Dr. Phillip E. Davis Sr. | Holly Springs, North Carolina
According to Wikipedia, “The term ‘journey of self-discovery’ refers to a travel, pilgrimage, or series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel, personally, about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends, neighborhood, or peer pressure.” Similar is the case for discovering who you are in Christ.
When God chooses us, and we accept His invitation into the body of Christ, we go through a metamorphosis like a butterfly. In the case of the butterfly, their life begins in the form of an egg. The egg hatches and the result is a larvae or caterpillar. The caterpillar feeds and grows until it finally spins itself into a shell or pupa. During the pupa stage, the insect goes through several changes and finally emerges as a beautiful butterfly. These processes are collectively referred to as a metamorphosis. According to dictionary.com, “metamorphosis is defined as any complete change in appearance, character, circumstance, etc. There is a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” Let’s compare the similarities of the butterfly to that of a Christian. From my point of view, there are five phases of the Christian metamorphosis process.
The first phase is being born as a sinner. The Holy Bible teaches that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12-14). The second phase of the metamorphosis process is salvation or a new birth. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. This second phase or salvation is critical to the overall metamorphosis process. Without a sincere commitment to accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, one can never complete the metamorphosis process. Once a person accepts and commits to salvation, he/she begins to learn what it means to be saved. They begin to understand what it means to put on the new man as the apostle Paul described in Ephesians 4:20-24: “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
The third phase in this process is sanctification. Sanctification simply means that a person has reached the point in their salvation that they are set apart for God’s service, set apart as a vessel which contains and pours out the Spirit of God. You no longer live! Christ lives in you and through you (see Thessalonians 5:23).
The fourth phase of the metamorphosis process is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us: to make a difference in the world around us; to give life (John 7); to provide direction (John 14:26); to help us (Romans 8:23); to lead us (2 Corinthians 3:5); to make us effective (Acts 1:8); to use our gift (1 Corinthians 12:7); to be encouraged (Acts 9:31); to build our confidence (Romans 8:27); and to bring to mind those teachings of Jesus Christ and the early apostles (1 John 2).
The fifth phase of the metamorphosis process occurs when we transition from this life to eternal life. The apostle Paul says, “Dear brothers and sisters, our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God . . . but we will all be transformed . . . into bodies that will never die. . .” (1 Corinthians 15:51–55).
All of us must come to discover that our being is no different than the early apostles. They were set apart for service. So are we! They were empowered for service. We can be, too! The difference between them and us is they discovered who they were in Christ. They accepted their role as a vessel to hold the Lord’s Spirit. They accepted their role as a temple for God to live in. They accepted their role as the mouthpiece of God. What about us? Have you discovered who you are in Christ?
As for me, I am a preacher and teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am indwelled by the Holy Spirit wherein I have died to the flesh and have been set apart for the service of the Lord. I fully recognize as did the apostle Paul that “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, all things are new.” It has taken a while for me to figure this out but figure this out, I have. Have you discovered who you are in Christ?
A major part of the discovery process is to fully understand what it means to die. In other words, God is living His life through you because the natural you no longer lives. Upon salvation, sanctification and Holy Spirit empowerment, the natural you is supposed to be dead, so let it die; let it die for the glory of God to work through you. For many people, this concept is a major hurdle to overcome. You no longer live! Christ lives through you! To make this point very clear, let’s read these Scriptures again. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Believers in Jesus Christ must come to realize and accept the fact that we are vessels to be used by God. Second Corinthians 4:7 says, “We have this treasure,” i.e., God’s Holy Spirit living within our body such that the excellence of God’s power may work through us for His glory. We are no longer our own person! The Bible makes this clear; “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
This is who we are. The sooner we discover who we are in Christ, the sooner we can get on with the work God has for us to do. Until we discover who we are in Christ, we tend to flounder or struggle with figuring out who we are and what it is that we are supposed to be doing as a new born child of God. The “I” within us keeps getting in the way. Remember, “I” have died! Replace the “I” with Christ and you’ll begin to discover who you really are in Christ. For example, I suppose many of us think that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Wrong! Replace the “I” with Christ and you’ll begin to discover who you are; i.e., Christ can do all things through me. We (you) can do nothing because you are dead. God’s Holy Spirit has indwelled your body. He has taken over our body. It is not “I” that gives sight to the blind. It is Jesus doing it through us! It is not “I” who is setting the captives free. It is Jesus doing it through us. It is not “I” who is healing the sick. It is Jesus doing it through us. It is not “I” who is doing greater works. It is Jesus who is doing it through us. “I” have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer “I” who lives, but Christ who lives in me. And the life “I” now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Discover who you are in Christ. You are an heir according to the promise of God. You have been joined to the Lord and become one spirit with Him. Allow the Lord who began a good work in you to bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Discover who you are in Christ! You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, set apart for His exclusive use, that we may proclaim the excellencies of GOD who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. This is who we are in Christ.