Identification with Him
Nancy Taylor Warner
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17
What a powerful statement! John is stating that because of the working of the Lord within (love being made perfect in our lives), who we are and what we do is now a reflection of the very life of the Lord Jesus Christ. As He is, so are we! Because of that, we will be able to stand before His throne one day, not in fear, but in confidence.
Our calling as Christians is simply to “be” as He is. We were never called to “do” witnessing. We were called to “be” a witness to the “uttermost part of the earth,” or in every situation and place we might find ourselves (Acts 1:8).
We can “be” or “become” a witness unto the Lord as we yield to His inward working, which often takes place through our daily circumstances. The very life of Christ is worked into our innermost being as we seek to respond in ways that please the Lord. Through this process, we “become” as He is. From that place of identity with Him, He can then express Himself through us, doing that which He desires, not only in us, but through our lives.
There is a place of identification that the Lord is calling us up into, where His heart has been so formed in us that it is no longer “I” but Christ who is seen in me (Galatians 2:20). The very nature of Christ becomes my nature through identification with Him. I learn to respond as He would respond, rather than just in my own way. As I do this, I am brought into an identity with Him. I begin to experience the very life of Christ. As a result, others can see His life through me.
This is portrayed in the life of Abraham, who, going through many tests and trials, came into a place of knowing the very heart of God. In that knowing, Abraham was able to express God’s heart when he heard that judgment was about to fall on Sodom and Gomorrah.
Abraham was sitting in the door of his tent (Genesis 18:1) when the Lord came. Though there were unfilled promises in Abraham’s life that he could have begun to question the Lord about, that was not his response. Instead, he proceeded to minister to the Lord (v. 5).
As Abraham ministered to the Lord, at His own initiative, the Lord did speak into Abraham’s life regarding the promise yet to be fulfilled (v. 9). But the Lord did not stop there; He then said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” (v. 17) Then the Lord shared with Abraham His intention to visit Sodom and Gomorrah. He told Abraham that a great cry was coming to Him from Sodom and Gomorrah because of the grievousness of their sin (v. 20). The Lord said He was going to go visit Sodom and Gomorrah and see if, in fact, they were doing according to the cry He was hearing; if they were not, He would know it (v. 21).
Abraham knew there was great sin in that city, so he knew what the Lord was going to find when He visited there. Knowing the righteousness of God, he knew that meant judgment. But, Abraham also knew the heart of God.
Understanding that a visitation was coming which would result in judgment, but also knowing the heart of God, Abraham began to make intercession. He prayed that the righteous would not die with the wicked when judgment came. Scripture tells us it was because of Abraham’s prayers that Lot was brought out before judgment fell (Genesis 19:29).
Abraham is referred to as a friend of God in scripture (James 2:23). Looking at his life, he was one who recognized the Lord’s presence and responded quickly with acts of worship. He had a listening ear to which God could speak. Because he not only knew God’s heart, but was willing to identify with God’s heart in intercession, God was able to use Abraham in sparing Lot.
When Abraham understood what was about to happen, he did not respond just according to his own thoughts or opinions. He positioned himself according to the heart of God. He identified with God’s heart, then interceded accordingly. What joy he must have experienced when Lot was spared!
Today the Lord is calling us into the experience of godly caring and concern, where His love can be visibly seen through our lives, be it through prayer, caring words, or kind deeds. As we give of ourselves for others, the shared joy we experience when we have participated in meeting their need is worth far more than all we may ever give in their behalf.
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
When I was pastoring in the Washington D.C. area, we experienced a major blizzard. Each time we shoveled, more snow came. Men in the church were trying to help, but they were needed to deal with the snow at their own homes, plus the roads were slippery and difficult to drive on, and it was almost impossible for them to get to the church.
My dad was there for a conference we had scheduled for that weekend. We called everyone we knew, telling them not to come. However, we still wanted to go ourselves, just in case someone did come; but in order to get there, we had to shovel our driveway.
A snowplow had cleared the main road, leaving a huge bank of snow at the foot of our drive. My dad came out to help shovel, but when I questioned him, he admitted the strain was causing him some discomfort. “Don’t worry,” I told him, “I love to shovel snow. You go inside, and I will take care of this.” And there I was, left alone with my shovel. I am sure he went in and began to pray.
As I shoveled, I remembered that it had cost about $300.00 to have the driveway and parking lot plowed, only to again be buried in snow. I could not afford that, so I kept shoveling. It was a wet, heavy snow, and my efforts were barely making a dent. As I shoveled and prayed, I found myself quickened with a passage of scripture from the Song of Solomon.
“Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field…there will I give thee my loves.” Song of Solomon 7:11-12
I knew that the Lord had called me to the place where I was and that we were in His vineyard together. “There will I give thee my loves” echoed in my heart as I continued shoveling. “Lord,” I said, “It is not that I am not willing to shovel this snow, but it is too much for me; it’s too heavy. Couldn’t You show me Your loves? Couldn’t You send a plow to clear this snow?”
At that moment, I looked up, and there was a white truck with a yellow plow passing by on the other side of the road, right in front of me. I felt the quickening of the Holy Spirit, which caused me to jump, my arms going up like I was in a worship service, as I said “Oh!” The driver of the truck saw me and thought I was waving at him. He turned around, came back, and without a word, began to clear our driveway. As I watched his expertise in plowing, my heart sank. I remembered the $300 and thought, “Now what have I done?”
Then I noticed a Christian bumper sticker on the back of his truck. When he finished, he would not accept any money. As I insisted, he said next time we could give him $25 if we wanted to. For the rest of the time we lived there, we never again had to shovel snow. I still marvel and thank the Lord every time I think of that.
When I shared this experience with our church, everyone was happy. But it was the ones who had come and fellowshipped with me in my shoveling who were the happiest. They knew what that snowplow meant, because they had tried to help shovel!
As we give our lives to pray for and help others, there is a joy we share with the Lord in what He does. Some years ago we heard that a minister we knew had come into a higher realm of ministry. Everyone rejoiced at the news, but I was really excited because I had prayed and interceded for them. Later they said to me, “I believe it was your prayers that caused this to happen.” I don’t know about that, but I do know I had a part, and that gave me great joy.
We are to edify others and minister grace to them. There are times in a person’s life when their need is exposed and seen by others. There are also many different extremes in today’s life styles. The Lord does not call us to condemn or judge; rather, He calls us to love. The love with which God loves us is the same love He is calling us to love others with. This is the love which the Lord desires to form in our spirit, that we might be partakers of His divine nature—learning to share with Him in His love for others, that we might also share in His joy.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16
May this dimension of who God is utterly transform us—changing our thinking, bringing us into an identification with the Lord. Let us be willing to give up our lives, whether by spending time in prayer, speaking kind words, or doing kind deeds. May the ministry of the Holy Spirit come forth from within us, so that God’s love will be shed abroad through us.
May we be like Abraham, ones who know the Lord and who are quick to respond to His presence. May we be ones who know the heart of God, ones to whom the Lord can speak. May we be ones who will identify with the Lord and His heart in intercession.
Even as Lot was brought out before judgment fell, there is an end time harvest yet to come. What joy we will have when we realize we have had a part, as we have been willing to find the heart of God for this hour, then identify with His heart in intercession.
If you would like, please pray with me:
Lord, we desire to love as You love. I give my life to You that this might become possible. I ask for Your heart for the very place where I am presently. I need Your heart that I might express Your life and desire to all those with whom I live and work. Cause Your love to be formed and seen in me! I ask for Your heart for our nation and the nations of the world. Lord, I am available. I want to be a part of the end time harvest. Join me with Your heart, I pray. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.