Thursday, April 19, 2012

Are You Struggling? It's Because YOU are Struggling!

The above title is neither meant to mock you or make you mad or confused.

Instead, to the degree that we are struggling with anything in our lives -- our money, our moods, our emotions, to that extent we are still trying to live the life that Jesus Christ is living in every believer.

First of all, we are saved by grace through faith, not by works. This Grace is a person:

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1: 17)

That Christ is grace personified, we can justify this because just as He is grace, He is truth, and in this verse, the verb "came" is in the singular. The Holy Spirit wants to make it very clear that grace and truth are one.

Jesus Christ is our new self, He lives in us, he works in us by the Power of the Holy Spirit:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 20-21)

Christ lives in us, His faith produces obedience in us, His righteousness is imparted to us as a gift (Romans 5: 17), one that redefines who we are:

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. " (2 Corinthians 5: 20-21)

Verse 20 states "be reconciled to God", not "reconcile yourselves to God." For those who believe, have been reconciled to God already:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 17-19)

We are in Christ, we are a new creature in our Spirit man. While the world emphasizes changing yourself, in Christ we are already transformed. We have to get our mind in line with this divine truth, reckoning ourselves dead to the flesh and alive in the spirit.

Paul was not telling the Corinthians to become reconciled, therefore. He was telling them to accept and live out what they had already become: the righteousness of God in Christ!

Returning to Galatians 2: 20-21, Paul writes that he does not "frustrated the grace of God." Now, how do we do that? Not by sinning, for in effect nothing can separate us from God (Romans 8: 37-39; Hebrews 13: 5-6). Paul explains in Galatians 2: 21 and later in the same epistle the culprit that can stop God's grace from flowing through us:

"If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 21)

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5: 4)

A life of victory in Christ is Christ's life living in and through us.:

"Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1: 27)

 To the extent that we trust in our efforts, whether to control our tempers, to watch our weight, or to mind our thoughts, to that extent we fall from grace, and thus we breed sin instead of righteousness in our lives:

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [and so on]" (Galatians 5: 19)

Whether trying to do good or striving to do bad, the works of the flesh are all manner of sin. Every fruit born of righteousness flows from the Spirit, including the much desired and must-be-received "Self-control;

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

"Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5: 22-23)

I find it interesting that the fruit of "temperance", or self-control, is listed last. Likely, this fruit, last but not least, is listed at the end as a sort of joke from the Holy Spirit. For every believers, we are to receive the capacity to endure by receiving, receiving, and when things get tough and we feel compelled to "do something" to get back, to get even, to get ours, we receive more from the Spirit.

To the extent that we struggle with anything, therefore, we are demonstrating blatant unbelief, forgetting who we are whose we are. To the degree that we meet every calamity with the grace of God within us, to the extent that we abide in Him, as He is in us, then we bear the fruit of obedience. No matter how mad, sad, or undone you may feel, meditate on who you are in Christ, and all that He is now doing in and through you, for every believer is bearing fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who will never leave us nor forsake us.

Are you struggling? It's because YOU are struggling -- Let Him work in you!

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