Saturday, 17 January 2015

Whose Mirror are you Looking in?

 Who are you?
All of us are many things: husband, wife, child, parent, singer, writer, builder, gardener….Who you decide you are at any given moment is determined by many factors: your age, the season of life you are in, your circumstances, your partner…But who are you  when you are alone, in the dark, at your core?

The bible has a lot to say about who we are. Sadly most Christians either don’t believe it or don’t act on it.  Who we believe we are determines how victoriously we live as Christians, whether we are indeed the overcomers the bible calls us or whether we are as defeated & joyless as the rest of the world.
When we looked at salvation we looked at the Hebrew word *tov* ~ which our bible translates as good.  And you will remember I said that is a poor translation & that tov would be better rendered as *functional*.  Much as I like arcane & esoteric knowledge I don’t rabbit on about these things just for the sake of showing off.  Tov is crucial to our understanding of who we are in Christ & how God sees us.

When Adam sinned he brought dysfunctionality, death & decay ~ which Christ defeated at the cross.
Put in the simplest terms at salvation I died with Christ & died to the power of sin’s rule over my life. Rom 6:1~6  In other words I was empowered to become functional in the way God intended again. 

These are not just pretty words. These are Kingdom principles. From the moment you accepted Christ as your saviour you became a child of God & He became your loving Heavenly Father, you were adopted into the family of grace, created in His image & declared righteous by Him by faith in His son ~ all of which has serious spiritual implications.  The one thing satan is determined about is preventing Believers from really understanding & grasping hold of who they are in Christ.  So long as he can convince you you are powerless, defeated,worthless, insecure, unbeautiful, unfruitful, inadequate, faithless, cowardly, sick, diseased, broken ad nauseum then he has effectively dulled a kingdom weapon.  As soon as we begin declaring satan is a liar from the beginning & the father of lies we have positioned ourselves so that we can declare God’s Truth about us over our lives.  If satan can convince you to believe a lie he effectively controls your life.
 See, words have power.  Satan knows that if he can get us to believe his words then we will have trouble believing God’s words but as God’s children it is His words we are meant to be believing, His words we are meant to speak into our lives, his truths we are to grab hold of, His promises we are meant to claim.  Non~ believers have no right to the things of God but God’s children are heirs to the kingdom & the kingdom rights & privileges are theirs to claim.  If you believe satan you will live defeated, beaten before you ever begin.  Believing what God has already declared you are results in growth & victory.
Ephesians 5:8 declares that at the moment of salvation we were transferred from the Kingdom of darkness into God’s Kingdom of light.  We are born again. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all things have become new. 2Cor5:17 This changes our relationship with God.
 Some of us are parents; all of us have been children.  We understand that our children will always be our children because they were born to us.  The state of that relationship is another matter, determined by how we relate to our father.  As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph2:10
The practical implication of this is found in 2 Peter 1:3
 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

God has already given us everything we need to live a godly life. Everything!
Now the thing about the Christian life is it active, not passive.  Always.  Each & every time. James says faith without works is dead. To each has already been given a measure of faith [romans 12:3] & there are different levels of faith.
The biggest pitfall of the Christian walk is having become saved we rest on our salvation & become passive recipients.  We listen to sermons.  We pray.  We read our bibles but we don’t actively do anything! This is not how Christ meant it to be.  We are called to be doers of the word, not hearers only.
Now I am going to give you one tool & one tool only to equip you to defeat satan’s wiles.  In one way it is the only tool you need & you will hear me say this one thing over & over in different contexts & there are 2 parts to what I am going to tell you.
It is really simple & it is stunning how many Christians simply will not do this one thing: know your bible!  Part one is to know who God is & know what God says about you.  That’s not all that hard.  The second part is to do what James says: apply what you know to your life! God has made this possible through transforming our inner man, our spirit, but it is our responsibility to crucify our flesh & renew our minds ~ our old ways of acting, thinking & believing ~& put on Christ as Colossians 3:10 says.  We are to deliberately & actively cultivate new ways of thinking, believing, acting so that we become more & more like Christ & there is only one way to do this.  We have to know what it is we are meant to be becoming more like & where we find that information is in the bible!
Our freedom in Christ is not licence to continue as we were.  It is the God given ability to make different choices.

One definition of insanity I like goes like this:  Insanity is doing the same thing over & over but expecting a different result.  If we want a different outcome we have to make different choices.  We have to change the way we think, what we believe, what we do.The unregenerated man is incapable of this but the saved man is empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Paul states very bluntly that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  All things. We can break old habits.  Break  crippling thought patterns.  Establish new beliefs, new habits, new thoughts. We do this by replacing the lies satan would have us believe with God’s truths about ourselves.
Now you should each have a couple of sheets with a number of bible verses on them. I would like you all to choose just one verse in an area where you could do with some help, cut it out & post it in a prominent place where you will see it multiple times a day.  I use the window behind our kitchen sink or the edge of my computer.  I’m not asking you to memorise it, simply to read it every time you see it & remind yourself of the biblical truth it states.  The idea is to begin replacing Satan’s lies with God’s truths one thought at a time.  Get the truth down into your spirit where the Holy Spirit can drag it up and remind you what God believes about you.  Thus we become doers, not hearers only. As Hebrews 5:14 says: But solid food is for adults--that is, for those who through constant practice have their spiritual faculties carefully trained to distinguish good from evil.

1 Corinthians 2:12 And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

Romans 5:1~2 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.
Romans 8: 1~2 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
1 Corinthians 2:12 For, "Who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?" But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
Ephesians 1: 13~14 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
2 Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Ephesians 1:3~4 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
Eph 2:6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
Eph 3:12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence.
Colossians 2:9~11  For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;  and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;…
2 Timothy 1~7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Philipians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus
Psalm 27:1 A psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation--so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
1 John 4:4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
2 Corinthians 2:14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.
1 Peter 5: 6~7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Romans 8:31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Matthew 28:20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Neil T. Anderson who helped me clarify my thoughts on this subject.

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