From You, to New
Sometimes it seems like it can be so easy to lose track of who we are in God! We get caught up in the things that are coming against us, overwhelmed with guilt for the things that we have done, or burdened by feelings of shame and guilt and fear, and we forget that there is actual value placed on us! We forget that Christ’s sacrifice actually erases those things from our past, taking them out of the picture completely and replacing them with Himself!
Of course the grandeur of God’s grace alone is unfathomable, but even more so that He erases our sin and replaces it with His righteousness! Consider this for a moment! Let that sink in! He replaced your sin, mistakes, faults, failures, worthlessness, confusion, fear, strife, and any ungodly thing in you with Himself! Replacing sin with righteousness, mistakes with prudence, faults with wholeness, failure with success, worthlessness with value, confusion with wisdom, fear with courage, strife with peace, and all other ungodly things with the things of Himself!
As we see in GALATIANS 5:19-21, there is a definite and notable contrast between the flesh and the Spirit, when we are told that “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” ; what was once consumed by darkness, is now prone to have the attributes of the Spirit because “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
As Christ Himself said, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” (LUKE 9:23) This act of sacrifice on our part, literally sacrificing ourselves daily, emptying ourselves out; our own desires, thoughts, opinions, ways, etc., quite effectively opens us up to the Spirit and allows Him to fill us with His attributes, His wisdom, and His ways!
We see this very clearly as he continues in GALATIANS 5:24-25 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” A statement which he immediately follows up with a plea to stay away from the attributes which were ours before we were filled with the Spirit, saying in verse 26 “Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
What He has done is effectively erase us of ourselves, and create within us a new creature; something that is absent of the darkness it once lived in before and, being torn apart from the world is now made in the image of the living God! An example would be taking a cup that is full of dirty and undrinkable water, pouring it out and washing the cup, then refilling it with clean and drinkable water.
We have a tendency to look at ourselves in the negative, and we struggle to maintain righteousness because we can’t seem to get a grip on what exactly He has done for us! The truth is that it’s much more simple than we tend to make it out to be!
Because of what Christ did, God only sees Him in us; a positive, and not a negative thing. When we focus on the negative, we can only experience confusion and doubt, fear and worry, and all manner of things that are contrary to who we are. They ARE contrary to who we are! Because these things are not of God, Who has filled us with His Spirit, these things cause conflict within us and put us in a position of weakness and confusion.
Again, we have a tendency to focus on the negative when our Spirit is wired to focus on the positive —the negative being anything that is not of God, i.e. our failures, worthlessness, flaws, etc., and the positive being the things of God, righteousness, worthiness, perfection and all manner of good things— and this is detrimental to our spiritual well-being. This is why it is so important for us to not only understand what He is saying when He says that “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (EPHESIANS 4:22-24) but also to make a serious effort to live our lives in this manner, daily!
Without the renewing of our minds, quite literally changing the way that we think, we will continue to be bound by fleshly and worldly principles, attributes, thoughts, actions and desires because the worldly mind is hardwired to gravitate toward these things, but the spiritual mind has been recreated to alter its position and gravitate toward godly things. Do you see now why He said that “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. ” (MATTHEW 6:24) and that “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” (1 CORINTHIANS 10:21)
Being born again has a definite and profound affect on us, so much that it actually changes who we are, and in being filled with the Spirit our state of being is completely altered to match His; hence the words in EPHESIANS, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
As I said before, though, we tend to look only at the things that we see as being wrong with us without understanding that because of His Spirit in us we are absent of those things. I will say it this way, Jesus Christ is the proverbial eraser which has wiped clean the board of our souls! If we are filled with His Spirit, how can there be room for anything else?
Though we might see flaws, God sees His Son. Where we see failure, He sees His Son. Where we see sin, He sees His Son. When we see imperfection, He sees His Son. Where we see only the worst things in ourselves, He sees His Son. Is there a pattern becoming visible to you? Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, God does not see any of the things that we so often place on ourselves because the purpose of His sacrifice was to do away with those things in us!
We, of course, want to continue to try breathing life into what God has undone and we find ourselves conflicted and torn and we wonder why things never seem to go our way! He said, however, that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them.“ (ROMANS 8:28) This is truthfully so simple that if you aren’t careful you will overlook it!
Let us piece together this puzzle!
We get confused, torn, hurt, angry, and doubtful because things never seem to go our way or because we see the negative all of the time, but He said that if we will put away our old selves (our ways) and put on our new selves (His ways) and live obedient and God centered lives that we will see an actual shift in how our lives play out! So that instead of complaining about how bad things are, how flawed we are, and how often things never go our way, if we will just stop thinking that way and focus on being obedient children of God that we will not only see a dramatic change in the value of our lives but we will experience the polar opposites of all of those negative things that we tend to focus on!
If I have lost you, please feel free to let me know! I would be glad to explain this to you in further detail!
Look, it is simple really! I have had people ask me how things are going so well for me so quickly, while things never seem to quite work out for them. The answer is simple really; obedience! It is not me who is doing anything, and it is certainly not of myself that I have obtained anything! The very same people will throw their opinions about God out there, assuming that they are right, though those very opinions lack any actual godliness and still they cannot see why things just “aren’t going their way.” You’d think that they would begin to wonder if maybe they are doing something wrong?
Beloved, it is not only scriptural it is literal! God doesn’t just say things to hear Himself speak and the book doesn’t exist because He likes to read about the things that He has done! It has an actual and applicable value to our lives that, if we abide by it, can actually change us and our lives!
We need to stop looking at the Word of God as just a book and start realizing that it is a tool and a pattern that has, and can produce actual substance in our lives!
There is a reason that He said “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to OBEY everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.“ (JOSHUA 1:8) He wasn’t just spewing pointless words out of His mouth!
We spend so much time focusing on what is wrong with us and our lives, and so little time focusing on the one thing that change our lives that it seems almost, for the lack of a better word, stupid..
I see so much strife around me, people saying “where is God?” or “I can’t feel God..” and things like “Why won’t God just do this?” or even “Why won’t He just answer my prayers?” and we say these things as though God needs to change something.. Perhaps, and I am going out on a limb here but maybe, just maybe God is not the one Who needs to change something.. I’m just saying.
In the end, what are you losing? Really? What is it going to hurt for you to just be obedient? In all honesty, what will you lose by changing the way that you think, speak, act and live? Truthfully you will gain far more than you lose; experience speaks much louder than words written in a blog! Do it, and you WILL see a change! I experience it every day! In fact, so much so, that other people see it! THAT is the power of God in our lives, that His glory is revealed in us; not by ourselves but by Him! It is not for ourselves either, but for Him!
I know that it can seem hard to do, that it may seem almost impossible at times, but honestly how can we claim to serve a God Who created the Universe and everything in it and deny His ability to change our lives?! Really, we need to start understanding the intense and serious truth that He is God and He demands obedience, He doesn’t ask for it; He does, however, reward it! We do not obey for the sake of reward, of course, but for us obedience itself is a reward! What is better than being a child of God? Nothing!! Yet, we see more people taking that for granted and making a mockery of it than actually living like He has created us to live.. but that is a discussion for another time.
I will leave this post with this: If you want to see a change in the value and in the quality of your life, change the way you’re living your life! It really is that simple! He doesn’t make it difficult! In fact, He very plainly says that He “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him.” How do we know that we love Him?? This is how we know that we love Him, “if we obey His commands.“ (1 JOHN 2:3) After all, He did say “If you love Me, obey My commandments.” (JOHN 14:15)
I pray that you have a blessed night, and I look forward to hearing from you! Feel free to comment, either directly on this post or via email! I am always glad to answer any questions! God bless!