Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Bourne Identity


The Jesus Identity

(a journal entry written in 2007)

Over the past few months I have seen a series of movies based on the Jason Bourne books. This man, by his own choice, was stripped of his identity, of his memory, of his old self ,and trained to be a ruthless killer, ruthlessly obedient to an organization, a government, a cause.

Now he wants to go back. He doesn’t want to be a killer any more, he wants to escape his new identity and remember who he was before he was brainwashed into being Jason Bourne. He does not want to kill, and yet it is what he does automatically, instinctively, seemingly without thought or intention, because this is what he has been trained to do. And now he must fight his way back to a place where he can unlearn who he has been made to be.

Is there not something here that I must learn from Jesus?

I had an old IN Adam identity. But it was never my true intended identity. I was made in the image of God, and so my real name, and my true nature, only He knows. I know now that I must go to Him to find it out.

But I too, like Jason Bourne, have found myself awake and alive in a false identity that IS NOT ME. I will call it the flesh, since it is not me, and yet I seem as hopelessly linked to it as I am to my own body. I cannot seem to remember who I was made to be. I know that it is not this flesh, but I have not yet discovered, or remembered, WHO I really AM.

Along comes Jesus, and He offers me His cross. This cross is the place, He says, where you go free from the old identity: the brainwashed self. This is the place where the ruthless killer goes to die. In Jesus, on His cross, my flesh is dealt with through crucifixion, and in His resurrection I am raised and I am given that New Identity that I was always intended to have, my Child of God self. (John 1:12-13)

The identity that was forced on me at birth, in Adam, was a son of disobedience, a child of wrath, (Eph. 2:1-3) and yet as I grew up into this world system, I chose to live out of this identity. I chose to be brainwashed in Adam. It was all that I knew, because it was what I was trained to do. Even though I received Jesus into my heart at only 6 years old and was granted a death of my old self, and resurrection life in a new identity, I still learned to play by this worlds’ rules, to survive as best I knew how, without enjoying or accessing the life of Christ I already had in me.

In my first six years, I learned to operate out of the fleshly identity, to move effortlessly through life wounding those around me as I went, for my own protection and benefit. Just as Jason Bourne would, without a thought, break a policeman’s arm and render him unconscious to subdue him to his purpose and his will, I too, in Adam, learned to wound and parry and defend myself from rejection and hurt directed at me by those in Adam around me. Like him, I was desperate to survive, and so I did what I had to do: a ruthless killer in the flesh.

Even after age six when I received a new identity in Jesus, I did not know that I had everything I needed inside me already: a spiritual Source of healing and life and protection and strength that makes all my fleshly efforts to protect myself and meet my needs irrelevant. Even though I was a Child of God now, with a new identity in Jesus, I acted out the part I had been trained to play by the world, the flesh and the devil. I guess that “spirit that was at work in the sons of disobedience”(eph. 2:1) trained me too well in those first six years before I came to know Jesus, and I kept following the initial training program, like Jason Bourne. I kept on walking after the flesh, protecting myself to meet my own needs, and expending myself in effort after effort on an endless quest to discover who I was, to gain significance, worth, an identity. Like Jason Bourne, I did not like it one bit, and so I understood that bitter smirk of desperation and determination he wore on his face through every movie.

But now, after allowing me 30 plus years of walking in that old identity, of plan after plan laid down to finally prove who I was and get to the bottom of this mystery of life, Jesus has finally awakened me to my new identity in Him, and I find that it is a GIFT, not a plan, not an accomplishment of mine, not even a martial arts self defense move. I have been this new person, yet I did not know it. I have, from the day of my salvation, always had this Child of God spirit living in me, joined to His Spirit, but I did not know it.

I wanted to know it, but my old programming in the flesh told me that it was impossible, too good to be true, a pipe dream (it still does tell me this). “God can’t be that good, He’s not that generous. He must be like the people that you have known, demanding, incredibly high expectations, and no help for it. The world doesn’t operate on Grace (a gift system), it operates on the law of my behavior. If I can get it right, then everything will be allright. If I can’t, then . . . all hell breaks loose.” And the vicious world around me still whispers that “life is hard, and you have to try hard or you’ll be destroyed. You have to live like Jason Bourne, in a desperate plight, always running, always protecting yourself, always scheming.”

But God has revealed something different to my heart, through His Word, and his words whispered gently into my innermost being.

“It is the Spirit who GIVES life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” John 6:63

Can this be true? Ask yourself. Is Real Life, life as God lives it (ZOE)  a gift and not the result of my own effort?

I used to think that God would never show me what He had in mind when He created me.

"No eye has seen,
      no ear has heard,
   no mind has conceived
   what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 cor. 2:9

I wondered if I could ever love Him enough, and I thought I had to be content with this mystery of never knowing.
But then a friend told me to read the next verse. “10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
      The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

Now I believe that He has already revealed everything that I need to know, in my heart, in my Spirit, and that He will unfold it to me as I need to know. He will reveal my new identity, and yours, as we go “for we have the mind of Christ.”

Perhaps the first thing He reveals is that my love can never be enough, because it can only be a response to Him, who IS LOVE. (1 John 4:10)

It is good to know that I am not like Jason Bourne anymore. I’m not a man, living alone and uncertain of who I am, constantly haunted  by memories of what I have done and dogged by assassins who would kill me to fulfill their purposes. I am now the Beloved of God. I have received complete forgiveness for all that I have ever done, or will ever do. I no longer have to live in guilt. I am free. I no longer have to react out of my old training. It is no longer kill or be killed for me. I know who I am, and I’m receiving new insight, and new orders to obey from a Lord who loves me deeply and not only has my ear (those little ear buds are a dead give away aren’t they?) but has my heart in his hands. (Ezek 36:26ff).

In fact, according to God, I now have a totally new identity in HIS SON. I have the Jesus Identity. I am His and He is mine.  I have become a member of his body, able to work perfectly as He directs. moving flawlessly, effortlessly as His very life expressed in this world. I thank God that I can discover that my role is not kill or be killed, but love my enemies and bless those who persecute me. Though to the flesh this seems impossible, with my new Identity, it is the only natural thing to do. Now He is my righteousness, my wisdom, and my redemption. (1 Cor:1:30) and so, like Paul, I can say that I’m “a special agent for God, in Christ Jesus.” (eph. 1:1 Message) Unlike Jason Bourne, I’m not trapped in the web of a hopelessly corrupt government program called Treadstone, I’m part of a special task force that God has appointed to make the life of His Son known in this world, and I rejoice in following the impulse of His Love in me

14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer 17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:14-21).

Did you know that you died with Jesus on the cross? I believe that this is what Paul is saying here about your identity as a believer. Do you know that your death made possible the coming of a new resurrected life in you? So, do you regard yourself or your fellow believers according to the flesh any longer? I hope not. Rejoice with me, for if you have received Jesus and all that He has done for you, you are a new creation. You have a new Identity, and I do to. Because He became sin (v.21) we have become the Righteousness of God in Him. If you don’t believe that, then you don’t believe that God did what He said He did on the Cross, and you’ll just have to go on trying to live out the Bourne Identity in Adam. I’m done with that though, because even though it can seem exciting for a while to be always on the run, always trying hard to make it work, it wears you out, and in the end it hurts too much. God is calling us to something so much better, a life filled with joy. I’m ready to live this Jesus Identity. I hope that you are too.

Wednesday nov. 14. 07

Monday, June 25, 2012

Your belief about yourself
defines your life.
It motivates your behavior.

If you believe you are a saint, righteous to the core
you will act like one.

If you believe you are a sinner
locked in bondage
you will act out of that bondage.

If you believe you are a free person
you will act free
and acts of love and life, that connect you to others, will flow from you
rather than acts that lead to death and separation.

If you believe you are rejected by God
you will reject all those around you
and will reject yourself and even God.
 If you believe the truth
that you are accepted, fully, completely
then acceptance and love will flow from you to all.

If you believe you are all on your own
independent, and that it is all up to you
you will live your life in frustration
exhausted and hopeless of ever succeeding.
But if you believe that you live
in dependence on the One who gave you breath
then you will be able to rest
no matter how hard your are working
because you will know that your life
flows from a source that is beyond your control
and thankfully beyond your ability to supply
or exhaust.

So forget about the counterfeit, the deception, the lie, the false self
and look in the mirror of God’s love to discover the real thing.
You are the real thing
Look at this person you have become in Christ
and you will live out your true destiny.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Breath of Life

I don’t know how to capture even a glimpse of all that I have been sensing and thinking about breathing this month. I have searched the scriptures, sought God’s face, and discovered some of what He has to teach me through the contemplation of this simple thing called breathing. It is not a deliberate act at all, but a process that goes on with or without my attention to it. When we do pay attention, He can bring us to a place of peace and resting and trust that is very profound.

What other process that goes on in our body can we become so consciously aware of if we choose? We rely on our heart beating to survive, but we can barely feel our heartbeat or alter it's rhythm if we try. We rely on a host of other processes, but we cannot be aware of them as we can the breath. The breath is both autonomic, automatic, and yet somewhat within our control. We can hold our breath, breathe deep or shallow when we are relaxed or anxious. We cannot do these things with our heartbeat, or digestion, or anything else. And yet this breathing goes on and on without our attention as well. We cannot stop it, and we did not start it. It is intimately tied to our thinking and feeling, which we also can influence or control to some extent, and yet cannot ever completely control either.

When I do pay attention to my breathing, I find that a peace comes over my heart and mind which I cannot fully explain. I read this verse: Romans 8:6, "the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace", and I see that the word breath and the word spirit are not distinguishable in the original language: Pneuma. In some mysterious way I have to say that when I set my mind on my breathing, I do experience life and peace. I know also that I have experienced the mind set on the flesh, and especially on pain in the body and worry, fear and anger in the soul, as death. I am by no means saying that breathing is all there is to the spirit, but I am suggesting that our physical act of breathing which brings life to the body is inextricably linked to the spirit of life that God imparts. this can be seen throughout scripture again and again.
Job 33:4
[It is] the Spirit of God that made me [which has stirred me up], and the breath of the Almighty that gives me life [which inspires me].
I believe that on some level it really is far more simple than I could ask or imagine. Spirit really is breath. This spirit that He has imparted to me  really is as close and “tangible” and real as my breathing. I know that we set our minds on that which is unseen, but that is just it. Breath is unseen, as is wind, as is air, and yet it, or perhaps rather He, this Spirit of God, sustains all life on our planet.

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
(Jesus speaking to Nicodemus: John 3:8)

Is there more to God and me than this movement of gasses in and out of my lungs, or across the miles of atmosphere? Of course there is. For one, there is fire, and light, and energy in a dimension beyond this physical one that I behold, beyond all of this there is A Person. But perhaps breath is a sign of the hem of His garment that fills the temple of this body here on earth.

When Jesus breathed on the disciples during his first moment back with them after being resurrected, He said, "receive the Holy Spirit." Just as He did in the beginning with Adam, He breathed on them, into them, and they became alive in a way that they had never known before. Maybe this was life as Adam and Eve lived it before they fell, or maybe it is life as we had never seen it before, Zoe life in God’s Spirit. I don’t understand, but I do stand in awe of what He has done.

So now, when I breathe, and become aware of my breath throughout the day, either in a quiet moment of meditation, in a moment of conversation with a friend, or while I’m huffing and puffing up a hill on my bicycle, I have a new sense of being connected to Jesus in this breath. I have a new sense of my dependence of Him, of resting in Him, with each and every breath.

What is my spirit but this awareness that lies at peace beneath all my thoughts and feelings, resting in Christ? What is this awareness but the consciousness that He brings to light by the power of His Breath as He imparts life to me. To be aware like this is to be gently loved and held by the Spirit Himself. To be aware like this is to come to my center in being breathed by Him, and to know that all is well because no matter what happens to this body, and this soul (that which breathes), the Spirit is the author of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. 

Even though one day this body will rest in peace beneath the dirt, the breath will go on because I am one with Him who breathes all things into existence. Now that is real rest. So take a deep breath, and know that you are loved into existence by One who holds you in the palm of His almighty hand, who breathes with you in each breath. And know that even after you take your last breath, He will remain with you, holding onto you into another kingdom that has no end.

read a meditation for breathing

Monday, June 18, 2012

Breathe: The gift of Life

A Meditation

With each Breath
to be aware
of the gift of life
you are offered in this moment.

Yah-weh, breathe in, breathe out
Father of Lights, gives this perfect gift
the breath
so now
at first
become aware
of the Sea of Air that surrounds you
a gift of Grace
pushing its way
into your lungs
with each breath.

Allow God to speak to you
Listen to His voice
with each breath you breathe

My Little One
I love you
let this breath be a sign
of my Love for you
Rest in Me in this breath
and this one . . .
and this one . . .

I chose the moment of your first breath
and I will decide
when you will breathe your last
and be gathered to your people.

Receive each breath
between your first and last
as a gift of my Presence in you.
I am the Spirit of Life
the breath of Life
the wind of God.

I blow where I will
and no one can control my choice.
And so it is with you.
I breathe you
in and out
and no one can say
where My Breath will lead you.

So rest 
as I pour life into you
moment by moment
breath by breath
thought after thought
flowing through you
in an exchange
of life for life.

I am Jesus, breath of life
Every breath you take
you take in Me

Ride the wave of this breath
it is a wave of mercy, gently swelling
a wave of love, gently receding

See My Face as I give you this breath.
I breathe on my disciples and I say
Receive the Spirit.

Breathe in
ride the wave of my Grace 
with your whole body breathing
Breathe out
feel the motion of my Love
falling on the shore of your heart
so gentle, so subtle,
you hardly notice
just beneath your conscious awareness
until now.

Now you are made more fully aware
of my Presence
in each Breath
of your dependence
as I breathe you into existence
with each impulse of your body
to take air in
and push it out.

Let My Love swell and break
and recede, wave after wave
on the edge of your awareness.

Sit with Me
enjoy the silence
enjoy your own breathing
feel the breath entering your body
and leaving your body
be still with Me
and know that I am God
I am for you
with this breath
and this one

all you need
the breath of Life.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Life with Kids

Owen with "steve" the cat.

You know you played hard when you fall asleep like this

Washing Dad's Car. They're Helpful!


Leif and Chippy the Chipmunk. Thank you MyMy

Their first green smoothie. A handful of spinach carefully masked.

The Outdoor Pool at the YMCA!

Owen Chilling "I cold"

Running the Gauntlet of the Mushroom!

I can't believe we have access to such a nice pool!

Sword Fights