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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Secret Intents and Motives

When we depend on someone else for our sense of value, we put our self into bondage to that person. Our motives, goals and opinions revolve around that person’s whims.

People come and go in our life. They have unrealistic expectations of us, tire of us and dump us on the curb like a useless sack of trash.

However, Jesus never ever leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He died for us in spite of our self and our failings. He approves of us in Christ and fully accepts us with all of our idiosyncrasies (Hebrews 13:8).

We can also put our self into bondage to religion by attempting to earn God’s love and acceptance. We drive our self endlessly to work harder and to do better to please Him.

The truth is that our “self” is already crucified with Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20). At Salvation, we are fully accepted in the Beloved of God (Ephesians 1:5-7). God’s Spirit fills us to the brim and overflows on everyone around us.

We prove that we love Him by our obedience to His Word (John 14:15). We do not always keep each letter of the law all the time, but our motive in life is to walk in His ways (Galatians 3:24; Psalm 86:11-17).

God sees our whole heart – including our secret intents and motives (1 Samuel 16:7). He encourages us to keep our self unspotted by the world. (James 1:26-27).

Jesus loved us even when we did not love Him (1 John 4:19). We feel secure in His love, because it is not dependent on whether we earn or deserve it. It is a free gift, which lasts forever (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Prayer:
Father God, the world values human attributes like popularity, physical features, power, influence and financial abundance; but You reward faithfulness to Your Word. You discern our secret intents and motives and discipline or bless Your children according to the desires of our heart (Jeremiah 17:10).

Help us to shed the trappings of this world that we carry with us into our relationship with You. Purify our thoughts and teach us Your ways, so that we want only what You want and value only those things which bring You honor and glory forever and ever.

Thought for the Day:
We attempt to justify our motives and actions, but the Lord weighs them on His scales; as we consult the Lord, He will guide our steps and establish our plans in His will. – Proverbs 16:2-3

Fellowship with God’s Trinity

Prayer is the most important spiritual discipline we can accomplish. Prayer is speaking to God from our heart. Rote prayers and formulas for prayer are unnecessary. God already knows our heart and delights in hearing our own words (Luke 16:15).

As we mature in Christ, God places His burdens upon our heart for the lost people groups in our world, for those laden by illness and natural disasters, for people devastated by the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, and those suffering from other distresses caused by this sin-cursed life.

God gives us His heart and lays His burdens on us a bit heavier as time progresses. When we faithfully pray, the intense weight is terrible at times, but the fact that God trusts us with His heart is joyful and spurs us on to persevere in prayer.

As we acknowledge our dependence on Christ in all things, especially in prayer, we pray in the Spirit as well as with our human understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15). We see mighty answers to our prayers from a God who delights in bringing us joy (Psalm 149:4).

We stop limiting God by our doubts and carnal thoughts. We follow our Lord Jesus’ example and pray the prayer, which never fails, “Lord, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 22:42)

God already knows our needs, but He delights in our dependence on Him. Our Father savors the words of praise and adoration, which we pour out in our prayers.

He delights in our companionable silence when there is no immediate need to lift up in supplication. We bask in the warming rays of His continual presence.

We yearn for intimacy with Him, and He snuggles us under the shelter of His wings as He showers us with His love (Psalm 17:8). We even experience the fullness of His glory from time to time.

We pray without ceasing all through the day, regardless of the circumstances in which we find our self. We look for His seed for a miracle in the negative aspects and rejoice in His provision and blessings in the positive experiences.

Prayer:
Father God, as we take time in Your presence more and more with each passing day, Your love shines in us and through us as a beacon to the lost and dying world around us. Your Word shows us that the Saints of old persevered in their anointing by abiding in Your presence. Help us to fully surrender to Your Spirit each moment of our day.

Remind us in the midst of our infirmities that the ministry of prayer and intercession is the most powerful task You share with Your Body. When we allow You to remove our need to stay busy, You use our whole being in this vital ministry. We do not need to be bed-ridden to be effective in prayer; it is simply a matter of priorities. Prompt us to cry out day and night for Your Kingdom to reign over all the earth.

Thought for the Day:
When we pray without ceasing, we abide in fellowship with the Trinity and access their power in every circumstance in our life.

True Contentment

When life is free from stress and trials, we tend to forget God, to take credit for our successes and to change our focus from Christ-centered to self-centered.

God gives us room to follow our carnal desires and to experiment with our own plans and goals (Romans 1:24); so that when we fail or get the wind knocked out of us, we will run back to Him.

A trial brings us to our knees and reminds us that only as we are weak can we be truly strong in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). We no longer find fulfillment in a sinful lifestyle. God is our exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4, 149:4).

When God delivers us from various trials and temptations, our faith increases and we grow spiritually. We realize that we are now dead to sin and alive in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4).

Regardless of our circumstances, our soul finds true contentment, which comes from God alone. We gradually stop depending on our self and depend only on God. He becomes the very air we breathe.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We realize our utter dependence on His Spirit to guide us, comfort us and give us strength for each new day (Lamentations 3:22-23).

As we decrease, He increases (John 3:30-35) and draws us into a deeper walk with Him. We devour His Word, and this life-giving source fills us with faith and wisdom for living in this insecure world.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to find serenity, joy and contentment of soul in You alone. Nothing that this world offers to us equals to what You give us through Your mercy and grace. Through our total dependence on You, we find Your strength for each moment of the day as we rise up to meet the challenges life throws at us.

We can rest in You, because You have all things under Your control. We want to tell the world what you mean to us. Give us daily opportunities to be a friend in order to win a soul to Your love. Take pleasure in us as we hope in Your steadfast love (Psalm 147:11).

Thought for the Day:
Our delight is always in the Lord, because we find our true contentment and fulfillment in God alone. – Psalm 37:4

The Problem with Happiness

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, easily interrupted by negative thoughts, words and actions. Humans can experience the switch between the heights of euphoria and the depths of depression in a matter of seconds.

When we seek happiness in circumstance, people, events, pets, career, home, gardens, hobbies, church, etc. we are continually elated and then disappointed.

In disappointment, we even give in to fear, anxiety and feel apprehensive when we consider more than the one moment of time which we are experiencing.

Fear will dispel happiness quicker and put us into a deeper depression than any other emotion, especially if we suppress the anger, which we feel along with it.

We have the right to pursue happiness, but we cannot maintain it. There is good news in the midst of this negative prognosis, however.

We can continually dwell in an emotion much deeper than happiness. This emotion is not contingent on circumstance and is spiritual and depends solely on the presence of God in our life.

This deep seated emotion is also our strength to traverse the negative path in life, which we occasionally experience. There is no earthly issue, which can ever shake us from this positive outlook on life. It is called JOY.

If we choose to focus on the negative circumstances, or if we adopt a negative attitude, our joy will hover just outside of our soul, waiting in our spirit for us to change our focus to the joy, which is always set before us (Hebrews 12:2).

The world-wide Body of Christ, both in times present and past, is an example of a people who love and joyfully trust our amazing God for His constant provision, even during dire circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, You reach down Your arms and hold us until our grief and fears are gone (Psalm 68:5). You walk within us and guide us through the depths of grief, distress and insecurity. Regardless of the negative circumstances, Your peace and joy are our constant companions.

You love each of us the same amount and in the same way, regardless of our sinful past. We are confident of Your continual, unconditional love for us (John 3:16-17). We can never thank You enough for continually filling us with Your presence and Spirit, and for helping us to maintain a heavenly mindset rather than a carnal, earthly one.

Thought for the Day:
Our constant joy depends on our focus on the eternal Christ and our attitude of total dependence on His perfect will for our life.

I GIVE UP

“I can’t!” and “I quit!” are two powerful statements. They denote a desire and decision to stop trying in our human efforts. They lead us to realize that we can, only in Christ (Philippians 4:13).

They help us to die to our self and to rise to walk in the new life, which God has planned for us (Mark 8:34-35; Ephesians 2:10). His peace in our spirit confirms His will, and His joy is our strength (Philippians 4:7; Psalm 28:7).

We are dead, and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We empty our self of all of our plans, goals and dreams, and live according to God’s counsel (Ephesians 4:11).

God changed us from sinners to Saints, His adopted children who will inherit His Kingdom. All that is His, now belongs to us as well (1 John 3:2; Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 3:26). We are no longer strangers and aliens, but we belong in God’s family (Ephesians 2:19).

The Christian life involves much less striving than many Believers think. There is no need for us to use our humanity to accomplish anything in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We walk in the Spirit and exhibit His fruit in our character (Galatians 5:15-25). This enables us to trust in the Lord with every fiber of our being and not to depend on our human reasoning at all (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus died for our salvation from sin and eternal death (John 3:16 -18). Offering our life to His service in our vocation and calling is our daily commitment to Him in return.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for validating our worth through Your presence in our life. You set us free to live, move and have our being in You (Acts 17:28). Your mercy and love granted us forgiveness while we were still sinners (Romans 8:5), so that we in turn can forgive our self and others who wrong us during our lifetime (Matthew 6:14).

Teach us to discern the difference between the carnal or satanic voices and Your voice in our mind; so You can lead us throughout our day. Remind us not to expect certain results when we obey Your promptings, because Your ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Thought for the Day:
We do not allow success or problems to approve or negate God’s will for us, because we may not see the eternal plan, which God accomplished through us regardless of the results. – 1 Peter 4:12

An Alien Within

Prior to coming to Christ, we determined our daily routine by our priorities. We valued, worked toward and pursued anything that would assist us in reaching our goals. We developed this habit, day in and day out, living by our human reasoning and working to please our self and to secure our future. Then, the Spirit of God moved in and encouraged us to entirely shift our mind-set.

Prior to Salvation, our flesh formed habits as we trained our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions to respond and react in certain ways to the challenges and trials of life. We were used to living independently of any restraints or parameters for our behavior (Romans 8:7-8). We served our self and made sure we would come out on top (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 5:15). We did good deeds for others, but we wanted the praise.

Salvation sets up a dichotomy in our life, which causes a tug-of-war within our soul. God wants us to put to death the carnal deeds of our flesh, so that we can live an abundant spiritual existence (Romans 8:13-14). Yet, our flesh wants to maintain the status quo and control our own life. The tie-breaker is God’s Spirit, who rebirths our human spirit, which was formerly dead in sin (Ephesians 2:5).

Now, our old nature is dead and we are Born Again by God’s Spirit. Spiritually alive, we partake in the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4). The nine fruit of the Spirit replace our formal carnal character (Galatians 5:22-23). We no longer live independently, but in dependence on God’s love and will.

Our former traits, alien to God’s ways, still influence our thoughts, words and behavior. However, we can crucify these independent and willful tendencies on a daily basis (Matthew 16:24-26), and obey the will of God instead. We willingly submit our old fleshly habits to the work of God’s Spirit within us (Romans 8:12-13). We restrict the deeds of our flesh by renewing our mind and surrendering our life to Christ (Romans 12:2; Mark 10:28-29).

Prayer:
Father God, by Your saving faith, a gift to us from Your mercy and love, we receive Your Holy Spirit who influences and transforms us. You draw us to Your heart and You renovate every aspect of our life by Your Spirit. This free gift is priceless and we thank You for the sacrifice Jesus paid for our eternal life (Ephesians 2:8). Teach us to walk in Your Spirit every moment of our life (Galatians 5:16-25).

Thought for the Day:
Each day we walk in more victory over the flesh by dwelling in the Spirit and following God’s desires for our life. – Galatians 5:16-26