1
YOUR IDENTITY
AS A LOVER

During the last ten years, I have had the opportunity to interact with several men with powerful anointings and a wide platform of ministry.  The Lord has used them mightily to release His supernatural power.  So I was quite surprised when these spiritual giants confided to me how they were bored even while leading large and dynamic ministries - and even felt bored with being used in the power of God.
        For example, I was doing a large conference in Europe with a well-known man of God, and I witnessed powerful demonstrations of the Holy Spirit.  After the meeting, I could hardly wait to ask him what he had felt when, during the service, a lady screamed out in joy after being instantly healed.  I was very surprised at his answer.
        He said, "I was glad for her, but personally I have grown accustomed to such demonstrations."  Then he continued, "I still feel the same way in my lonely hotel room after the meeting - bored."  He want on to describe his bitterness from various disappointments that had a hold of him.
        I remember thinking, Surely doing miracles in Jesus' name would cause life to be filled with excitement.  I blurted out those words, and he responded, "At first that's how we all feel.  But over time we are confronted with our own spiritual bankruptcy if we do not encounter God in a deep and continual way."
        This is not the only minister of the gospel who ended up feeling bored with it all.  Many have quietly expressed their dissatisfaction.  Experiencing years of God using their hands to heal the sick, using their words to inspire and change lives and using their dreams and visions to reach beyond the natural realm only left them dissatisfied in their spirits.  Many mighty generals of the church end up not enjoying God and struggling to find intimacy with Him.  Yet, despite their personal spiritual dryness, their ministries continued to flourish.
        At one time, I thought that being anointed in ministry would keep a person's heart encouraged in God.  Now I've learned this is simply not true!  A deeply satisfied soul, a personal sense of meaning and significance and a rich treasure store of divine pleasure can only come through the intimate knowledge of God Himself.
        Do you seek spiritual renewal?  Do you desire divine satisfaction beyond your greatest imaginations?  Then focus on two things:  First, focus on the intimate knowledge of God's beauty, or what God looks like (in terms of knowing His personality).  Second, focus on the knowledge of what it means to be created in His image, in other words, what we look like to God in Christ.  These two arenas of truth will invigorate your heart like nothing else.  In this chapter, we will explore the importance of knowing who He is (what He looks like) and who we are in Him (what we look like to God).  If we are to truly enjoy the Lord - or be renewed - we must also understand our true identity as new creatures in Christ Jesus.
        The truth of our beauty being imparted to us by the beautiful God is a subject that will fascinate and exhilarate our hearts throughout all eternity.  Imagine, the beauty Jesus possesses is the very beauty that He imparts to His bride in the gift of righteousness.
        In recent years, discussion of renewal and revival has flourished.  In this book, I will seek to show that long-lasting personal renewal comes primarily through the revelatory knowledge that I am desired and pursued by God and that I am fascinated by who He is.  In response to that knowledge, I become a wholehearted lover of God.  When my identity rests in the fact that I am loved by the beautiful God and therefore, I am a lover of God, then I am happy in my relationship with Him.
        This reality awakens a profoundly deep sense of security and contentment - to know that we are living, not only as people loved by Him, but as those who are wholehearted in response.  I must know I am wholehearted with God.  Many see themselves as halfhearted hypocrites.  This very accusation against their sincerity in God shuts down their hearts in a substantial way.
        The glory of knowing I am pursued by a God who deeply desires me, even in my weakness, is awesome knowledge.  Our emotional chemistry cannot but help be changed in the wake of this stunning reality.
        Through this revelation, we find freedom from striving to attain a certain spiritual level to convince God to love and enjoy us.  We can truly and deeply know that God passionately enjoys us.  He adores and desires us, even as we struggle to mature and grow in Him.
        Because I am enjoying God, I sin less, quit less and divide less in respect to my relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  When I enjoy the Lord, I obey more, serve Him with greater perseverance and endure hardships with greater patience.  In other words, I am renewed in my spirit and in my spiritual identity.  Things that were once difficult for me now flow freely.
        Feeling enjoyed by God releases even more grace to persevere in obedience, service and hardships.  As this reality increases in me, I serve the Lord with joy, and I learn to enjoy Him.
        Such are the confessions of believers who are happy in the Lord because we know that the Lord desires us - therefore, we are lovers of God.  In fact, renewal is simply being happy in the Lord.

                                   RESONATING WITH GOD
A tuning fork is an instrument with two long metal prongs that create a constant pitch.  You've probably seen one at some time in your life.  Strike the fork, and sound is created as the vibrations of one of the prongs causes the other prong to resonate with it.  The energy of one prong is sustained by its proximity to the energy of the other prong.
        We were created by God to resonate with Him.  We come alive and are invigorated when we come in contact with the fascinating knowledge of the uncreated God who enjoys us, desires us and has redeemed us.
        We can draw a very important principle about personal renewal from Colossians 3:10: "And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him."  In this passage, Paul outlines two arenas of knowledge.  The first is the knowledge according to the image of God.  Another word for image here could be the word personality.  The first thing Paul learned before the Lord was that the knowledge of the personality of God encourages obedience; it motivates people to repent and encourages their hearts.
        This portion of Scripture is key to our quest to walk in repentance and personal renewal.  Nothing can come close to awakening and encouraging the heart as can the marvelous knowledge of the image of God - there is simply nothing more renewing than this!
        This is key to your own personal renewal and to ushering others into wholehearted commitment to the Lord as well.  The knowledge of the personality of God, the knowledge of what God is like, will win your friends and loved ones to the Lord.  A genuine understanding of the knowledge of the personality of God is probably the area in which the church is most lacking.
        Something awakens inside of us when we know what God is like.  He designed us so that our spirits will dull when we have a void of the knowledge of God's beauty.  Our spirits will become progressively more dull and callous if we are not coming into regular, fresh contact with the Word of God where the Holy Spirit reveals to us what God is like.
        The prophet Isaiah said that we would call the Messiah "Wonderful" (Isa. 9:6).  He is the One who would fill the church with wonderment.  Oh, the power of living in the power of endless wonder!  We were made to marvel and be stunned.  We live bored when wonderment is gone.  He will be called the Wonderful God.
        The knowledge of God is what makes sin look foolish and righteousness look excellent.  It makes persevering in hardships seem reasonable, and it produces in our spirits a big "Yes!" response to obeying a call to the will of God.  This knowledge will awaken the hearts of God's people - and the hearts of unbelievers.
        Satan and his host of demons work hard to blind our minds from understanding the glory and person of God. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4.)  The devil knows that if he can blind our understanding to what God is like, he has then leveraged the battle significantly in his favor.  He accuses God in our hearts.  He seeks to fill the church with lies that rise up to accuse the truth of God in our hearts.  When this occurs, spiritual boredom results.  A spiritually bored believer is more vulnerable to Satan's attacks.
        A vital aspect of personal renewal is repentance.  Alongside of using the phrase "coming into a deeper state of repentance," we may actually speak of "being motivated by enjoying the Lord" or "being glad in the Lord."
        Let's further examine Colossians 3:10:

        And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge
        according to the image of Him who created him.

        Most Bible translations link the image of God to the image of believers who are created anew in Christ Jesus.

        Put on the new man, which after God is created in right-
        eousness and true holiness.
                                                                  -EPHESIANS 4: 24

        Ephesians 4:24, which is the companion verse of Colossians 3:10, makes it clear that Paul is referring to the behavior who is made new in Christ Jesus.  In Colossians 3:10, Paul is referring to our spiritual identity in Christ Jesus, not to our natural identity.
        I do not claim to have the greatest of experiences in all of this.  But I do claim to understand a little bit about how to enjoy the Lord.  My own experience and my study of the Word of God, church history and the testimonies of great men and women of God have convinced me that there is nothing that awakens our hearts to wholehearted love like the times when God reveals Himself to us through His written Word.  Nothing awakens our hearts with motivation, joy and pleasure like having the Holy Spirit as our escort, so to speak, put His arm around us and walk us into that divine treasury where God reveals Himself to us.

The Pleasures of Loving God by Mike Bickle.  Creation House, 2000.

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