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Identity Motivated Living™
is an expression that embodies the essence of the Christian life. Jesus Christ comes into us to dwell, creating in us new life, a new creation, and a new nature. Power wells up from this new nature, motivating us to good works out of love for God. Our new identity comes from the Father; we have Jesus living in us always; and the Holy Spirit empowers us to be more and more like Christ.
Jesus uses the term, “...I am,” to reference himself in John 8:58. Thus, the acronym I. M. Living refers to “Christ in us the hope of Glory.”
Dr. Maurice E. Wagner embraced this as a slogan for the unique concepts he discerned during his 60 years of ministry.


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This is the first volume in a program to help Christians grow spiritually and develop emotional stability. As Christians grow in the knowledge of God’s Word and in self-understanding based upon that knowledge, they have a natural tendency to want to help others know Christ, to grow spiritually, and overcome their insecurities.

The purpose of the program is twofold: (1) To help Christians grow spiritually. (2) To train Christians in exercising godly love toward others who are hurting and seeking help. This starts with understanding the Word of God and how it applies to our sense of personhood, our understanding of emotions, and how to follow God’s leading in managing our daily situations. The program is designed to be a Bible study that has practical application to life’s situations. Those who take the program will not only be fed intellectually with Bible knowledge, but they also will be encouraged to quality as Caring Christian Friends. All of the studies promote bonding in Christian love as Christ’s farewell prayer to His disciples indicated, “That they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11).

The theme of this program is best expressed in 2 Timothy 2:15. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

As Christians we are God’s workmen, His ambassadors, His witnesses. It is God’s design that His children grow in the knowledge of His Word and thereby obtain the practical understanding needed to apply His Word to daily situations, both in coping with the pressures from the environment and in resolving their own inner struggles. As we discover the essence of walking by faith daily, we will naturally want to share our understanding with others who want help. This course is designed to accomplish this broad range of goals.

There are four volumes covering a minimum of one year of study. Each volume contains thirteen lessons. It is recommended that every student allow one week for the assimilation of each lesson before he starts working on the next lesson. The first four volumes focus on spiritual growth and self-understanding, the first phase. The second phase, lasting thirteen months, focuses upon how to be helpful to others. The textbook is entitled, “How to Be Helpful without Meddling.” The study material begins at the point of a person’s conversion and continues in a sequence of development toward spiritual maturity. Since many other courses have been written and are available that cover the elementary elements of salvation, this course spends very little time on these matters. It plunges immediately into the issues with which every Christian grapples in trying to live the Christian life, starting with a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches. Specific counsel is given in how and when to refer people in distress to certain professionally trained persons in the community.

Anyone who wants to improve the quality of his or her Christian life can take the program. A person who is not really sure of his salvation will very likely have his doubts erased by the time he has completed the first three or four lessons. The material is written for persons of high school age or older who are willing to commit time and effort in self-improvement. Upper-division high school students, however, may need a little extra guidance with some of the concepts presented, but they should be encouraged to become involved.

The program is designed to be studied in three different ways. All three are important. Each student will benefit by using all three ways. Those who take the program need to understand that they are undertaking a series of studies which will help prepare them to live godly lives as Christians.
1. Personal study is absolutely essential to comprehend the material. Each lesson ends with questions for thought and discussion. Space is provided on each page of the lesson material for brief notes. Many students, however, prefer to take notes in a separate notebook and write down questions to bring to the class or to the growth group.
2. Class lecture. Each participant should enroll in a Sunday school or Bible study class where these lessons are taught. In Appendix A of each volume, the teacher of the class is provided with suggestions for teaching these lessons. Listening to an oral presentation of each lesson should greatly enhance the cognitive understanding of the material. A list of Scriptures used in each lesson is provided in Appendix D for both the student and the teacher.
3. Growth Group. The growth group experience is an essential part of the program. After studying each lesson personally and after attending a class where one has heard the concepts of the lesson expounded, the student is ready for a growth-group experience. Ideally, each person who attends the class should also be part of a growth group in which twelve to fifteen people meet regularly for two hours each week (or less, if that amount of time is not available) for discussing how the material is encouraging them in their Christian life. This is a time for sharing one’s own personal reactions, interests, and needs. The personal study and the class teaching are highly cognitive in nature. These two approaches acquaint the student with what each lesson is all about. The growth group discusses the application of what has been learned and this provides practical experience in applying the material.
The purpose of the growth group is not to expound the lesson material, except for certain questions that individuals may raise. In a growth group, each person enjoys entering into a discussion of issues that are of more personal concern. One of the most enriching experiences in Christian development is sharing with others and learning from them how they apply divine truth in their lives. Personal questions will very likely be answered and experiences of group members will be shared. This is where the real truth of each lesson is riveted into spiritual growth. It is where one becomes more specifically aware of his own needs, and where he learns to be sensitive to the needs of others – all of which promote fulfillment in Christian living. Growth groups are intended to facilitate bonding in Christian love and thus strengthen the sense of the church being a spiritual family and demonstrating to the world that Christ is real. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”(John 13:35).
Through the continuous growth group experience, Christians become increasingly aware of the importance of Christian fellowship in God’s scheme of world evangelism. Many non-Christians in each community are curiously interested in God’s Word, and some, in His leading. These people are often delighted to learn of Christians who seem to be “getting it all together.” Growth groups should eventually change the usual image of the church as being just “a worship station” into being a vital living organism for good in the community.

The course is designed for lay leadership. Anyone who is involved in the program and has read Appendix B can volunteer. The leader, of course, should be a born-again Christian and capable of interacting with others in a leadership capacity. Leadership should be assumed for thirteen weeks, or it can be longer if the group desires. Two people can be appointed as team leaders if that is desired as, perhaps, a husband and wife.

Ideally, an Advisory Committee appointed by the church should help form and oversee the formation of classes and each growth group. This will help maintain stability and utilize the benefits of the course in the overall ministry of the church. Appendix C of this volume gives guidelines for selecting an Advisory Committee, for regulating its responsibilities, and for managing the total “Spiritual Growth and Fitness” program. The term fitness is used to suggest fitting oneself to be a Caring Christian Friend who is prepared to be truly helpful.

Class teachers are usually appointed by the church in the process of its organizational function. The church usually establishes the qualifications of teachers. In case no church is available to back up the program, please contact Christian Growth Publishers for suggestions as to how to manage this aspect of the program. One pastor reports remarkable benefit in having members of the class volunteer in advance to teach one lesson. In this way he is able to assist in training new workers. Frequently we hear of the class teacher and the growth group being combined in order to save time. This would best apply where the interested group is relatively small.

Lesson 1
Sonship has a historical meaning
Sonship has a biblical meaning
Sonship has a special meaning for each Christian
A special invitation for all to come and receive
Christians actually new persons in same body
Christians look to a completed redemption
Christians have a tremendous heritage

Lesson 2
Prayer is the lifeblood of Christian living.
Many wonder how to pray.
Jesus explained how not to pray
Jesus tells how we should pray
Prayer needs to be seasoned with gratitude

Lesson 3
Taking little or no time to focus
Making prayer a duty
Treating God as a servant
Misunderstanding who God is
Cherishing sin in our heart
Praying with wrong motives
Praying with unbelief
Praying with doubt
Praying with duplicity
Praying with an unthankful spirit
Faith responds to opportunity

Lesson 4
Sources of doubt
Doubt immobilizes
Some doubts are self-deception
Doubts must be overcome

Lesson 5
God has taken the initiative to reveal Himself
God revealed himself as a person through Jesus
God is available to us through Jesus Christ
God dwells in believers by the Holy Spirit
God invites us to come to Him in hardships
God teaches about Himself through hardships
God promises to be with us in our hardships
God urges us to come to Him with confidence

Lesson 6
Christians are redeemed from satan’s dominion
Satan became God’s enemy
Satan has a hatred for people
We have evidence proving we belong to God
Satan tempts us through fleshly desires
We have four advantages over Satan
Our battle is not easy, but victory is promised
War with Satan has already been won at calvary

Lesson 7
Temptation itself is not sinful.
Jesus’ temptations were categorical in nature.
Temptation arises from within, not from without.
Don’t blame God when you are tempted.
Practice a guilt-free mentality.
Define when thoughts become sinful.

Lesson 8
Maintain an obedience to God’s word.
Know your evil desires.
Jesus was tempted in three ways.
Each temptation is a challenge to our willpower.
Each temptation is a strain upon our values.
Strategies of Satan

Lesson 9
God knew sin would happen
The penalty of sin is death
God does not contradict Himself by being forgiving
God’s process in forgiving sin
God offers forgiveness to everyone
Levels of understanding God’s forgiveness

Lesson 10
It isn’t easy to be truly forgiving
To be forgiving, vengeance must be satisfied
True forgiveness models after God’s forgiveness
True forgiveness requires true repentance
True forgiveness can heal old hurts
Being forgiving manifests our love for God

Lesson 11
Lying is really a bad habit
Lying is actually sin
God expects his children to be like Him
God’s word demands simplistic truthfulness
Being truthful is putting away childish behavior

Lesson 12
Description of God’s will
Jesus is our example of perfectly doing God’s will
The key to determining God’s will in a life situation
Some clear instruction about God’s will
Doing God’s will begins with repentance and faith
Doing God’s will applies to three categories
Doing God’s will leads to obeying two great commandments
Doing God’s will develops a golden rule life-style of thinking
Doing God’s will produces a balance between receiving and giving.
Doing God’s will fortifies us so that we persevere in hardship
Doing God’s will brings rewards in heaven

Lesson 13
Thanksgiving is a way of expressing love
Some hindrances to feeling thankful
Overcome reluctance to being thankful
Benefits of a grateful heart

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