You are empowered to win the Lion's share of the victory, but only by being the lamb.
Lion And The Lamb Leeland
Self-identity is your ability to know who you are. Your personal recognition of your qualities, your strengths, your weaknesses, your potential. It is your self-assessment. Your answer to the question: “Who am I?” is your self-identity.
Self-identity is the way you look at yourself and your relationship to the world.
From your self-identity, you answer the questions: What kind of person am I?
What does it mean to be who I am? What do I do because of who I am?
Today we will discover that your spiritual heritage is that of the Lion, you are to bear the image of the Lion. Yet we will come to a surprise. The surprise is that to bear the image of the Lion, we must be like the Lamb.
Our self-identity is shaped by external influences. The world and everyone in it, reflect to us who we are. We start collecting this data in utero. Our parents and early significant others, tell us who we are. Then we go off to school, teachers and peers tell us who we are. Rampant these days are doctors with their diagnoses that slap a label on who they think we are. Junior High, the reflections we get in Junior High, usually all are derogatory. If not ego building experiences can make us think we are all that and a bag of chips. So it goes all through life, our experiences and perception of those experiences, are all data we use to define who we are.
I think it’s frightening this ability of others have to define who we are. Often what was reflected to us were lies or half-truths. Inadequate, inappropriate, distorted, and prejudiced opinions get slapped into you. The younger you are the less your ability to protect yourself from those inaccurate visions of who you are. You tend to accept them as truth.
For me, I discovered that the lies that were thrust upon me created an intense anger within. The lies made me strive for an unattainable perfection leading to depression. The lies and fighting the lies made me less than what God intended for me to be.
All the things you do, all the things you aspire to, all the things you value, find their foundation in your self-identity.
When you become a believer, "believer" is a Christian code word for one who has become a disciple of Jesus, (You become a believer when you Acknowledge that you know nothing about God. Believe that Jesus reveals all you need to know about God. Commit yourself to know God by following Jesus. And asking God to accept your faith, this Acknowledging, Believing and Committing makes you a believer) God’s acceptance of your faith results in you being reborn. Jesus used this metaphor of rebirth.
John 3:3 (NIV)
Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
When you become a believer, God’s Spirit indwells you. Spiritual eyes, ears are opened. Spiritual truth begins to confront the lies.
John 16:12-14 (NIV)
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
The Spirit helps you confront the lies you have believed about yourself and aids you in building a new identity based on faith in Christ. The Spirit helps to transform you from who you think you are now, into the person God has always intended for you to be. That person, your God intended true self, possesses the character qualities of Jesus.
Previously you have learned that one of those character qualities is that of a lion. Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Judah is the patriarch of the lineage that produces King David, Solomon, and Yeshua ben Josef of Nazareth, whom we know as Jesus. Your true self, your real identity contains a Lion heritage. You have a Lion identity that infuses you with courage, with stamina, with strength, with a prophetic witness and a voice for our Kingdom, and a task in carrying out our mission of bringing the Kingdom to others. You are the son or daughter of the Lion. You bear His image. Your self-true identity, Your real self. Like Jesus, you also are strong, courageous, and fearless in the face of evil and godlessness. Those qualities are in you right now. You have been urged to live like a Lion.
To see yourself as a Lion. To face the world with a Lion’s heart. God has intended for you to win the Lion’s share of the victory.
The Apostle John, or at least those heavily influenced by the Apostle, wrote the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to John; which testifies to the earthly ministry of Jesus; what Jesus did and taught his disciples. The Revelation of Jesus is what John wrote concerning the results of Jesus work. The Revelation is a word picture of the culmination of Jesus mission, and what an incredible mosaic it is.
In Revelation chapter four we are taken into the very throne room of God. Let’s read:
Revelation 4:1-2 (MSG)
Then I looked, and, oh!—a door open into Heaven. The trumpet-voice, the first voice in my vision, called out, "Ascend and enter. I'll show you what happens next." I was caught up at once in deep worship and, oh!—a Throne set in Heaven with One Seated on the Throne…
Moving to chapter 5:
Revelation 5:1 (MSG)
I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One Seated on the Throne.
It was written on both sides, fastened with seven seals.
The One sitting on the throne is God the Father. The scroll symbolizes the culmination of God saving purposes for the humanity. It contains the restoration of righteousness to the creation. It it's opening the world is set right, things become the way God intended in the beginning. The earth and its inhabitants in fellowship,
In right relationship as in the Garden that was planted in Eden. John beholds this and when there is no one found worthy to open the scroll, He weeps. John sobs in pain, because he can see no way that the Kingdom of God, can be restored to the humanity. That means we continue on in our sufferings, in our pain, in our brief little life spans. Never fully achieving what we are capable of. Never being who we are meant to be. Johns tears are the cry of despair.
Revelation 5:5 (MSG)
One of the Elders said, "Don't weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David's Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip through the seven seals."
Jesus is that Lion, the same Lion whose image you are empowered to grow up into.
It’s the image of a conqueror. When you think of yourself do you think of a conqueror? Do you see yourself as one who demands respect? One who is powerful and capable? Do you think of yourself as one who overcomes the odds and wins the Lion share of the victory? That’s your real identity. If not, why not? Why? You are still believing the lies thrust upon you when you were too young to defend your heart.
Hold on, there’s a surprise coming. One that reveals to us how we become more than conquerors. One that reveals to us the method of winning the Lion’s share.
The Elder says to John look—and this is what John testifies he saw:
Revelation 5:6-7 (MSG)
So I looked, and there, surrounded by Throne, Animals, and Elders, was a Lamb,
slaughtered but standing tall… He came to the One Seated on the Throne and took the scroll from his right hand.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the fierce king of beasts, appears as a lamb. Not only a lamb but the original word, means baby lamb. Like a year old baby lamb, a lambkin. Even though the lambkin is standing tall, it’s throat is slit, exactly like what happens to the Passover lambs.
Then the Elders gathered in the Throne room break out in praise, they start singing:
Revelation 5:9-10 (NLT)
“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”
Then John tells us all the angels start to sing, thousands and millions of angels break into song:
Revelation 5:12 (NLT)
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
Then John hears the whole universe joining in:
Revelation 5:13 (NLT)
And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and
in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
The Lamb is the Lion. The Lion is the Lamb
Read with me this lengthy passage from the prophet Isaiah that helps explain this image of the Lamb that wins the Lions victory.
Isaiah 53:1-9 (NLT)
Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows,
acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned, he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong and
had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
Isaiah 53:10-12 (NLT)
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
Those prophetic words we see lived out by Jesus. It was John the Baptist who saw Jesus and said to all in hearing:
John 1:29 (NIV)
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
You are imprinted with the characteristics of a Lion. Yet counter to all reason, to be like the Lion, you must be like the Lamb. I want to tell you the secret as to how to be Lamb like so that in this world you are a Lion.
Matthew 26:39 (NIV)
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
Did you read it, did you see it, did you hear it? “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
That statement can be given to you in one word: obedience.
In this encounter, Jesus is clearly portrayed as not wanting to be the sacrificial lamb, He doesn’t want to be publically humiliated, tortured and then executed by means of crucifixion. He prays for another way, to accomplish His mission. None is forthcoming, so he meets the needs of humanity, the need to be reconciled to God, the need of salvation, the need for righteousness, through the cost of a personal sacrifice, ignoring feelings, He does what He has been asked to do. The way of the Lamb is obedient love that seeks to meet the needs of others regardless of personal feelings.
The Holy Spirit empowers you to see yourself is as a lover. Your true self-identity is that of the lover who will go to heroic lengths to meet the needs of others. The secret of being the Lamb that wins the Lions victory is living out obedient love.
Like Jesus, you are empowered to live in Victory. You have within right now all you need to be victorious.
Victorious Third Day
Cast out all the lies that have distorted your vision of who you really are. You are a Lion, who is victorious, more than a conqueror in all things, by being the Lamb,
By being the obedient lover.
Go be who you really are.