A man in China was delighted to get two puppies from a local farmer.

Several months later, however, the puppies were exhibiting unusual behavior.

They killed and ate his pet chickens. They had an insatiable appetite.

And, they were huge—each weighed over 100 pounds.

But, not until the man saw a pamphlet on endangered animals did he realize that his beloved dogs weren’t dogs at all.

They were Asian black bears!

Two things we learn from this:

1) Nature determines identity. These “two puppies” did not have a dog nature but a bear nature. It was a case of mistaken identity!

2) Identity is confirmed by behavior and growth. Puppies will grow into dogs; if they don’t look or act like dogs, then aren’t dogs at all.

Let’s apply this to our spiritual lives:

1) Our spiritual nature determines our identity.

Through faith in Christ as our Savior, we share His nature as 2 Peter 1:4 says: “He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” Since we have Christ’s nature, He determines our identity. We are now beloved children of God!

2) Our identity is confirmed by behavior and growth.

We expect those who identify with Jesus Christ and are “partakers the divine nature” to grow more like Him through His divine nature empowering us.

When we live out our identity in Christ, by tapping into His strength, He enables us to have victory over our fleshly desires as the rest of vs. 4 says: “having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

If we consistently walk by Christ’s power through the Holy Spirit, then He will produce His fruit through us as we see in 2 Peter 1: 5-7.

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

It is through the Holy Spirit’s power alone and promises of God’s Word that we are able to live this way at all.

Our daily concern should be to participate in the work that the Spirit is doing within us to make our identity as the children of God clearly evident to all.

Living victoriously in Christ, can be likened to power steering on a car.

The engine provides the power for the steering, but the driver must actually turn the wheel.

So the Holy Spirit provides the power for living, but we must choose to yield to the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual growth in Christ is a choice, it does not come automatically.

As we believe God’s precious promises that we have Christ’s divine nature and have our identity in Him, then we can live it out by His Spirit.


Pastor Ken Keeler, Director of Church Ministries