Monday, October 18, 2010

The Power of Belief

Wow...  God has been speaking to me tonight.  I woke up at 4am and realized the power of belief.

Have you ever wanted to do something but in your thoughts you defeated yourself before you ever got started?  Or am I the only one?  Have you ever had the opportunity to move to a new level in your walk with God or in a role you have, and you got scared?  Your thoughts then moved to self-protection or self-awareness and you knew that you really could not really do what you hoped to do? 

Like write a book.  Like get married.  Like lead a ministry.  Like really live a victorious and powerful Christian life. Like move away from a self-defeating, joyless Christian life?   Like so many many things. 

I write these posts, one, because I am learning myself and it helps to write.  But I'm also writing because I think that what God is teaching me is true and it encourage you too.  If you have gotten stuck along the way, or if you have been walking in these truths and walking by faith yet feel alone. I think we can help each other. We can encourage eachother in the faith. I think our lives will be richer for it.

I had lived a self-defeated life for so long as a Christian that I'm really motivated now, even if I'm just really learning to write, to proclaim the reality of freedom and joy in Christ. Because I believe the reality that we can live in Christ is powerful and abundant and we settle for so much less.  I believe it's true for me and I believe it's true for you.  I believe that as we walk in Truth, we will walk free and powerful lives in Christ.  I believe we are designed to live this way.

Fleshly, earthbound thoughts can try to hold us back.  But do they have the power to hold us back?  No, they don't because we have been set free from the power of sin and death through Jesus Christ.  We are alive from the Dead.  We have been raised from the Dead in Christ.  We live because He lives in us.  We have been resurrected in Christ through the power of His resurrection.  And we live in Him. 

I write because God has just brought me through 5 days where I was letting my soul speak to me with earth bound thoughts and my body followed those thoughts and I began to feel like I could never do all I hoped to do.  And what I realized -- again -- tonight is that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  I am not defeated.  The Word of God does not lie. 

As I have been focusing on the Truth, I can actually feel life flow through me again and joy and power.  It's that simple, yet i struggled for five days.  The power of belief.  And not just the power of belief, but the belief in the reality that is really true because God says it's true.  It's not just believing anything.  It's believing God because what He said is true.

So I hope that in some way this message encourages you.  And you will in turn encourage me and others.  We can encourage each other to walk free lives in Christ.  I am learning. It has helped me to live it and walk through it.  And I share it in hope that it might help you in your journey to live it or continue to live it too. If you have floundered along the way, or felt stuck, I have felt that way too.  And we can walk through it together and experience the power of who we are in Christ. We can share in the mystery of God together and learn to walk by faith as the body of Christ.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New, but not really?

Have you ever fallen into the trap of not really believing the truth of who you are in Christ? Have you settled for less than what God has?  Jesus said that He came to give life and life abundantly.  Are you living far short of that ideal?

For years, I did.  I think I must have thought that I was new, but not really. That I was clean, but not really.  That I was forgiven, but somehow not really forgiven.  I kept praying, "God make me clean"  because I didn't feel clean. "God make me holy," because I didn't feel holy.  I felt like I still fell far short and could not figure out how to measure up somehow to the standard.

One day, God woke me up as  I cried out to Him.   He told me, "Nancy, I never answered those prayers you prayed to be holy, to be clean, because I already did it, the moment you first believed in me."  God told me that all the promises are Yes in Christ.  He is sufficient.  He has made me complete in Him.

Now I know that I am actually new.  Actually clean. Not sort of. Not partly. Totally and completely. 

I praise Him because I am free.  And we as believers are free indeed.  We have been freed from the power of sin and death.  We are free indeed.  We have been washed, and sanctified and justified.  Set apart to God and made righteous in Him.  What incredibly good news this is.  How freeing. How joyfilled and powerful.

So I focus on this truth today, walking according to it and resting in the finished work of Christ.  What a dramatic impact it has made in my life, in my children's lives, in my marriage, in ministry.  I am so grateful to God for His transforming power in our lives as believers!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Believing Who We Really Are

When you were a child did you ever pretend to be someone you were not?  A cowboy?  A princess?  Did you dress up and take on the role of that character?  You felt like that character for a little while as you played the game.  But  when you took the costume off, who did you become once again?  You became yourself once again.
Let me ask you.  When you pretended to be something else, did it make you that thing?  Or were you always you? 

As a believer in Christ, who has been transferred out of darkness into His marvelous light; who has been born again of imperishable Seed; who has been made new and righteous in Christ -- who are you?  Really.  Not who do you FEEL you are.  Who are you?  Who does God say you are?

If we have been saved by God and transformed by His power, the old is gone.  The person we WERE is not the person we now ARE.  We have been transformed by the grace of God.  Righteousness was a gift.  We are new in Christ. This is our reality. How do we know?  We know from the Word of God. God defines who we are.  He is the One who did the work within us, giving us a new spirit and new heart.  He filled us with His Spirit and has given us everything we need for life and godliness.  We are complete in Christ.

Just like when we put a costume on, it doesn't change our identity.   We are who we are.  Either we are dead in our trespasses and sins. Or we are alive in Christ. Our identity is sealed by God.  It can't be changed.  When we are in Christ we are new and holy beings. 

We are who we are, whether we "pretend" to something else or not. Probably a better word would be whether we believe we are something else or not.  If I am new in Christ and I don't believe that I'm new, does that change the reality of being new?  No. Because it is the reality of what God has done. It does change the experience of it though.  We say we are not transformed, not new, not clean, but those words are not the true reality.  They are feelings only.  Not truth.  If we base our reality on feelings or random thoughts we will walk according to those thoughts.  When we walk according to the Truth, we walk free and we rise up to live out who we really are.

Does this make sense?  It's faith. According to your faith.  Believing that what God said He would do He actually did the moment we surrendered to Christ by faith.  It's His work.  And it's done. Finished. Complete.  So we rest in His completed work. Fully enjoying the God who set us free.  Our hearts overflowing with thanksgiving, for God did for us what we could never have done.