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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Identity determines behavior

Here's what I know:  Identity determines behavior.
Let me explain.
In Numbers 13, the nation of Israel is about to enter the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Moses sends 12 spies - in first - to see how fertile the soil, how rich the harvest, how big the warriors and how strong the forts are.
When the spies return, there is a majority report and a minority report (No I am not referring to the Tom Cruise movie!).
10 of the spies tell the people, "If we cross this border we will die.  The nations who live over there are tough and big."
Numbers 13:31-33 tells us, "But the men who  had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us."  So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.  There also we saw the Nephilim (a tribe of huge people - giants) (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); (the giants Goliath was a descendant of the sons of Anak, one of the Nephilim) and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." 
"We're grasshoppers next to those guys."
Here's the deal:  Because the 10 saw themselves as grasshoppers, the Nephilim saw them as grasshoppers.
Please know this:  The way you see yourself is not to be determined by the way others see you.
If you think you are a grasshopper, other people will see you as a grasshopper.
How you see yourself will always, always determine your behavior (identity determines behavior).
Because the 10 spies saw themselves as small and weak, they were unwilling to do what God had commanded His people to do; invade the land and possess it.
You see, "grasshopper thinking is contagious."
The rest of the nation of Israel began to think, "We can't go in there, we are not able to possess it.  We are not able to conquer the tribes who live there.  We are going to get killed."
Only two of the spies - Joshua and Caleb disagreed.
They said:  "this is a wonderful land and God will give it to us - if we obey him."
What made the difference?  Joshua and Caleb saw themselves for who they really were - God's people for whom God himself would show himself strong.
But their voices were drowned out - and so 40 years later, the children of Israel made another attempt to go into the land of the promise.  40 years later!
Why?  Because the children of Israel said, "We became grasshopper in our own sight and so we were in their sight."  - and they ran into the desert.
Here's the word of the Lord today!  You are not a grasshopper
You are a child of God!
Don't let the enemy defeat  you with thoughts that you are any less.  Remember who you are in Christ!  Don't let other people and the circumstances in your life define who  you are!
Identity determines behavior.  You will always live consistently with who you believe yourself to be.
Stop looking at where you have been and start looking at where you can be!
Repeat after me:  "I am a child of God."  "I am an overcomer."  "The enemy has no hold over my life."  "Greater is He in me than he who lives in the world."
Just a thought for a Wednesday.

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