From the time that the Lord first called Abram (Genesis 12:1-4) at age seventy five and for the next twenty five years the Lord continued to affirm and reaffirm him. (Genesis 13:14-18, 15:1-5, 17:1-27, 22:11-18) To affirm someone is to, assert strongly and publicly by declaring as a fact, one's support for another by validating, upholding and defending them. Everyone needs affirmation. Even Jesus Christ the Son of God was affirmed, "When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying,"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17) Jesus was affirmed by His Father at the launch of His ministry on earth as the Son of Man and "We declare to you glad tidings, that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: You are My Son, today I have begotten You." (Acts 13:32-33) He was affirmed again by the Father at the fulfilling of His ministry on earth when He was resurrected from the dead.
Many in the church today struggle with their identity and affirmation. I myself also have struggled with the same because my natural father passed away when I was young and I did not become a believer until twelve years later. However, at a conference in 2002 the Holy Spirit spoke to me to go forward and receive a father's affirmation from a well known man of God who was thirty years my senior and had been in the ministry for fifty years. When I received the father's affirmation I truly felt validated and from that point forward was able to receive my Heavenly Father's affirmation through His Word as to how He truly sees me and my identification with Him through Jesus Christ. It is truly liberating when you absolutely know with out wavering that, "...He made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 2:10)
So, why do believers struggle with who they truly are in Christ. Look what happen to the Lord after the Father affirmed Him, "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. and when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread....Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down..." (Matthew 4:1-3, 5) Satan attacked Jesus’ affirmation or identity by basically saying, "If you really are who you say you are then prove it." Jesus knew who He was so He did not have to prove it to Satan.
Paul tells us, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:10-12) To define what a scheme of the devil is from a biblical perspective, it is a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect in a devious way with the intent to do something illegal or wrong. Paul encourages the believer to be strong and courageous by totally relying on God’s strength, abilities and promises. Believers are not to rely on natural things for the warfare at hand, but God has spiritual armament to triumph over the devious, illegal systematic plans and ideas of the devil.
Paul reiterates this very thing in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 but reveals something else, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." Paul tells us again that God has spiritual armament for pulling down strongholds (fortress, or strong fortification) These strongholds are everything that opposes God's Word, such as philosophies, fantasies, reasoning and false doctrines. These things are all demonically influenced and if unchecked will attach themselves to our soul (mind, will and emotions) When a person thinks about something long enough or has repetitive thoughts, a belief system is formed. These beliefs when held on to long enough become mental strongholds. Mental strongholds are powerful because they hide the truth and can shape a person into a false identity.
Satan’s primary schemes is to keep believers from knowing who they truly
are in Christ which keeps them from the call of God in their life,
defeating their purpose. This scheme also causes believers to
feel inadequate or inferior because it fills the mind with sin
consciousness. The following are some examples of how this diabolical
scheme can get place with believers....
- Being hurt in any relationship;
- Being abandoned by a parent, spouse, loved one or close friend;
- Physical or mental abuse;
- Hurt by another believer especially a church leader;
- Receive(d) constant criticism;
- Have faced a traumatic situation;
- Experience numerous failures; etc.