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A joyful Identy in the sight of God

A joyful identity in the sight of God.  vlag


by Gerard Feller


In this article I would like to describe the biblical analogies in the way that the identity of man is formed in natural and spiritual sense. The identity of manaccording to the Bible, is determined by the fact that he is a creature of God. This is in contrast to the humanistic view, in which autonomy is the guideline of the identity.

This also means that at the deepest, God determines the identity of man, or (maybe better said) the relation in which he stands towards God, according to the order of creation. The fact that we are creatures of God means: dependence on God, accountability towards God, obedience to God, serving God, tlive according to His will and to His honor.

The identity of man has been originally controlled by the great privilege of knowing, loving and serving Him. After all, man has been created in God’s image (1). The identity of man, which has been created by God is a joyful identity (Zephaniah 3:17)


Biblical analogies


Analogies are often used in the Bible. This is an oriental way of thinking in which especially the similarities in certain matters are made clear.

It already begins in Genesis where God says: “LetUs makeman in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26a) and “God created manin His own image, in the image of God He created him;male and female He created them(verse 27). Also the Lord Jesus used many analogies to clarify matters and sometimes even to keep things hidden to others.

Think of the parables. Jesus loved to use them. The spiritual world was open and uncovered before His eyes.

He pictured them in nice words, out of which His love spoke.

The people found themselves on the level of: first seeing, then believing. Therefore He used many visualizations in His parables. He allowed someone to hand Him a coin, used for the poll-tax (Mat.22:19); He put a child in the center (Mat.18:2); He pointed (with His finger) to the lilies of the field (beauty).

And further on to the birds in heaven (not to be worried) (Mat. 6: 26, 28), to the fishing net on the seaside (confidence) (Mat.13:47) and to the sower on his land which He compared to the heart (spiritual well-being) (Mat.13:3). 

With these examples He gave visual teaching. His disciples had to learn that he who wants to be the greatest, has to be the servant of all. 

Jesus demonstrated this by taking a towel and a basin and started to wash the feet of the disciples (Jn.13:14). They had to know that He was going to die: the bread is a sign of His body and He breaks it in their sight (Mat.26:26). They had to know that He was going to die for them and therefore He gave them the bread, that they might eat it (Mat.26:26). They had to know where He would be: He would go to the Father Who is in heaven, and therefore He disappeared before their eyes in the direction of heaven (Acts 1: 9). 

All the words about His death were not understood, but the love, which is so strong, has found a means here that made the concept of His death an assurance for the future: for you! Love bows down to be understandable (2).

Other examples wherein analogies are used are the numerous comparisons between: fertilization, growth, birth and rebirth.

Those are often comparisons between natural and spiritual concepts.

For example the labor pains on the earth in the end time before the coming of the Lord in Matthew24: 8, Romans 8: 2223. “Forsince the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen,being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1: 20). 

In this article I just want to focus on the biblical analogy of the formation of our joyful identity in which especially the growth that leads to the very full identity, is compared in natural and spiritual sense.


Analogies of the (new) birth


In an earlier article I have described in white way the anatomical and physiological changes of a fetus which is born, are typical for the changes in which a person is born again (3).

In the first place: being cut off from the placental circulation. 

This is comparable to the dying to this world (sanctified/set apart).

We can only be born again when we have abandoned our lives (Mat.16:25). 

In that way we get baptized into His death (Rom.6:3). 

Then the child starts to breath, which causes the lungs to develop. That’s what also happens to everyone who believes, conceived by the Word and the Spirit of God. He will receive new life when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in him/her (Spirit and breath are the same in the Bible). That also causes the blood in the connection of the Botalli, which connects the pulmonary arteries with the aorta before the birth, to flow differently. It is as it were, an image of the reversal in the blood (life) flow, comparable to the conversion which takes place at the new birth. Conversion with all your heart (Jer. 3: 10). The space which wasin the heart of the baby between the right and the left atrium before the birth, closes hereby.The divided heart is made to become one: a new heart which now functions differently. This is also how we receive a new heart to learn to know Him (Jer. 24:7), a heart wherein He dwells.

He writes the law in the heart (Heb. 10:15). This is the true circumcision (change) of the heart by the Spirit and not by the letter (Rom.2:29). The heart is now focused on the Lord to receive the spiritual breath of life from the Holy Spirit and to fill us with it. 

Thus the natural heart function is not focused on the mother anymore, but on the breath to provide the body with oxygen. In that way our heart is being purified, so that we can see God in faith (Mat. 5:8). The born again man now first of all needs Christ, the ‘breath’ of the Holy Spirit; therefore he/she lives eternally, because the Holy Spirit is eternal (Jn. 11: 26).

Because the breath is absorbed in the blood, it gains power (combustion) and nourishment; it purifies the body. 

In that way the Holy Spirit will take care of the growth and power and purification of the new born spiritual life.

In the Bible we find a lot more of analogies, which the Creator has also put into the natural birth, especially regarding the functions of the blood which we are not going to deal with at the moment.


The formation of the identity after birth


The identity after the birth of the new born baby is naturally formed by the nonverbal communication of the educator, often the mother.

In modern terms: the brain of the mother has been, as it were, downloaded in the brain of the baby. That communication is mainly a sensory information.

By laughing, caressing, weaning, by smell, later by eye contact and nursing there is a continual communication: “We are glad that you are here”. Sweet words are spoken which the baby cannot understand, but can surely experience: you are welcome, you are safe, you are loved. 

The capacity to also save that kind of information neurologically is little at the beginning. Therefore the baby is to rest a lot and when he is awake the party begins again and learns more and more about presence, relatedness, unity and intimacy. In that way gradually, to the extent in which the baby is receptive, a joyful identity is being formed.

Of course a lot can go wrong in the bonding and attachment system, with dramatic consequences; we have  addressed that in the Promise magazine many times (see the articles: bonding 4; neuropsychology 5; emotional synchronization 6). The beginning of the identity formation of the baby takes place by interaction with the loving face of the mother (and father).


The formation of the identity afterthe new birth.


After the fall of man, the first reaction of Adam and eve was that they hid themselves from the face of God. They were afraid and realized that they were naked (Gen. 3:10). Their conscience accused them, they felt guilty, their sinful nature became the standard, self-centered and self-oriented, but in reality under the influence of satan

Since then every person who has been born from Adam, is born in the same condition (Rom. 5:12). The consequences were: removed from Eden, removed from the sight of God. Fortunately God looked out again for man who hid himself: “Adam, where are you”. And He Himself gave a solution through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the atoning work of Jesus, the way to the sight of God was made possible again (Rom. 6:4). I have indicated above, in the natural birth, that with the new birth the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in man (Rom. 8: 10,11).

By faith in the accomplished work of Christ, we are born again and one of the first consequences according to Heb.9: 14, is that He purifies our conscience from deeds that lead to death. 

There is forgiveness of sins, there is no more fear for guilt and punishment, but there is joy and liberation and redemption! Therefore the author of the epistle to the Hebrews exhorts us to  draw near to God (Heb.10: 19-22).

In the old covenant the high priest was allowed to enter into the temple in the inner sanctuary once a year; now we are allowed to draw near before the face of God through the blood (life) of Jesus with a sincere heart and a pure conscience and a body washed with pure water!

This is how our new identity is formed in the sight of God.A joyful and peaceful identity; many believers say that in that very first period they are overwhelmed with the loving presence of God. People often call it ‘the first love’. 

This is comparable to the overwhelming love and presence of the mother with the baby. To the newly born again man not many demands are set yet; the safe attachments and bonding and connectedness and intimacy with God are still to be formed further.


The face (countenance) of God


In the concordance we read that the word face appears more than six hundred times in the Bible. The best known text is the ‘old testamentical blessing’ in Num. 6: 24-26

TheLordbless you, andkeep you;TheLordmake His face shine on you,andbe gracious to you;TheLordlift up His countenance on you, Andgive you peace.”

Psa 4: 6b-7Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, OLord!
You have putgladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.

Psa 89: 15-16a  How blessed are the people who know thejoyful sound!OLord, they walk in thelight of Your countenance. InYour name they rejoice all the day.”
Psa 21: 6For You make him most blessed forever;You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.

Psa 16: 11You will make known to methe path of life; InYour presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there arepleasures forever.”

This last verse is quoted by Peter in his important speech Acts 2: 28

You have made known to me the ways of lifeYou will make me full of gladness with Your presence.”

Proverbs 15: 30Bright eyes gladden the heart.”
And of Jesus it is metaphorically written (about the time of the beginning, before He came to this earth): Pro 8: 30-31
ThenI was beside Him,asa master workman; And I was dailyHisdelight,
Rejoicing always before Him,Rejoicing in the world, His earth, and havingmy delight in the sons of men.”

These text portions speak of the enormous joy that comes with it when we learn to rejoice in God’s joyful look at us. It gives us energy. It takes away all old false (intoxicating) embarrassment which others may have imposed on us by the way they treated us. 

God, the Almighty, disagrees with anyone who patronizes me, who abuses me, who does not see me as valuable!
Haven’t you seen His countenance? His whole countenance says that I – and also you – are pleasing to Him! That we – through Jesus’ atoning work -  are pleasing to Him! (7).


The further development of the natural identity


Beroer the intellectual development will take shape further, the brains of the newly born exercise two important skills. 

First: the capacity to learn how to process emotions and to get back to rest rapidly after an emotional peak.Our brains have their limitations to process joy and happiness.

When a toddler is six months old, he or she gets self-awareness.This happens especially by ‘mind sight’: look at someone and you will know how he thinks about you, especially when you know someone better. Toddlers with bad bonding and affirmations have no emotions about that at all. We learn through modeling. The baby duplicates especially by mind sight. When they are one year old, children can act differently from their sight. The child of six to twelve months old develops his identity by being cheerful and happy. From twelve to eighteen months the child learns from angry or negative emotions how to get back to the people whom they love, a return to joy and peace from a negative emotion.When the mother for example says ‘pooh’ with a dirty diaper, the toddler gets scared, because someone who loves you, makes a negative gesture and sound, just like that! This is a very strong rejecting emotion which is to be processed. When the mother is kind and nice again afterwards, the toddler learns that within a safe relationship, also less nice things can happen, but that things can get back to rest later, because the affirming and safe bonds that he had learnt about, are not quickly broken. In that way he learns to get to rest from a strong emotion. The degree in which this is possible, depends on the neurological possibilities of the identity center in the brains. This is the ROPC, the Right Orbital Prefrontal Cortex. 

Right stands for the right brain part; orbital means under the eye socket, thus behind the right eye; prefrontal means at the front side of the brains; and the cortex is the layer part of the brains. 

A person is born without this part, which after eighteen months can grow to 35% of the extent of the whole brain.

This growth depends on the stimulation of the brain on this part.When it is not developed or stimulated, often atrophy or even degradation of the learnt relations is to be found

The myelination process in the limbic system starts when the child is fifteen months old (myelin is a fatty coating around the nerve cell, which improves its conduction velocity). Strong emotions are experienced to be more rapid and more intense. The child seems to intensify the velocity power of its emotions when it is angry and anxious. When the child has built up a joyful identity and has learnt how to get there, it will have no problems.Otherwise children can get awfully angry sometimes and cannot find a way to get out of it. They do not learn to respond relationally, because until that very time every part of the emotions and the brains develops in itself.  In the good development of the ROCP the toddler learns by emotions of joy to be one person, through which different parts of the brains are conducted by the ROCP. 

The toddler learns later to synchronize with others. When this doesn’t happen with his emotions, the toddler will quickly get moody, which causes him not to experience anger and fear himself.

When these processes are not taught around the eighteenth month, it will get more and more difficult. If one has not learnt to return to joy, he will not even be able to get to rest neurologically at a certain moment. At the adult age it can lead to psychological problems with 60-70 percent of the people.


The further development with the spiritual identity


After the ‘first love’, the born again believers should practice the joy capacity with God.They should learn to come in the sight of God and learn to rest with Him.You may also say: learn to bring yourself to rest with Him. Thus not learn to be strong by yourself, but become strong in Him. In Psalms 84:4-7 it is written in this context:

Howblessed are those who dwell in Your house! They areever praising You.Selah. How blessed is the man whosestrength is in You, Inwhose heart are thehighwaysto Zion!Passing through the valley ofBaca they make it aspring;Theearly rain also covers it with blessings. Theygo from strength to strength, every one of themappears before God in Zion.”

We should therefore practice on the highway of our heart to the heart of God, in His sight. The more we walk on that way, thus more exercise, the more it becomes passable and easier. 

Even if we would go through a valley of (Baca) aridity (compare ‘pooh’ with the toddler), when that highway is in our heart (spirit) the aridity will turn into a source of joy and peace before God, from strength to strength .

Because of all kinds of events of sins and stress we have to learn to go before God for purification, joy and peace.

Only then we will become spiritually strong or as David puts it in Psalm 51: 10-12Createin me aclean heart, O God, And renewasteadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence. (!!) And do not take YourHoly Spirit from me. Restore to me thejoy of Your salvation and sustain me with awilling spirit.”

A toddler loves to play hide- and –seek. Then you hide your face from the toddler, for example under a towel and then appear again playfully. 

The toddler learns: even though you do not see me just for a while, I am still here and I appear suddenly. That is also a spiritual principle: we are to trust that God is ‘in control’ in our life, even though we do not see or notice Him for a moment. The most important learning process of a baby and toddler to three years is to learn to receive. When this is not taught naturally and spiritually, the child will later on, have tumultuous and superficial relationships as an adult.


The growth in an adult identity


In the book ‘Living according to God’s plan’ (9), the several tasks, which are to be learnt before the natural and spiritual maturity, are described extensively. Unfortunately it cannot be dealt with in details in this article. The most important learning task for four to twelve year olds is: to be able to take care of themselves. In spiritual sense it means: to pray by themselves, to lay down their own desires before God, to develop perseverance, to learn which unique characteristics God has given them. When the child has not learnt it, it will not be able to take any (spiritual) responsibility for itself later, when it has become an adult.

From the age of thirteen until the birth of the first child, he or she is to learn to take care of two persons at the same time. When this does not happen, the adult will not be able to start relationships later in life, in which both persons experience satisfaction. 

After the thirteenth year the child is taught to start relationships and to develop a group identity; one is taught to make a contribution to the community and to feel related with it.

It goes without saying that a healthy faith community can play a major role in it.

With the older ones, which are those who have the age of adult children, the most important task is: to take care of the community without expecting anything in return.

If this task is not fulfilled, the faith communities will be characterized by less and less spiritual maturity. 

An older person appreciates each member of the community because of whom he is and will lead the community and help to make it grow spiritually.

It is difficult for many people to draw near to God. The next exercise is an example of how this can happen in a structured manner. To learn to listen in the sight of God, how He sees you. 

Learn to receive His joy about us!


 Gerard Feller



Gerard Feller

 translated.      by Ursula Moestapa

After the notes the exercise follows on: Know who you are in Christ.

August 2016









Leven naar Gods plan, o.a. Jim Wilder, James G. Friesen  e.a. ISBN 90-73743-19-2, De Hoop Publishing. Nog verkrijgbaar via de website van Promise en via St. Archippus.

Nog enkele leestips in dit verband:

https://stichting-promise.nl/jim-wilder/de-identiteitsverandering-van-een-satanist.htmHier kunt u lezen hoe een identiteit wordt afgebroken en opnieuw kan worden opgebouwd.

Inhttps://stichting-promise.nl/jim-wilder/onvolwassen-leiderschap.htmkunt u lezen wat er gebeurt als iemand met een zwakke christelijke Identiteit leiding krijgt in een geloofsgemeenschap.

https://stichting-promise.nl/jim-wilder/de-vaderwereld.htmHier leest u wat in een gezin de gevolgen zijn van een vader met een sterke en een zwakke identiteit.

Dr. E. James Wilder, De rode draak verslagen: bouwen aan een liefdevolle gemeenschap, ArchippusBoeken, Enschede 2008. Prijs € 24,95 , 376 pagina’s , ISBN 978-90-79011-02-5.

 Dr. E. James Wilder, Met vreugde man zijn: groeien naar volwassenheid, 448 p., genaaid gebrocheerd. ISBN: 9789079011018. Verkoopprijs: € 24,95.

Know who you are in the sight of God;That’s your power.

Take at least half an hour to do this exercise weekly.

The intention of the exercise

We often have wrong ideas about our identity. Wrong criteria such as physical or psychological criteria, often play a major role. It is of great importance for our Christian identity that we come into contact with God, and learn to listen to what God says about who we are through His Word and Spirit.  Therefore we are to listen to Him.Thereby not only intellectual matters, but also feelings and connotations play a role.In the following bible verses God uses dozens of examples and comparisons of whom we, believers in Christ, are to Him. In this ‘quiet time’ exercise or Christian meditation exercise, you can adjust yourself to Him and respond to what He says you are.

You can use a few questions as an aid to help you to structure the exercise. 

Some questions are partially to be answered intellectually, such as the context, conditions etc.. There are also questions that demand more from the left side of the brains, such as the connotations which you may have or the question: how does God speak through that particular verse? If you take the verse for instance that speaks about our being the children of God, you may ask yourself why God uses that very comparison in His Word and what it is all about in the context of that relationship. In that way there are a lot of characteristics of a good father: he gives love, he nourishes, he educates, he listens, he shares life etc., etc. Then in that particular quiet time an example may stand out such as: a good father takes up his child when it stumbles and helps it further. These are matters which you know about, but which may suddenly be intensely drawn to your attention again by the Holy Spirit and the Word, and which is precisely that you need at that very moment or which may encourage you. You then may say: God has spokento me in that way through that particular word. Of course the answers are to be tested: do they come from my old life or even from the evil? But if you pray for protection and if you listen to the voice of God from those biblical examples, you will learn what your identity is, who you are. You exercise your spiritual feeler in the sight of God (see the article on identity in the sight of God).

The method

Read the article about our identity in the sight of God once more. First read also the intention and the method of this exercise twice. It is the intention to search for a text from the many Scriptural places which follow hereafter.

You should first read this Bible text contextually. After that you should ask God in prayer if He would explain this text clearly to your heart and your mind. Thank God for the content of that text. Ask God to speak to you personally. Write the text down in your own words. When images or comparisons are made in the text, you can try to describe what those images imply. Were there specific conditions to the content of the text? Write the connotations down that you have hereby; write down how the Lord Jesus Christ speaks to you and how you are encouraged by this text.Also read it loudly to the Lord as a prayer of thanks; read it also to people whom you are familiar with.

You can also write down other things, which later at another moment come to your mind. Make notes in a separate notebook or writing case. You can print the questionnaire over and over again.

Date your notes. In that way you can build up an important document for yourself, from which you can also draw much comfort and strength at a later time.

WHO AM I??[1]

Mat. 5:13

I am the salt of the earth.

Mat. 5: 14

I am the light of the World.

Jn. 1 :12

I am a child of God.

Jn. 15: 1; 5

I am a branch of the pure vine; a channel of the love of Christ.

Jn. 15:15

I am a friend of Christ.

Jn. 15:16

I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.

Rom. 6:18

I am a servant of righteousness.

Rom. 6:22

I am a servant of God.

Rom. 8:14,15; Gal. 3:26; 4:6

I am a son of God; God is my spiritual Father.

Rom. 8:17

I am fellow heir with Christ; we partake of the inheritance of Christ.

1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19

I am a temple of God. His Spirit and life dwell in me.

1 Cor. 6:17

I have joined myself to the Lord and iam one spirit with Him.

1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30

I am a member of the Body of Christ.

1 Cor. 15:10

I am NOT the great ‘I AM’ (Exo. 3:14; Jn. 8:24,28,58) But through grace I am who I am.

2 Cor. 5:17

I am a new creation (creature).

2 Cor. 5: 18,19

God reconciled me to Himselfthrough Christ andhas given me the ministry of reconciliation.

Gal.3: 26,28

I am a son of God andin Christ I am one with other Christians.

Gal. 4:6,7

I a man heir of God, because I am a son of God.

Eph. 1:1, 1 Cor. 1:2, Phil. 1:1, Col. 1:2

am a saint.

Eph. 2:10

I am a workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesusfor good works.

Eph. 2:19

I am of God’s household.

Eph. 3:1; 4:1

I am a prisoner of Christ.

Eph. 4:24

I am righteous and holy.

Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:6

I am a citizen of a heavenly kingdom, and now already I am seated in heavenly places.

Col. 3:3

I am hidden with Christ in God.

Col. 3:4

I will also be revealed with Him, for He is my life.

Col. 3:12; 1 Thes. 1:4

I am chosen by God, holy and beloved.

Thes. 5:5

I am a son of light and not of darkness.

Heb. 3:1

am partaker of a heavenly calling.

Heb. 3:14

I am a partaker of Christ, I am a partaker of His life.

1 Pet. 2:5

I am a living stone and allow myself to be used for the building of a spiritual house.

1 Pet. 2:9,10

I belong to the chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession .

1 Pet. 2:11

I am an alien and stranger in this world where I dwell temporary.

1 Pet. 5:8

I a man enemy of the devil.

Jn. 3:1,2

I am a child of God and I will be like Christwhen He returns to earth.

Jn. 5:18

I am born of God. The evil, the devil, has no control over me.

Questionnaire to: “Know who you are in Christ; that’s your power


Text: In another translation:

Context in the Bible:

Pray, ask God if He would bring this text into your heart and mind. Ask Him to speak personally to you.

Write the text in your own words . Do you see or think about an image or a comparison? Are there conditions in the text?

Which connotations do you have hereby?

Write down how the Lord Jesus speaks to you in this text.

Are you encouraged? And why?

Thank the Lord in your prayer of thanks; mention your encouragements!

Are there people with whom you would share this?

Remarks, notes, thoughts.

Categorie: English Articles