We Live, Yet Christ Lives in Us

The concept of us living at the same time Christ lives through us, is confusing at best (Galatians 2:20). How much of our self is prominent and how do we give Christ preeminence in us?

Prior to coming to Christ, our spirit is dead, and our flesh is very much alive. We live in the flesh, plan for the flesh and we hunger after more of the flesh, the world and sin (1 Timothy 5:6; Romans 8:5-8).

Separated from God, we are blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Yet, when we surrender our life to Christ, our penchant for sin wanes.

We have no more desire to reap the destruction, which is sin’s reward (Romans 6:23). Now, our spirit is born again, and our flesh is dead in Christ (John 3:3-4, 6:63; Colossians 3:4).

Knowing that we are in Christ, and that our old nature is already crucified with Christ, gives us the power over sin. We no longer live in slavery to sin and the flesh, but we are slaves to Christ who dwells in us (Romans 6:7, 12, 14; 8:9).

Each day, we submit to God’s Spirit as he crucifies our old carnal nature, and we grow further away from the habits and desires of our old life (Galatians 2:20, 5:15-25).

God sets us free from condemnation and the law of sin and death by His Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2). We live victorious lives as we walk in God’s will under the direction of His Holy Spirit each moment of our day (Galatians 5:15-25).

Prayer:
Father God, help us not to allow a distracted life to keep us from experiencing Your fullness for us. Fill us with the fruit of Your Spirit, so that we no longer have ungodly character and negative personality traits (Galatians 5:22-23).

Use us for Your glory as we make Christ preeminent in our life. Help us to decrease, so that You can increase within us (John 3:30).

Thought for the Day:
We walk in the Spirit, which prevents us from living in the flesh. – Galatians 5:15-25

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Freedom from Strongholds

When Satan tempts us with a fleeting thought, we have two choices: we can ignore and dismiss it or entertain and dwell on it. If we dismiss it, we are free from its bondage. If we entertain it, we are in danger of falling under its oppression; and those who are not Born Again risk the possibility of possession by demonic beings (2 Peter 2:18-19).

It only takes 3-6 weeks to develop both good and bad habits. These habits develop a stronghold in our soul, and often in our body as well. Breaking negative habits is often a difficult and expensive endeavor. Even if we push these negative habits into our subconscious mind and stop them for a season, current events may trigger these old feelings and habits again.

We will revert back to them as a form of comfort, rebellion or a desire to be in control of some aspect of our life. Each time these habits resurface, they deepen the scars in our soul, and it is increasingly more difficult to extricate our self from them (2 Peter 2:20). Life triggers issues from our past and we respond to current conflict with unhealthy behavior patterns. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

We can completely escape from the strongholds of these habits only as we surrender them to God for healing and allow Him to guide us to resolve the inner conflicts, which connect us to them. If we repent of our sins and relinquish control of our life to Jesus Christ, He will slowly replace the negative aspects of our personality and soul with His divine nature and spiritual fruit (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 2:22-23; Ephesians 4:13).

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace, is our only hope and solution for freedom from this sin-cursed world. Help us to put on our new self in Christ and to walk in Your true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). We look forward to being like Christ when He returns (1 John 3:2). People today close their ears to Your Truth, deceive others as they are deceived, and seek solutions for their problems apart from You (Jeremiah 6:10-14). However, You always give strength to Your people and bless us with peace regardless of the circumstances we encounter in life (Psalm 29:11).

Thought for the Day:
Only those who surrender their life to the Prince of Peace will ever experience true peace in this life and in the next.

Accountability Partner

We all have areas of our life that we ignore; little habits, words and facial expressions, which are less than stellar. We do not even think about them…but other people see them. Even more importantly is the fact that God sees them too. He has been watching and dealing with us about these issues throughout our whole life. They are called “blind spots”.

We merrily go about our life without noticing that our testimony is tarnished by what we say and by the way we act. That is why it is so good to have an accountability partner. Someone that we love and trust, and that we know “has our back” through thick and thin. They love and respect us in spite of all of our idiosyncrasies.

We choose an accountability partner who would never turn on us or hurt us by the intimate details of our life, which we share with them. They should be spiritual, and endeavor to follow Christ with their life as well. They see our blind spots, those little nagging issues, which we ignore or are unaware of, and they are not afraid to point them out to us in love.

They are committed to God, and care about us as a friend and a fellow Christian. They are humble and recognize that they have faults as well; and they are growing and changing in their own lives. We can share anything with them and they will keep our confidence. These particular people willingly pray for God to strengthen us and to give us wisdom.

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus had twelve disciples, but He only took three to the mountain to see His transfiguration. He had three special friends whom He knew cared for Him deeply and would need the vision of His glory to strengthen them as they carried on His work after His resurrection. Help us to find those faithful few whom we can trust with our life and who will help us to grow in Christ.

Thought for the Day:
Since we dwell on this earth together, let us help rather than hinder one another.

Are Our Habits Helpful?

The habits we develop throughout life control our thoughts, choices and behavior. Some of them cause us to sow to the wind, and then we reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). Others prevent us from trusting in God, since we think that we can serve Him in our own strength. Habits should not control our life. That’s the job of God’s Spirit.

God will reveal the habits in our life, which are idols, and give us the power to lay them down at His feet (Philippians 2:12-13). We relinquish our habits and follow the leading of God’s Spirit each moment of our day. As we submit to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We are no longer drawn to sin and bad habits, which destroy our life.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He “lead captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8; Luke 16:19-31). He freed the Old Testament Saints from separation from God and led them into the heavenly realm (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27-30). Jesus is now our Advocate (1 John 2:1). He frees His New Testament Saints from Satan’s deception and sin’s temptation. He enables us to relinquish our habits good and bad.

We do not depend on good habits to accomplish God’s will for our life. We live in the Spirit and we walk in the Spirit as we further God’s Kingdom while we live on this earth (Galatians 5:16-25). We follow God’s presence rather than human effort and habits. When God’s Spirit abides within us, we are His children; and where He leads us, we will follow.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to meditate on Your Word, to listen to Your voice and to walk in Your precepts. We no longer need habits when we have the powerful and active Spirit of God to shape our thoughts, words and deeds. Thank You for involving Yourself in every area of our life and for providing for all of our needs with Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). Show us where we fall short of Your glory and help us to walk only in Your ways (Romans 3:23; Deuteronomy 5:33).

Thought for the Day:
When Satan takes our circumstances out of our hands, then we can cling closer to God. When we relinquish our problems to His care, He is better able to provide for us through them. – 1 Peter 5:7

Marital Wisdom

The Bible is a complete marriage manual, which God provided for us to use. It covers every little detail and even suggests consequences for a man who fails to follow its precepts (1 Peter 3:7). A man needs to listen to his wife and take her seriously (Colossians 3:19). If she mentions his inconsiderate habits, he can change them (Proverbs 28:13).

 

As the stronger vessel, he can carry heavy items or open the door for her, especially if she has both hands full (1 Peter 3:7).  He assists in the care of their children by helping with homework, enforcing table manners and supervising bath and bedtime (Galatians 6:2). He helps with the laundry, dishes and vacuuming, especially if she also works a full-time job (Ephesians 5:28). Above all, he speak kindly to her (Colossians 3:19).

 

Resentment will foster irritation, anger and impatience in your tone of voice and body language; so keep a short account of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Sometimes you may not even know what is causing these negative emotions, so take time to pray about it. Do not withhold physical attention from one another, except for a consensual time of prayer and fasting (1 Corinthians 7:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:4).

 

Not many men will neglect their own body, and God commands men to care for their wife’s need with as much consideration as they have for their own needs (Ephesians 5:28). A godly husband honors his wife and appreciates all that she does for him and his family. He ministers to his wife’s body, spirit and soul – her mind, will and emotions, in the same way that Christ cherishes His Bride, the church (Ephesians 5:22-23).

 

Leave love notes, phone messages, emails, texts and little gifts to remind your wife that you cherish her. Spend time together having fun. Schedule a date night into your weekly calendar and guard it fiercely. Make one another your main priority. Ask what you can do to help each other every day. Pray together and submit to one another as joint heirs to the grace of life (Ephesians 5:21).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach each husband to shepherd his wife and children as the loving caretaker of their body, soul and spirit, considering his family’s needs above his own, laying down his life for his loved ones as Christ did for His Bride (1 Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 5:25).

 

Remind all wives to give their full attention to their husband and to listen to him daily and show joy over his victories and concern about his setbacks. Teach her to show respect and appreciation for him for all that he does for their family and home (Ephesians 5:33). Help each couple to work together to raise their children in Your nurture and counsel.

 

Thought for the Day:

Take time in your marriage to nourish and cherish one another. – Ephesians 5:29

Apart from Christ

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.

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 are used to living independently of any restraints or parameters for our behavior (Romans 8:7-8). We serve our self and make sure we come out on top (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 5:15). We do good deeds for others, but we want the praise.

When the Spirit of God moves in, He encourages is to shift our mind-set entirely. This 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 in Him (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 spirit, which was formerly dead in sin (Ephesians 2:5). At salvation, our old nature died and we were Born Again by God’s Spirit (Colossians 3:3). Spiritually alive, we now partake in the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). The fruit of the Spirit replaces our formal carnal character (Galatians 5:22-23). We no longer live apart from Christ, but in dependence on God’s love and will.

Some of our former traits, alien to God’s ways, still influence our thoughts, words and behavior. However, we can crucify our independent and willful tendencies on a daily basis (Matthew 16:24-26), and obey the will of God instead. Each day, no longer apart from Christ, we walk in more victory over the flesh by dwelling in the Spirit and following God’s desires for our life (Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:16-26).

Prayer:
Father God, by Your saving faith, a gift to us from Your mercy and love, we willingly submit our old fleshly habits to the work of Your Spirit within us (Romans 8:12-13). He influences and transforms us. He draws us to Your heart and renovates every aspect of our life. This free gift is priceless and we thank You for the sacrifice Jesus paid for our eternal life (Ephesians 2:8).

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit exchanges the deeds of our flesh by renewing our mind as we surrender our life to Christ. – Romans 12:2; Mark 10:28-29

Love Lifted Me

Prior to our salvation, we lived life with one goal and focus…our self. We did what we wanted to do and what pleased our self. Even living a life in service to others was done to please our self, because it made us feel good about who we are and what we were accomplishing. Once we come to Christ, those carnal desires to please our self are still there.

 

This is called, the flesh. The flesh wants to have its own way and rebels against anything to the contrary. At first, Paul’s admonition to die daily is not only foreign, but also repulsive to us. We cringe from inflicting any hardship on our self. However, God gives us both the power and the desire to walk in His will for our life (Philippians 2:12-13). Desiring to please Him above all else, becomes our goal and focus.

 

It is interesting that the only areas of our life that God wants to change are those parts, which are harmful to us anyway. Hobbies, habits and hang-ups, which are sinful, are also destructive to our well-being. God replaces our selfish character with His divine character and our human nature with His divine nature, and we are much more fulfilled and at peace.

 

In living for our self, Satan made sure we were attracted to sin. He made it look enjoyable and used that to tempt us. In Christ, we no longer enjoy the same activities and many of them are actually abhorrent to us. We no longer see any value in them or why they had any appeal to us in the first place. We find more and more freedom in our service to God.

 

Prayer: Father God, there is nothing this world has to offer that can take Your place in our life. We are never lonely again, because Your presence is with us and in us through every experience we will ever encounter. Our best interest is at the center of Your heart and You work out everything, even the worst sickness and the most dire of circumstances for our ultimate benefit. Thank You for Your love and direction in our life.

 

Thought for the Day: God’s love lifted me.