I’ve been awaiting a break through. I just felt like I needed another step of freedom to function in what I was called to do in this time. A month ago I asked God, “What promise should I be clinging to at this time?” I heard, “I am making all things new.” That wasn’t a new word to me, but since the Lord had just brought it up again, I choose to expect it to happen in a new way.
In the next weeks, I felt very drawn to Romans 12 again. The verse I’d first been drawn to when I was born again was Romans 12:2. I heard the theme repeated over and over in messages and through other people. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is God’s good and perfect will.” You may have a different place of your mind that you struggle with. I was having waves of consistency in faith for different miracles and healings. I wanted consistency and a renewal of my identity. I was obviously looking at myself too much, because all things are available in Christ.
There are too many things to enemy is doing every day not to be more consistent, I was telling myself as I prepared dinner one night. I cried out to God. Just show me what I need to know. I heard in my mind “John 12”
“John 12?” I thought. I’ve been reading John 15 and soaking on abiding in Christ, remaining “in him” at all times. I’d also been meditating on Psalm 91, reading that I must stay so close that I remained in his shadow. Then there was John 17 about how Jesus prayed for us. Also stunning…that we would have unity, that we have been given His glory, that workers should be sent out. But, what about John 12? While I cooked, I listened to it on audio a few times but no light bulbs went on. When I woke up it came to mind again, John 12. I got out the old paper Bible as I propped my pillows up in bed. I heard John 12:46 and looked it up. “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
John 12 starts out with Mary anointing Jesus with expensive oil, preparing him for his death, for the day of his burial. People then learned that Jesus was there and a large crowd gathered.
However, I’d not noticed this before:
“…they came, not only on account of him (Jesus) but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.” I had never thought much more about Lazarus after he had risen. Everybody knew he had been dead, so seeing him walking around, living, breathing, and alive would have been a continuing testimony of the power of God in Jesus. It’s not every day that you see someone from a funeral walking around or reclining at the table, just eating dinner after being raised from the dead!
I continued to read John 12, looking for more. The word “light” kept standing out to me. “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may becomes sons of light.” (Verse 36). I read, “I am a son of light,” so what does that look like? Jesus said in verse 46, ,”I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” My mind flashed back to Lazarus in the tomb and I saw him newly risen, but with bandages around his body. Not only was he called from the dark cave to walk out into the light, but, in my mind I saw a picture of light shining through the bandages from within him.
I turned back to the account in John 11 to read what happened when Jesus called Lazarus forth from the tomb. Jesus had the stone rolled away, against advice of the mourners. With a loud voice he said, “Lazarus, come out.” Lazarus came out all bandaged up. Remember, Lazarus was in that tomb for four days. He would not have been very fresh. Bodily fluid would have leaked out of his system and so the grave clothes he wore would have been pretty nasty! Jesus then added, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Unbind him. Lazarus was dead, now he was alive. New life surged within his body. He had been called to new life as a living testimony of God’s power but he was wrapped in remnants of the old. Would they leave those on him? He had no use for grave clothes any longer and, no, they certainly wouldn’t have left any of them on him. In fact, he probably headed to the bath after that.
Grave clothes… unbind him…
Not only did Lazarus die and was raised, we died with Christ and were raised with him.
Romans 6:7-9 “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.”
Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
In our new life, do we leave any of the grave clothes on? I pictured Lazarus coming out of that tomb, covered with the filth of death, the remains of what was. The first thing Jesus commanded was “Get that stuff off of him!” I realized, “Lord! I have risen with you. I was dead in the filth of who I was, but in KNOW that I am alive in new life in you. I died with you and I am raised a new creation.
I realized the trouble, that my mind doesn’t always understand the full reality of that. I died with Him. I live in Him. We are one. I am free of death, of the old and I wanted all those grave clothes off of me! I then saw a picture of myself as a new creation, but with little bits of those bandages still stuck to me here and there. My old mind, the old man understanding was still sticking to me in places where I was already made new. “Lord!” I cried. “Show me where there are any grave clothes stuck to me that I need to take off!” As I did this, I closed my eyes and just paid attention to my body, as if I were like Lazarus, who had just risen from the tomb. With my hand, I started pulling invisible bandages off of me wherever I felt my attention was drawn to. No more!
The process of renewing our mind is one of bringing our thoughts into alignment with truth. I died with Christ a long time ago, but I wanted to be completely free to live a life that met up with Jesus prophesies for me as a believer. John 14:12 “Those who believe in me will do the things I do, and greater things than this because I go to the Father.” He would leave his Spirit here to dwell in us, the light from within, shining through with bright light for all to see! Like Lazarus, we are to be living testimonies of the light within us. Is anything sticking to you that blocks the light? Pull it off today!
Through this, the song “Forever” by Kari Jobe came to mind. “The stone was rolled away…. “ I pulled up that song and began to worship to this song, rising with Christ and coming out the tomb with Him. (You could pause here and do this yourself before going on.)
When this ended, I asked God to renew my mind about myself. I started physically to reach around my body and pull off every piece of invisible grave clothing that would keep leave old man thinking in my life to smell like rot. If you’ve not been having conversations with God about your identity, know that He is anxious to speak. He uses your imagination, showing you pictures in your mind, like Jeremiah saw. He echoes like your own voice in your head. He brings sounds and words to mind. Don’t limit him because, just like you, He is alive!
After I’d ripped off all the stuff I felt was sticking to me, I wanted to get to know my new self. I wanted the rebirth I have received in Christ to fully manifest in my mind. I knelt down, held my hands out, closed my eyes and asked Jesus to show me how he saw each part of me. “Show me how you see my eyes!” I waited. I saw my eyes half filled with water and knew them as the eyes of Jesus and I heard “When people look into your eyes, they will feel known.”
I held my hands out and went though each body part this way: my hands, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my nose, my feet…” As I saw what God saw in my hands, I received the renewal of understanding my identity.
As He is, so will I be. Continue your work through me Lord. Let me never think less of myself than you have created me to be.
John 17:26 “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”