From Self-Effort to Christ-Reliance

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. Even as Believers we embrace the false doctrine that we have to try harder and strive more to please God and to grow spiritually.

We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble seems to happen in “threes,” and we are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We think of these trials as building character in us and transforming us into the image of Christ; so we patiently continue to prod along making the best of every negative circumstance.

Most of us need a breaking point in our life in order to step over the line from self-effort to Christ-reliance. Therefore, trials are actually like the Law – designed to bring us to the end of our self and to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24-26).

God encourages us to take our focus off our competent human abilities or our mortal frailty, and to concentrate on the reality of Christ in us instead (Colossians 1:27; Colossians 3:3-4; Galatians 2:20).

As we do, we start to live a victorious life apart from human effort and understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We enter into rest in God’s presence, which provides us with deep inner peace and fulfillment regardless of our circumstances (Hebrews 4:10).

Jesus delivers us from the bondage of every negative emotion, wound and issue we experience, and brings us astounding joy which defies description and is full of His glory (1 Peter 1:8; James 1:2-18).

God’s Spirit helps us to see our problems as adventures rather than as challenges. Our supply for each circumstance, and the wisdom to deal with it come from Christ in us, our only hope for success (Colossians 1:27).

God orchestrates every nuance of our life. His abundant light overcomes the densest gloom. His power and majesty slay every demon in spiritual darkness, which comes against us (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3; Daniel Chapters 9 and 10).

As we decrease, He increases (John 3:30). We exhibit more and more of Christ’s divine nature and we never, ever leave His presence (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

His Spirit leads us moment by moment in the center of His will for our life, transforms our character with the nature of Christ, and replaces our carnality with the fruit of His Spirit (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, nothing this world has to offer can take the place of Your goodness and grace. When the issues of life become more than we can bear, we sit on Your lap and snuggle in the safety of Your arms. This provides us with a ring-side seat to view the seed for a miracle, which You place within every trial, as it sprouts into fruition.

You designed salvation so that abiding in Christ is accomplished by one swift act of total surrender. It may take a deep trial, a layoff from work, rejection from a mate or a week-end retreat; but when our soul finally yearns for You alone, we readily relinquish our will to Yours.

Thought for the Day:
We no longer work out our own issues in life using God’s strength to fuel our human effort, because we come to the realization that we can live life only as His Spirit leads each moment of our day and provides us with the desire, wisdom and strength to walk in the center of His will. – Philippians 2:12-13

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Deep Inner Peace and Fulfillment

God orchestrates every nuance of our life. His abundant light overcomes the densest gloom. His power and majesty slay every demon in spiritual darkness, which comes against us (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3).

He encourages us to take our focus off our mortal frailty or our competent human abilities, and to concentrate on the reality of Christ in us (Colossians 1:27). God’s presence in our life provides us with deep inner peace and fulfillment.

Nothing this world has to offer can take the place of His goodness and grace. When the issues of life become more than we can bear, we sit on our Heavenly Father’s lap and snuggle in the safety of His arms.

I love to spend time in the night watches praising, praying, writing blog posts, and crying or rejoicing in the presence of our Father God (Isaiah 26:9). We are in Him and He dwells within us (Galatians 2:20).

This state of abiding in Christ is accomplished by one swift act of total surrender. It may take a deep trial, a layoff from work, rejection from a mate or a week-end retreat; but when our soul yearns for God, we readily relinquish our will to Him.

Once we make up our mind to allow Christ to live His life in and through us, our life starts changing – both in miniscule growth, as well as leaps and bounds (1 Samuel 16:7). We exhibit more and more of Christ’s divine nature and we never, ever leave His presence (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Prayer:
Father God, You only want what is best for Your children. Every action You take in our life, even the trials and tribulation, is an act of Your love. You wound, but You never break, and You always heal (Job 5:18). You fill the void within each of us and You satisfy the longing in our soul for something greater than this temporal life (Psalm 107:9). Your affection and provision never fail us.

Thought for the Day:
God’s children sing of His mercy and strength, which is new every morning; and we praise our loving Father for being our stronghold, refuge and fortress in all our times of trouble. – Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalm 59:16-17

Balancing the Soul and Spirit

Our spirit, the third entity of our existence (body, soul, spirit), is originally dead in sin, until we repent and come to Christ as our Savior. This starts a gradual process of total surrender to God’s will for our life. We no longer follow our heart, but listen to God’s Spirit instead (Jeremiah 17:9). The Spirit keeps us grounded and focused in comparison to the fickle and wayward emotions, which guided us in the past.

At salvation, Christ unites us with Himself in one Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; John 17:11, 20-23). Then, God’s Spirit fills us with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We have a more peaceful and secure life now. Our spirit is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith, regardless of the emotions presenting in our soul. We can take the emotional wounds of our soul to Christ and allow His Spirit to exchange them with His fruit through our spirit.

Sometimes we still allow our soul’s emotions to dominate over God’s spiritual fruit in our spirit and to dictate our behavior. This is a common human malady. One of the goals of our Christian walk, however, is to surrender our soul’s emotions to God and then to walk in the Spirit and to express the fruit of God’s Spirit. Our spirit is not angry or depressed, our soul is. It is not hypocritical to be joyful, even when we feel depressed, or to show love to someone we feel anger toward.

This is part of the higher calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). We cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit, only God can, but we must choose to exhibit them rather than negative emotions. We do this by walking in the Spirit all day long. Our spirit is always exhibiting the nature of Christ, the fruit of God’s Spirit, and can overcome the negative feelings in our soul

Negative feelings are a direct sign that we are not taking care of our soul. We feed our body food all day long, and we study the Bible to feed our spirit, but our soul needs care too. We do this by paying attention to how we feel. Then, use the Serenity Prayer Principle. If you can fix the situation causing your soul stress, fix it. If not, then submit that need or feeling to God for Him to heal or to fulfill.

Prayer:
Father God, our spirit is eternal and connects with Your Spirit in our inner man (2 Corinthians 4:16), our true spiritual self. You deliver us from the power of darkness and open the door for us into the Kingdom of Your Son (Colossians 1:13). We are Your emissaries to the world in which we live. Your love flows like a river through us to those You place around us. Remind us that our self-life is dead and we no longer live, but Christ lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

Thought for the Day:
God cares for us abundantly more than we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21). He will meet the needs in our soul.