Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I was Trying to Be What I Already Am

The more that I tried, the worse things seem to get in my life. I was trying too hard! I was trying, instead of abiding in Him, as He abides in me (John 15: 1-5)

I am a good teacher. I am a good writer. I am able and skilled to do all things. I have the peace and good will within me to do all things.

How do I know that I have peace?

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5: 1)

I have peace with God. Christ dies on the Cross for me, that I may receive peace. In fact, Christ Himself is my peace:

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;" (Ephesians 2: 14)

Of course, peace is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ comes to live in us:

"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)

How do I know that I have the good will to do all things?

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4: 13)

To every believer, this is truth. He lives in everyone of us, and it is He who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2: 13)

Then why did I struggle with uncomfortable emotions, doubts, and fears? Because I did not know who I was:

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4: 4)

Christ is within me! But there's more:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1 John 5: 4)

So my faith overcomes the world, and all of its troubles and hardships. Yet what am I supposed to be doing? I would get stuck in "my part", always waiting for some sign, something outside of me to tell  me what was the right or the wrong thing for me to do.

Then I learned what faith lives in me:

"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)

It is Christ who now lives in me. His life animates me. I am not living this life -- it is Christ who lives in me, who leads me, who guides me and every believer.

The problem for every believer, as Paul explains, is that we frustrate the grace of God in our lives. How does this happen? By trying to be obedient:

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

"For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

"For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." (Galatians 5: 4-6)

So, I do not try to live this life. I receive by faith, taking God at His Word, trusting that He is and rewards those who desire Him, that He is working in me. Then I faced another issue: I still struggled with empty thoughts, fearful and pessimistic thinking. I would have negative emotions and thoughts from the past and fear for the future. I never knew what to do, because these bad thoughts would distract me.

Then I discovered that we have all that we need in our spirit man:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:" (Ephesians 1: 3)

As for my body and mind, those I yield to Him for renewal:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12: 1-2)

My body I submit to God, by faith trusting His Spirit to guide me, as He promised:

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16: 13)

But there was still the matter of my mind. I still had bad thoughts, fearful thinking. What to do about this?

The writer of Hebrews provided me the answer that would renew my mind:

"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9: 13-14)

I also learned that I do not have to do anything, necessarily, but instead I meditate on God's Word, that I remember who I am in Christ, that He lives and thrives in me, no matter how I feel, or what I may be thinking. I am not trying to live this life, although for every believer that becomes the great temptation, to believe -- falsely -- that we are all alone in the world, and that I must move on my own.

I cannot live out this life, for this life is Christ in me, the hope of glory (Colossians 1: 27).

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14: 6). He knows the Way, He quickens me on the Way to Go, and He ascertains my Way in peace -- in Himself.

I cannot be separated from Him, and I cannot lose my place in Him. I do not worry about sinning, for I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 21), and by walking in His Spirit, I do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5: 16).

The real challenge for me, and fore every believer is to renew the mind to the truth of who I am in Christ, or otherwise I may fall into the temptation that I must do something in my own effort, as opposed to letting His life live out through me.

Yet even if I attempt in my own efforts to be obedient instead of believing on Him, which is the only work that I must do (John 6: 28-29), I rest in this promise:

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8: 1 NASB)

If I try, it means that I am under condemnation, that I must do something. Since I am now in this world as He is, there is no condemnation, even if in my mind I yield at any time to the spirit of error which deceives me into believing that which is not true. He is always there, always within me, always working within me, and my feelings or thoughts cannot war against the truth of who I am in Christ.

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