A Personal Declaration
I heard a really good illustration recently that related spiritual formation to the Declaration of Independence. In the Declaration of Independence our forefathers made a declaration of freedom from Great Britain. That was their new identity. However they still had to fight for it in order to see it through.
This is similar to our spiritual formation. As a Christian I can now declare that I'm free. That is something that I can declare in the present. Because my identity is now in Christ I can also declare that I'm patient because He is patient. Likewise, I can declare that I'm a good listener, that I ask questions instead of assuming, that I'm kind, etc. The list goes on. I intentionally want to speak of those things in the "present" tense because that is who God designed me to be. That's part of my identity in Christ.
However, those hang ups that are a part of my old man, once they are brought into the light, I can also now declare in the past tense. I used to strive for acceptance. I used to demand respect. The list goes on. When Christ said that I'm free I can make a declaration that I'm free.
Now here is the kicker. I'm still on a journey. When I struggle with an unhealthy need for acceptance today or when I get triggered and demand respect or when I don't listen and have to be right or whatever it may be, I have to admit that I'm still on a journey of living into what God has declared over me. To pretend I'm not is to lie to myself and to God.
So in that I find the balance of declaring God's identity over me while recognizing that I'm still learning to live into it. We need to recognized both the ongoing journey as well as the present victory to be successful in our formation. It also empowers and encourages others when they
see both in us as well. So through the power of God we fight to become what we already are in Jesus Christ! That's a Declaration of Independence!