United with Christ

God originally created mankind in the image of the Trinity (Genesis 1:6). Adam and Eve lived in an existence of body, soul and spirit in close fellowship with the Father (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

They enjoyed the same immortality, which Christ exhibited after His resurrection. Yet, when they believed Satan’s lies, they chose to ignore their spirit and to give in to the temptation of their human nature.

As a result, their spirit died, and we all reap the consequences of their choice. Knowing this before He created the world, God planned to become man as Emmanuel (Genesis 1:1; Matthew 1:23).

He paid the ransom for the sin debt of anyone who chooses to submit to His will rather than to our human desires or the devil’s temptations (Romans 4:25, 5:6; John 3:16-18).

The reason that God’s Spirit regenerates our spirit and sanctifies our soul is so that we will live in the divine life of Christ in us, rather than through our human life with its earthly thoughts and desires (2 Peter 1:4; John 1:1, 12-14).

This is possible once our spirit is Born Again. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (Romans 12:2, 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:3-4). We live, move and have our existence in Christ alone (Acts 17:28).

We are united with Christ in our spirit, in the same way that Jesus’ humanity was united with His Godly nature, while He lived on this earth.

The life, which we live in this body, is lived through the faith of God’s holy Son (Galatians 2:20). We continue the work of Christ on this earth, and we do greater works as we function as His Body (John 3:3-6, 14:12).

We think, feel, speak and act in the will of God as we follow the leading of His Spirit through every decision we make, every word we speak and every action we take.

This affects our words and behavior in our vocation, marriage, extended family, neighborhood and church Body. We live as a city on a hill, and we never hide the light of Christ within us (Matthew 5:14-16).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for sending Christ to redeem us from sin and its destruction. Thank You also for helping us to renew our mind through the washing of the water of Your Word (Ephesians 5:26). Since Christ set us free from sin, then help us to stay free from its demoralizing clutches (Galatians 5:1).

Teach us how to walk in the divine nature of Christ in us. Help us to live and move and have our being only in Him, so that we can walk in Your will, exhibit Your character and do the works of Christ all the days of our life.

Thought for the Day:
Since Christ abides in us by His Spirit, then even though our body will die because of the sin, which cursed this world, God’s Spirit gives us His life in our spirit, soul and body, because of His holiness. – Romans 8:10

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Be Holy as God is Holy

God calls each one of us to be holy, because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). As we face our flesh with each new morning, this appears to be a daunting task. Our temptations and carnal desires sometimes get the best of us.

I hear Christians saying that it is too hard to be holy, and that Jesus had an advantage over us. This is true according to humanistic thinking, but not according to Biblical principles.

Jesus was half God and half man, since God’s Spirit conceived Him in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35). He was filled with God’s Spirit each moment of the day. When his human flesh was tempted, He had the God half to keep him perfect.

We have the same opportunity to walk in holiness. When we come to Christ, His Spirit moves right in. Our body is His temple and He fills us through all of our being with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Satan’s temptations cause us to sin and to live apart from God. The price of sin is degradation and loss. Pleasure for a moment reaps for us shame and often deplorable living conditions.

However, God gives us a way to escape every temptation, which we will ever experience (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we submit to Christ in us, and walk by His Spirit’s direction, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The entire power of the Godhead, the Trinity, dwells within us (Colossians 2:9). We are free from the power of sin, and we are made to walk in new life through Christ in us (Romans 6:6-8).

Christ in us is our eternal hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Although our body is still perishing due to Adam’s sin, God’s Spirit in us gives us both life and righteousness (Romans 8:10).

God strengthens us with His power through His Spirit in our soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Our hope in Him is the firm and secure anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that Christ exchanges His holiness for our sinfulness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Remind us that our witness for You depends on our righteous walk in this world. Non-Christians watch us, even when we do not realize it. Our attitude each day, and even during trials, will speak more to them than all the words we could ever preach to them.

As Your Body, the people who work in children’s ministry will impact the children in their sphere of influence; and then, these children will affect the lives of countless people during their lifetime, because of Christ in us. Even as we minister to adults, we help them to grow in their devotion to and knowledge of You. Helps us to be holy, even as You are Holy.

Thought for the Day:
As our soul yearns for God in the night, our spirit within us diligently seeks Him; and when His judgments come upon the earth, all of the inhabitants of the world learn to walk in righteousness. – Isaiah 26:9

Overcoming Sin

The more often we surrender our thoughts, choice and feelings to temptations from the flesh, the devil and the world, the stronger the temptation is the next time it comes. When we shut out the warning from our conscience and God’s Spirit, we arrive at the place where we can no longer hear from God at all (Hebrews 10:35-38).

Our sin separates us from Him and diminishes our resistance to sin. We lose our peace and joy. We no longer experience God’s pleasure in us. We feel the conviction of God’s Spirit and struggle with our decisions and their consequences. The Holy Spirit within us is always ready to empower us to break the cycle of sin so that we can walk in God’s righteousness (Philippians 2:13).

When we stop expecting our self to overcome sin, and focus on the fact that Jesus already won the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57), we have stronger will power to resist the temptation in the first place. Jesus walked in sinless perfection, and He abides in every authentic, Born Again Believer.

He helps us to remember the promises of God and to trust Him to provide us with everything we need to live a successful and fulfilled life (1 John 2:17). We no longer feel the need to protect our self, because God works miracles from the seed of every trial. We lose all desire to defend our self, because God’s opinion of us is the only one which matters. We live in freedom from sin through God’s Spirit in us.

Prayer:
Father God, give us Your eyes to judge between right and wrong, so that we never lose the joy of our salvation or the comfort of abiding in Your presence. May we always see sin for the degradation it brings and desire less of the comforts of the flesh and more of the ecstasy of the spirit, which comes from walking in your presence.

Thought for the Day:
May we never become so accustomed to sin that we consider it normal behavior.

Overcoming Temptation

The only power Satan has is what we give to him. Many Christians are perpetually discouraged and defeated because they believe Satan’s persistent lies about them and to them. If we linger in the pit of self-pity or bitterness, and if we agree with the lies Satan whispers in our ear, then he controls our actions by controlling our thoughts.

Satan accuses, belittles and defeats us. We end up overwhelmed, discouraged and hopeless. Those who give in to his accusations end up being robbed of the freedom that Jesus secured for us and that God intends for His people to enjoy. God’s Word encourages us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). God wants to heal the wounds in our subconscious mind.

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He sets us free from the pain and sorrow caused by our former circumstances in life. This will help us to ignore Satan’s deceit. The first negative thought, which flits through our mind, is not sin, but is from Satan or from the wounds in our soul. Satan’s temptations only become sin if we dwell on them, agree with them, believe the lie as truth and act on them.

Jesus comes into our life and reconciles us to Himself, frees us from a sinful lifestyle and delivers us from hell. He takes our sins and gives us His righteousness. His Spirit enlightens us to Satan’s wiles and gives us the wisdom to stand against his temptations. When we put our trust in Jesus, God makes us His child. Jesus in us is greater than anything Satan tries to torment us with (1 John 4:4).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that if we fix our eyes on Jesus, we have no need to worry about Satan, the world or the flesh (Hebrews 12:2; 1 John 5:18). Victory over sin is ours once we realize that Christ abides in us (Colossians 1:27). He strengthens us, protects us and rescues us from temptation (2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 2:18; 2 Peter 2:9). We are also kept by Your power and given an escape from all unrighteousness (1 Peter 1:5; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Thought for the Day:
Authentic Believers are dead to the flesh and walk in the Spirit.
– Galatians 5:24; Romans 7:5, 8:8-9; Galatians 5:16-25

Waiting Patiently on the Lord

In the spiritual life, we can actually cherish our human weaknesses, because they keep us humble. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). He provides eternal blessings to those willing to give up everything in our life, which we value more than Him. (Matthew 13:45-46). He helps us to die to the temptations of our flesh and to walk in His mercy and power.

 

Self-sufficiency is the enemy of the Cross of Calvary. It prefers to struggle along, pulling itself up by it bootstraps and muddling through life in human reasoning and flesh. Once we come to realize our total impotence and insufficiency, we are able to lay our flesh on the altar of God and gain His forgiveness, regeneration and authority in exchange.

 

In this place of total surrender to Christ, we find His power to allow Him to accomplish all things in and through us (Philippians 2:13, 4:13). We are crucified with Christ and He abides in us (Galatians 2:20). We enter His rest and live, move and have our being from this place of serenity and love in Him (Acts 17:28). Our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – enter His rest, and our hope comes only from Him (Psalm 62:5).

 

Hoping in the Lord, we are never put to shame (Psalm 25:3; 31:24). He exalts us and we inherit His Kingdom (Psalm 37:34). We wait on the Lord with courage and He strengthens our heart (Psalm 27:14). Waiting takes patience and most human beings lack patience; especially in today’s instant society, where we get everything we want at the push of a button.

 

As we envision our self dead in the tomb and then risen with our glorious Lord, we live each day in the realm of the Holy Spirit. Nothing of this world holds any value to us any more. We put Christ as our first priority and we place our total focus on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Living in the power of His resurrection, we walk in the Spirit each moment of the day. 

 

Prayer:

Father God, waiting on You with patience reaps so many rewards for us. You avenge our wrongs (Proverbs 20:22). You save us and we rejoice in You and Your salvation (Isaiah 25:9). You are good to those who hope in You and who seek Your face (Lamentations 3:25). Teach us to make You the priority of every moment of our day and to seek Your will for each of them.

 

Thought for the Day:

God hears the prayers and gives His attention to those who patiently wait on Him with their whole being. – Psalm 40:1; 130:5

Growing in Christ

When we come to Christ for salvation, our desire to sin wanes over the next few weeks and months. In some people, it disappears completely right away. Others have sins that easily overcome their resolve to live a holy life; and it takes them longer to surrender those desires to the sanctifying work of God’s Spirit.

Eventually, we come to a place of total surrendered to God’s will. We are so tired of reaping the consequences of our decisions that we decide to trust God instead. We struggle to learn to pray, thinking we must use a specific formula, not knowing we can converse with Him as we do our best friend.

We gradually learn that Father God really does know best and that He has our best interest in His heart and will for our life (Jeremiah 29:11). Gradually, our thoughts turn more toward eternal, spiritual matters than to carnal, earthly issues. We view our problems from God’s perspective. We live to please Him rather than our self or someone else.

God’s everlasting arms and eternal grace lift us ever higher above the negative issues of life. Even in the most horrendous circumstances, we maintain a positive attitude and outlook by faith in Him. His thoughts become our thoughts and we perceive the issues of life from a Biblical worldview.

We abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25; Colossians 2:6), living according to the grace of God. We see His merciful hand in every area of our life. Our fears and doubts gradually subside and we adopt more and more of the mind and faith of Christ as our own (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Prayer:
Father God, as joint heirs with Christ, we inherit all things that You prepared for us before the world ever began. You provided Adam and Eve with Paradise and wanted them to enjoy the blessings there forever. However, their pride and self-will fell to Satan’s temptations and they lost Paradise for us all. Thank You that Jesus died to redeem us and to restore to us everything Satan stole from Adam and Eve.

Thought for the Day:
No issue in life is really our problem to solve; it is merely an opportunity for God to prove His miraculous love for us.

Spiritual Pursuits

Most people never give much attention to spiritual pursuits, and they allow the requirements of life to push and pull them through their day. Denying their flesh never enters their mind and they cater to their glutinous habits in every area of life. They even resist all opportunities to deny their self or to pursue spirituality. Disillusioned with life, they permit bitterness to defile them. They harbor unforgiveness towards others, as well as toward their self.

There are a multitude of distractions in today’s world, which keep us from pursuing a deeper walk in Christ. The world, the flesh and the devil do everything in their powers to sidetrack us from a holy walk of obedience. Trivial pursuits, negative emotions, misplaced priorities, worldly ambition, work-related burdens, school demands, fleshly temptations and family obligations all require our time and energy and pull us away from God. God has a solution to this dilemma.

He sent the Holy Spirit to help us to draw near to Him, so we can resist the devil and his demons until they flee from us (James 4:7). The Spirit also directs us to evade disruptions. He helps us to plan the minutes of our day to accomplish the works God created for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Once we allow the Sprit to guide us, the temptations of sin no longer appeal to us (Galatians 5:16-25). God’s Spirit enables us to walk in holiness and to make a difference for Christ in the world.

Our righteousness is based on Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, not on our own effort to win His favor (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23). We do not use self-effort to reach holiness, but we are Spirit-led through each moment of our day (Titus 3:5). We live in victory over sin and death and in the hope of our resurrection with Christ from the dead (1 John 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; 1 Peter 1:3). We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we are no longer satisfied with the mediocre life of sin and deprivation.

Prayer:
Father God, we commune with You in our spirit, and we walk by the direction of Your Spirit each moment of our day. We find our self reaping rewards of fulfillment and satisfaction because our schedule works like clockwork. We experience a freedom that we never had when we lived by the dictates of our fleshly, carnal nature. Remind us how much You love us and help us to make You the top priority of our day.

Thought for the Day:
We never please God more than when we make Him our priority and follow the leading of His Spirit moment by moment throughout our day.