus said in Matthew 6 that if we do not forgive our offenders, He cannot forgive us our offenses.
We encounter an enormous problem when we refuse to forgive. Harboring unforgiveness actually prevents our own sins from being forgiven.
As the weight of our own sins continual to pile up between us and God, the life of the spirit – the free grace of God – is shut off.
Without the flow of grace into our lives, our identity in Christ experiences crisis and we slowly begin to sink back into the bondage we lived in before He set us free.
The only solution is to embrace God’s grace
Did you know that you can go back and apply God’s grace to those times when you rejected God’s grace?
Once you’ve realized how your refusal to embrace God’s grace has led you down a dark path of bitterness, negativity, cynicism, disillusionment, and frustration, you can choose to take the grace available to you now and apply it to those past situations!
This doesn’t just set us free, but it will set our offender free as well.
You see, in Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant, the master didn’t just forgive the servant a large amount of money, he set him free.
Had the master not forgiven the servant, he’d have gone to debtors prison until he’d paid back the debt. And given the size of debt he owed, he’d have been in prison for the rest of his life.
Grace doesn’t just set us free, it sets our offender free as well.
It has been said that forgiveness isn’t something we do for others, but something we do for ourselves.
Forgiveness is something we do for others as well as for ourselves. Forgiveness is a spiritual act. It has to be, because it requires the grace of God to forgive.
And I am convinced that when we embrace God’s grace and choose to extend that grace in a supernatural act of forgiveness, a miraculous freedom takes place in the other person’s heart as well as in ours.
Perhaps they are not immediately aware of that freedom, but I do believe that our choice to forgive causes a spiritual release to happen inside of them.
If we want to daily strengthen your identity in Christ, we must daily make a choice to forgive anyone who offends us.
We must daily choose not to hold their offense against them, thereby releasing to them the miraculous freedom that Christ extends to us continually.
This choice, and our decision to follow through with it, ensures that grace is daily flowing in and through us in abundant measure.
We were created in the image of God. He has called us to be Kingdom ambassadors here on earth. Our purpose is to reflect Him and glorify Him in all we do.
When we live and walk in this, we are living and walking in our identity as sons and daughters of God.
And we can only fulfill this when grace is flowing freely as we daily walk in forgiveness.
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