The difference between the two Adam’s in our history is the need to be sure we are identifying with the right one. Understanding and acting upon who we are in Jesus Christ is the basis for successful growth and maturity.
Our daily performance is often marked by personal failure and disobedience, which disappoints us and disrupts the harmony of our ambassadorship of God’s reconciliation. In our attempts to understand the disobedience which so often disturbs our ambassadorship, are we unwitting victims of our old identity?
Our old identity which we have inherited from the disobedience of the first Adam, is like a big black dog, but through the redemptive work of the second Adam, Jesus Christ, God put his power from on high in us, when we got born anew, and that power is like a big white dog.
Whenever we involve ourselves in worldly thoughts or behavior, we are feeding the black dog. Whenever we focus our mind and activities on matters of our ambassadorship, we are feeding the white dog. The dog we feed the most will eventually grow stronger and overpower the other.
God has not given us the power to imitate him, he has made us partakers of his righteousness, so that we can actually dwell with him. He did not say, “Here are my standards, now you measure up.” God knows we cannot solve the problem of our old identity, Adam in rebellion, by simply improving our behavior.
When we choose to walk according to the old identity, in which we were trained before becoming born anew, such behavior violates our ambassadorship. When this happens, we feel convicted because our behavior is not in keeping with who we really are.
In fact, if a person does something which they know is morally wrong, but feels no conviction, we should seriously doubt that that person is part of the Body of Christ. We commit sin when we willfully allow ourselves to act independent of our ambassadorship, as our old identity did as a matter of course.
So why do we still react as if our old identity is still in control of our behavior? Because, while we served under it, our old identity trained and conditioned our actions, reactions, emotional responses, thought patterns, memories and habits in our brain.
Our worldly experiences thoroughly programmed our brain with thought patterns, memory traces, responses and habits. Our brain still generates humanistic thoughts and ideas, and our old identity is that part of us which was trained and determined to succeed and survive by our own abilities.
When we became born anew, God did not press the “clear” button in our brain, our old identity persists in suggesting ways to live independent of our ambassadorship of God’s reconciliation. The first thing we need to know about the battle for our mind, is that the main targets which must be destroyed are the fortresses in our mind, or called strongholds.
Strongholds are negative patters of thought which are burned into our minds, either through repetition over time or through one-time traumatic experiences. The worldly stimulation we were exposed to was both brief and prevailing.
Every day we lived in this environment, we were influenced by it and preconditioned to conform to it. Brief stimulation includes individual events, situations, places, and personal encounter’s we experienced. We were influenced by books, movies, music, and traumatic events we experienced or witnessed.
We learned a way to cope with these experiences, and resolve the conflicts they produced. Prevailing stimulation consists of long-term exposure to our environment, such as the influence of our family, friends, peers, neighborhood, teachers, and jobs.
There are beings active in the world today who have opposed God before the Garden of Eden. Satan and his devil spirits are actively involved on trying to distract us from our ambassadorship, peppering our mind with their thoughts and ideas.
They are relentless in their attempts to establish negative, worldly patterns of thought in our mind, which will in turn produce negative, worldly patterns of behavior. Whenever we are stimulated to conform to our old identity, we are experiencing temptation.
The essence of all temptation is the invitation to live independent of our ambassadorship. Satan and his devil spirits knows just which buttons to push to tempt us away from our ambassadorship. They have observed our behavior over the years, and they know where we are vulnerable, and that is where they will attack.
The moment we are tempted to get our need met in the world, we are at the threshold of a decision. If we do not immediately choose to take that thought captive, we will begin to consider it as an option. And if we begin to mull it over in our mind, immediately our emotions will be affected and the likelihood of yielding to that temptation is increased.
We must capture the tempting thought in the first frame or it will probably capture us. Once our consideration of a temptation has triggered an emotional response, we will act upon that choice and own that behavior.
We may resent our actions or claim that we are not responsible for what we do, but we are responsible for our actions at this stage, because we failed to take a tempting thought captive when it first appeared at the threshold of our mind.
If we continue to repeat an act for more than six weeks, we will form a habit, and if we exercise that habit long enough, a stronghold will be established. Once a stronghold of thought and response is entrenched in our mind, our ability to choose and to act contrary to that pattern is virtually nonexistent, and negative thoughts and actions we cannot control, spring from a stronghold.
Somewhere in the past we consciously or unconsciously formed a pattern of thinking and behaving which now controls us. Simply putting on the armor of our Father at this stage will not solve our dilemma, these strongholds are already entrenched and fortified.
If the strongholds in our mind are the result of conditioning, then we can be reconditioned by the renewing of our mind. Anything that has been learned, can be unlearned, but we are also up against Satan and his devil spirits who are scheming to fill our mind with thoughts which are opposed to our ambassadorship.
Their strategy is to introduce their thoughts and ideas into our mind and deceive us into believing that they are ours. If they can place a thought in our mind-and they can, it is not much more of a trick for them to make us think it is our idea. If we knew that suggestion was theirs, we would reject the thought, but when they disguise their suggestion as our idea, we are more likely to accept it.
If they can get us to believe a lie, they can control our life. If we fail to take a thought captive to the obedience of our ambassadorship, but believe it, their power is in the lie. They have no power over us except what we give them by failing to take every thought captive, and thus being deceived into believing their lies, and since their primary weapon is the lie, our defense against them is the truth.
Dealing with Satan and his devil spirits is not a power encounter, it is a truth encounter. When we expose their lie with God’s truth, their power is broken. By preparing our minds for action, we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind, by filling it with God’s truth, as we continue to stockpile our mind with his truth, we will equip ourselves to recognize the lie and take it captive.
We need to practice threshold, first-frame thinking, evaluate every thought by the truth, and do not give place to the lie. People may not always live what they profess, but they will always live what they believe. If our behavior is off, we need to correct what we believe, because our misbehavior is the result of our disbelief.
We can know on a moment-by-moment basis if our ambassadorship is properly aligned with his truth. God has established a feedback system which is designed to grab our attention, so we can examine the validity of our goal.
That system is our emotions. When an experience leaves us feeling angry, anxious, or depressed, those emotional signposts are there to alert us that we may be cherishing a faulty goal. When our activity results in feelings of anger, it is usually because someone or something has blocked our goal.
Any goal which can be blocked by forces we cannot control (other then God’s goal) is not a healthy goal, because our success in that arena is out of our hands. Feelings of anger should prompt us to reexamine our ambassadorship, and the mental goals we have formulated to accomplish God’s message of reconciliation.
When we feel anxious in a task, our anxiety may be signaling the uncertainty of a goal we have chosen. We are wishing something will happen, but we have no guarantee that it will. We can control some of the factors, but not all of them.
When we base our future success on something that can never happen, we have an impossible goal. Our depression is a signal that our goal, no matter how noble, may never be reached. Depression often signals that we are desperately clinging to a goal we have little or no chance of achieving, and that is not a healthy goal.
Achieving God’s goals for our ambassadorship is learning to distinguish his goal, from his desire. It is a critical distinction, because it can spell the difference between success and failure. His goal is any specific result reflecting his purposes for our ambassadorship, that does not depend on people or circumstances beyond our ability.
The only person who can block his goal or render it uncertain or impossible is us, and if we adopt the attitude of cooperation with his goals, his goal can be reached. His desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people or the success of events or favorable circumstances we cannot control.
We cannot base our self-worth or our personal success on our desires, no matter how godly they may be, because we cannot control their fulfillment. When a desire is wrongly elevated to a goal, and that goal is frustrated, we must deal with all the anger, anxiety, and depression which may accompany that failure.
Dealing with the disappointments of unmet desires is a lot easier then dealing with the anger, anxiety, and depression of goals, we would do well to distinguish goals from desires. When we begin to align our goals with God’s goals for our ambassadorship, and our desires with his desires, we will rid our life of a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression.
God’s basic goal for our life, is character development. The tribulations we face are actually a means of achieving our supreme goal of maturity, because persevering tribulations is the doorway to proven character, which is his goal for us.
Perhaps the greatest service performed by trails and tribulations in our lives is to reveal wrong goals. We need occasional mountaintop experiences, but the fertile soil for growth is alway down in the valleys of tribulation, not on the mountaintops.
It is during these times of pressure that our emotions raise their warning flags signaling blocked goals, uncertain goals and impossible goals which are based on our desires, instead of God’s goal for our ambassadorship. His plan is for us to hang in there and grow up, and tribulation just happens to be one of the primary stepping stones on the pathway.