Your TRUE Identity
Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities.
Romans 8:5 TPT
For many months, the Spirit of God has had me in the book of Romans meditating on the truths found in its pages. I want to invite you to continue that journey with me through the book of Romans, chapter 8. Let’s dive right in and allow these verses to transform us.
LIVING BY THE SPIRIT’S IMPULSES
In Romans 8:5, we read,
“Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities.”
We are three part beings, a spirit, that has a soul, that lives in a body. When Paul says “the flesh” he’s talking about the soul (mind, will, emotions) and the physical body. Our soul and body only want to do what feels good.
Imagine you’re a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan. If they were playing on a Sunday afternoon, and you knew my preaching would go long, would your flesh want you to make the choice to be in church? Of course not! Your flesh would want you to stay at home, comfortably sitting in your recliner. Our flesh is only interested in doing what feels good.
Let’s keep reading in verse 14,
“The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit.”
That’s twice in the same chapter that we see the phrase “impulses of the Holy Spirit.” Notice it didn’t say the “voice of the Spirit.” Why is that? Because God doesn’t always speak to us in a voice. 90% of the time, He speaks to us through impulses: a nudge, a knowing, an impression that comes to our spirit – not our thoughts.
In these verses, the Apostle Paul reminds us that our true identity as children of God is marked by our obedience to the Holy Spirit. We become mature children of God when we recognize the impulses of the Holy Spirit and then act on those impulses, even when, or I should say, especially when it’s uncomfortable to our body and soul.
Verse 15 carries a powerful message:
“And you did not receive the ‘spirit of religious duty,’ leading you back into the fear of never being good enough.”
When I was flat on my back, sicker than a dog, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, I kept confessing all the scriptures I knew on healing. I had heard that was what so and so did and they got their healing, so that’s what I did.
I wasn’t doing that because of revelation, I was doing that out of religious duty. And, surprise, none of those scriptures seemed to be working. It wasn’t until I got a specific revelation from the Lord about my healing that things began to turn around and healing began to take place.
Religious obligation and duty comes from the fear of not being good enough. This verse offers assurance that in Christ, our identity problem is settled. It’s not about us and what we’ve done to be good enough. It’s about Jesus. Jesus says that we’re good enough.
Colossians 6 tells us that we are holy and blameless before Jesus! Whoa! That’s huge. We are not bound by religious duty or the fear of falling short, for we have received the “Spirit of full acceptance.”
“And you will never feel orphaned.”
I’ve heard so many Christians tell me that they’re lonely and don’t feel God with them. Let me ask you this question, have your feelings ever lied to you? Of course they have! Feelings are not facts. The fact is that you’re not alone and you’ll never be alone because God promises to never leave you or forsake you.
The verses continue:
“for as He rises up within us, our spirits join Him in saying the words of tender affection, ‘Beloved Father!'”
Do you see the level of intimacy here in John 20:17 (TPT):
“Jesus cautioned her, “Mary, don’t cling to me, for I haven’t yet ascended to God, my Father. And he’s not only my Father and God, but now he’s your Father and your God! Now go to my brothers and tell them what I’ve told you, that I am ascending to my Father—and your Father, to my God—and your God!”
Jesus came to introduce the children of God back to their Papa. You’re God’s family and He created you because He wanted to know you and be known by you.
HEIRS OF GOD
“And since we are His true children, we qualify to share all His treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God Himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that He is and all that He has.”
Say this out loud: “I qualify.”
Pause for a moment and let this truth sink in. You qualify.
What does God have? As children of God, we are not merely beneficiaries of His grace; we are heirs of His immeasurable treasures. We inherit not only the blessings of Christ but also the privilege of being co-glorified with Him. However, this co-glorification is not without its challenges.
ACCEPTING HIS SUFFERINGS AS OUR OWN
Verse 17 goes on,”
“We will experience being co-glorified with him provided that we accept his sufferings as our own.”
Almost all the promises of God are conditional. I know we don’t like hearing this, but it’s true. Salvation through Jesus is a free gift, but there are conditions to it. You had to believe and you had to ask.
In the charismatic world, there’s this trend to not do what might embarrass people or make them feel uncomfortable so we cut those things out of our services. Those things that may make people uncomfortable, you know, like altar calls, speaking in tongues, the moving of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, we have to do them. Sure they may cause people to reject us but isn’t that what people did to Jesus?
To fully embrace our identity in Christ, we must be willing to accept His sufferings as our own. That’s part of the package. When you got saved, did you never have any trouble ever again? No! When you get saved, that’s when the troubles really begin because you have just set yourself opposed to the enemy of this world.
Hebrews 12:3 reminds us to consider how Jesus faced intense opposition, and Romans 5:3-5 encourages us to find joy in the midst of trouble, for it refines our character and leads us back to hope.
As we meditate on these profound truths, may we walk boldly in our identity as children of God. Let us live by the Spirit’s impulses, embrace the Spirit of full acceptance, and confidently declare, “Beloved Father!” As heirs of God and co-glorified with Christ, let us also accept His sufferings as part of our journey, knowing that they refine our character and lead us closer to our Heavenly Father.