Our True Identity in Christ

 

We find our true identity and self-worth in Jesus Christ. We are a stem on the Vine of Christ (John 15:5), a slave to Jesus, our Master (Romans 6:16-18), a holy place for the Holy Spirit to dwell (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

 

We are dead to self-effort through Christ (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus perfects us, and He is the author and finisher of our faith as we focus on Him and His will for our life (Hebrews 12:2).

 

God sent His Son in the form of human flesh, in order that the law may be fulfilled in Him (Romans 8:3). As we obey God, we will not walk according to the law or in the sinful passions of our flesh.

 

We will walk instead according to the leading of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout our day (Romans 8:4). We have no righteousness of our own merit, but we walk in the victory of the cross and in dependence upon our union with Christ.

 

A committed Believer wants to do God’s will above all else. That is our goal in life. Our every waking breath and the desire of our heart is to further the Kingdom of God in the earth.

 

Though we may fall short of God’s glory now and then, we surrender our life to Christ in order for Him to perfect us through sanctification (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Our thoughts, words and behavior match our desires. We put away sinful pursuits and seek holiness. We live life surrendered to God’s unconditional love, unqualified forgiveness and perfect will for our lives.

 

Through the Spirit of God, we are transformed into the fullness of Christ from one degree of glory to another through the process of sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as a container we show that the all-surpassing power in us is from You and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7). As we totally surrender our life and plans to You, we find all the riches and wonders we could ever want during both this life and the next.

 

Nothing is impossible with You, and we constantly reap the benefits of Your unconditional love for us (Matthew 19:26). Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your glorious plan of redemption for the earth.

 

Remind us that once our “self-life” is dead, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and through us (Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20). Jesus uses our hands, our feet, our words and our actions to further Your Kingdom in the earth.

 

Thought for the Day:

The only way for every child of God to fully live is to completely die to our own desires, ambitions and goals, and to hide our life with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

 

 

 

 

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Too Busy

Frequent inspections of our weekly schedule are very productive. We can note the number of hours spent in each activity. Then we can trim away some of the time spent in futile activities? Is our family overly scheduled? Where is our time to play, rest and relax together as a family? How often do we worship together on Sunday, pray together at home or do a family Bible study?

We can take time to stop, breathe deeply and count our blessings, and to meditate on God’s Word or to sing praises to His name, even when we are all alone. I enjoy plugging in my favorite worship music and dancing around the house dusting or vacuuming. It is fun and freeing. We have eternal security as an authentic Believer; if nothing else, that is a great reason to praise God.

We actually have many reasons to praise God. As our Father, He not only favors us with natural blessings, but also with everlasting benefits in heavenly places with our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). At Salvation, His Holy Spirit comes to abide in us. We now live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). Our future is eternally secure because of the price Jesus paid on Calvary for our sins (Romans 4:25; Isaiah 53:4).

The Church is our family of brothers and sisters, and we are part of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:19). Heaven is our home. Even with all the blessings of God in our life now, we have not seen, heard or imagined all the benefits God prepared for those of us who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). The world, the flesh and the devil can offer us nothing equal to this.

Prayer:
Father God, we enjoy our life in You now, and also live with the security of knowing that our future in Christ is sure. Remind us to reflect on the multitude of blessings You give us each waking moment, and to spend them praising Your name and giving You thanks for Your love, grace and mercy toward us. We want to express our gratitude to You now and always.

Thought for the Day:
Let us take time to appreciate what God did, will do and is doing for us every moment of our life.

Overcoming Negative Thoughts and Emotions

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down to indwell mortal man. He has been here ever since. He is found in the spirit of every authentic Believer. Living according to the leading of God’s Spirit, ensures that we will live a fulfilled life. Even in negative circumstances or discouraging trials, we know that God will work them out for our good (Romans 8:28).

God’s Spirit helps us to discern which of our thoughts are lies from Satan, and which thoughts are of God. The next time you realize that there is a war going on in your mind, pull out Paul’s measuring stick and compare your thoughts with it. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? Think only about such things (Philippians 4:8).

Then, throw out all thoughts that do not measure up. When the peace of God, which transcends all earthly circumstances and human understanding, rules in our heart again, we are free of Satan’s negative lies (Philippians 4:7). The Lord is always cheering for us, and the devil is always cheering against us; it is up to us to break the tie!

When we lay aside our former desires for sin and allow God’s Spirit to renew our mind, we put on the cloak of righteousness provided for us by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross (Ephesians 4:21-22). We live in holiness and truth in the likeness of God, laying aside all lies and deception from the devil (Ephesians 4:23-25). An attitude of gratitude to God ensures our success in overcoming every negative thought.

Prayer:
Father God, when we have a war going on in our mind, remind us take authority over Satan’s kingdom of darkness by saying, “Lord, I thank You for taking authority over Satan in my life, and for revealing to me the root and origin of this lack of peace in my soul. Satan, I take authority over you and all of your demons. I put you and your demons in the hands of the true Lord Jesus Christ. You have no authority in my body, soul, or spirit, because they are bought by the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.”

Thought for the Day:
Sit quietly and wait for God to reveal the origin of the negative thoughts in your heart; journal as you listen, to remind you of what God tells you during your prayer time and to give you a future record for what He does in your life.

The Flesh is Already Dead

The carnal person lives in rebellion to God’s desires for our life. The natural person resists God’s redemption and forfeits His peace and joy both on earth and for eternity. The focus of carnality is on the self and everything that benefits the flesh, regardless of any spiritual priorities or needs. Even Born Again people often cater to their flesh more than their spirit.

 

However, this carnal focus will not continue in the life of an authentic Believer. Our union with Christ makes a huge difference in our life. God’s Spirit will continually convict the sinful soul of His priorities. We find the freedom of forgiven sin, the contentment of acceptance in God’s Family and the security of our identity in Christ’s character within us (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

God’s Spirit renews our mind (2 Corinthians 4:16; Titus 3:5), transforms our emotions (Ephesians 3:16-20) and heals our body (Psalm 103:3). We enjoy worshipping our King more than serving our flesh. We willingly lay down the deeds of our flesh, because we realize that in Christ our flesh is already dead (Colossians 3:3-4). Spiritually alive, we experience victory over both sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57).

 

Prayer:

Father God, by Your divine power, You provide us with every resource we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). The fact that You dwell in us by Your Spirit and that You will perfect us in spirit, soul and body relieves so much pressure from us on a daily basis (Ephesians 1:14). We do not have to perfect our self. You give us the desire and the ability to work out our own salvation, as we live in respect for Your authority and power in us (Philippians 2:13).

 

Thought for the Day:

Be filled with the Spirit and speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. – Ephesians 5:18-19

Perfect Perfectionism

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day are ideal examples of religious perfectionism (Matthew 5:20). They took the words of the prophets and the law of God and turned them into a formula for success rather than a guide for life. They perfected their outward behavior without having an inner change of heart. They were clean on the outside, but inside they were full of decay and corruption (Mathew 23:27).

They reeked of inner darkness and death, which comes from the flesh. Jesus wanted to create a clean heart in them (Psalm 51:10), and to transform their carnality into perfect spirituality by His Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to do the same thing for us today. He desires to give us His new nature and to mold in us a new, pliable heart instead of the stony one, which is the result of life’s devastation (Ezekiel 36:26).

As God’s Spirit changes our nature to that of Christ, then our behavior changes right along with it (2 Peter 1:4). The more we affirm the work of God’s Spirit in our life, the freer we become from the lies and bondage of Satan and his demons. Our identity no longer derives its strength from our carnal efforts, but from the love, which Christ has for each of us.

We consistently act in accordance with Biblical principles rather than by perfectionistic perceptions of God’s law. We stand in the power of Christ within us, knowing without a doubt that we are children of God, co-heirs with Christ and part of His beloved Body of Authentic Believers (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 12:27). We walk in the victory of Calvary with the assurance of eternal life.

Prayer:
Father God, eternal life starts the moment we acknowledge our sins and surrender our life to You (Mark 1:14-15). Our intimacy with You, Your Son and Your Spirit grows each moment of every day for the rest of our life; as we spend time in prayer, Bible reading, fellowshipping with other Christians and worshipping together as Your Body on earth. Christ did more than forgive our sins, although that is the reason for our praise to Your name; but He also came to accept us into Your eternal family and give us an abundant life in You both now and forever (John 17:3; Ephesians 1:6).

Thought for the Day:
Eternal life is not the duration of our life, but rather the value of our life in Christ.