Be Like Christ or Let Christ Live In You

20131019-163343.jpg

Is the goal to be like Christ or to allow Christ to live in us? The Killing Insecurity Series would be incomplete without talking about the expectation for Christians to be exactly like Jesus. This causes all kinds of insecurity and disappointment.The truth is without God we can do nothing.

Striving to be like Jesus is different than abiding in Him and allowing His nature to shine through us. One puts the focus on us, the other puts the focus on Jesus.

We can’t will ourselves to be like Jesus. If we could be like Jesus on our own efforts, there would be no need for a Savior, or for the old man to die. We were dead, blind, wretched, and without hope before Christ. It’s only because of what Jesus did that we can live a holy life. And my sweet friends it’s a process, a journey. We are saved by faith and being sanctified by God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can be trusted with our spiritual growth. We don’t willfully sin, ignore God’s Word or warnings, or neglect His instructions. We also don’t put pressure on ourselves to be like Jesus. We abide, He produces fruit.

So here’s the good news:

In Christ, the righteousness of Christ is counted as yours. We can’t earn God’s love, approval, or do enough good deeds to be counted righteous on our own. It’s only through Jesus that we are made right with God. This takes the pressure off. It’s not a contest, competition, or a burden.

Being in relationship with God, abiding in Him, and cultivating relationship with Him leads to heart transformation. Heart transformation leads to life transformation. We are changed when we are saved. However, we don’t immediately act like Jesus in every way and every day. If you’ve ever grown plants, you know that when a seed is planted it does not immediately bolt into a full grown plant. It takes time. Another example is a baby. They don’t come out of the womb talking, walking, and running. Growth takes time.

God knows our weaknesses and is not intimidated by them. If we think God is judging us continually, walking with Jesus will be stressful. Truth is God knew what He was getting when He chose you. He knows everything about everything.

Lastly, aside from creating insecurity, the pressure to be like Christ creates unnecessary stress. God wants to shine through us, not for us to try to generate our own light. Give yourself permission to be human. 🙂 Being human isn’t a license to sin, it is permission to rely fully on a Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I’m fully aware that I’m human. Without Jesus I have no ability to live like Him. So let’s rest in what He’s done and trust His leadership, guidance, and ability to transform us. Let’s also be aware that others need grace and mercy as well. Though I’d be nice, we can truly only expect Jesus to be 100% like Jesus all the time. Everyone else will miss the mark in some way.

20131019-171408.jpg

I Can’t Do It (Killing Insecurity Part 4)

88f01aa52e528179cbf84ad1ebf1ea42

Have you ever told God you couldn’t do something when He asked you to? I have. There are too many things to put in a blog post. For example, I am not an extrovert. I am an introvert. I don’t really like big group settings, public speaking, and left to do my own will I would probably have minimal contact with anyone other than Jesus. God calls me to engage with people, be involved in community, speak out, teach, and do things I can not do or would not do without His help.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Moses. I can relate to Moses. Moses had a stuttering problem. He did not have eloquent speech. He did not want to be the mouthpiece for God to Pharaoh. See Exodus 4 below.

And Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since you have spoken to your servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall say, Exodus 4:10-12.

Moses pleaded with God and God appointed Aaron to go with Moses to speak. The passage goes on to say God was upset with Moses. Moses denied God’s ability to use him. He placed the focus on his ability instead of God’s ability. I love this quote, “Even our greatest idea of who God is still makes Him so small.” We somehow think our weaknesses limit what God can do. It is the failure to believe that God is all-powerful, He can be trusted, and He can do anything He wants through anyone.

Like Moses, I have had those conversations with God. The first time I was approached about leading a Bible study. I said, “I am not qualified to do this. I have not been to seminary. There are people in this group who are in seminary-they know far more than I do. I don’t like group activities. I don’t like talking to people. I can’t do this.” God gave me time to muddle through all the insecurities and reminded me of this truth, “I am with you.” It’s about honoring Him and trusting Him. God qualifies the called. He gives us His strength and ability to do what He asks us to do. God’s strength is more powerful than our weaknesses. 

The truth is we are all inadequate to do the great things God placed us here to do. He longs for us to lean on Him. He wants to be the centerpiece of our lives. It’s God in us that does amazing things. I truly believe He calls us to do things outside our comfort zone and realm of ability so we can grow in trusting Him. We can also look back and say, “I know that was God because there is no way I could have done that.

I’d love to tell you when God asks me to do certain things now that there are no more thoughts of “I can’t do this,” but there are. It doesn’t mean I rebel and do my own thing. It means I cling tightly to Him and let Him have His way. It may not always be immediate, but it happens eventually. It also does not mean everything God asks me to do plays out perfectly. Some things I may never understand or they seem meaningless to me, yet valuable to Him.

So dear friends, no matter what you face this week, God is able. He is for you. He has great plans to use you for His Kingdom advancement. He’s offering you His strength. May you and I rest in who God is and what He can do through us! Nothing is impossible for God.

Love in Christ,

Erin

59204033fdb982331ebe86bc15c62491

 

Purity (Identity in Christ Part 10)

tumblr_lfjisruhzD1qcmy8fo1_500

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people, Ephesians 5:3.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry, Colossians 3:5.

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness, Romans 6:13.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things, Philippians 4:8.

I listed these verses because there is a trend in our society to toss purity to the wind. The Bible has been labeled as being outdated, old-fashioned, and not relevant for our time. There’s been a trend to tell people to do what they want, live how they want, engage in any sexual activity they want, say what they want, and God is obligated to accept it as long as that person claims to believe in Jesus. This is not at all what Jesus taught. There’s no place in scripture that tells us to keep on sinning and live however we would like to live. God’s grace is so vast beyond measure, His saving power so powerful. If we are the worst of sinner, which we are normally ignorant to how sinful we really are, He is able to cleanse, purify, and redeem us. That’s the beauty of grace! No matter how many times we stumble, He is able and willing to restore us. If we are in Christ, we claim His righteousness as our own. We are made new through relationship with Him. However, we cannot treat sin like it’s nothing. We cannot treat grace as a free ticket to sin and keep on sinning. Listen to the words of Apostle Paul.

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ Romans 6:1-14.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

God encourages us to attach our lives to righteousness and purity for the following reasons.

1. Sin is toxic. Disobeying God leads to death. Adam and Eve did not believe God when He said if they ate from the tree they would die. Our world today is filled with evil because of their sin. Sin hurts us. It may not seem like it. It may feel good. It may seem good. However, God withholds nothing good from His children (Psalm 84:11). If He says no to something, it’s because it will harm us. We may not see it today, but sin takes people further than they want to go and does more damage than we can see. If it were not toxic and lead to death, there would have been no reason for Jesus to come and die for sin. Some examples.

a. The person who cheats on their spouse. It seemed good. Felt good. Their betrayal of their vow causes pain to their spouse, they are causing another to commit adultery, if they have kids they are hurt. Adultery is the death of trust.

b. The person who can never admit they are wrong and are filled with pride. Their actions hurt everyone around them and they will never know real love. For love is not selfish or prideful. Selfishness and pride is the death of love. Love and pride cannot occupy the same places.

c. The person engaged in sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage (a man with a woman). Opens the door for the enemy to build a shrine to pleasure, an idol of self, and the death and destruction of honor. When we engage in sexual activity outside God’s covenant of marriage (between a man and woman) we are dishonoring our bodies and the body of those we engage with.

Even if our sin is in secret and no one knows but God, it still leads to bondage. The person who overeats at home while no one sees becomes a slave to food. The person who slanders and gossips becomes a slave to tabloids and spreading other people’s business. The person who looks at pornography or engages in lustful activities alone becomes a slave to pleasure. The person who is greedy, materialistic, becomes a slave to money and may end up in debt. All sin leads to bondage, the inability to function with self-control.

2. God’s way leads to life, blessing, and models love. God is pure. Jesus died to make us pure. Though our sins were as scarlet, He washes us white as snow. His way leads to life. God is not only concerned about our well-being, but the well-being of everyone around us. Purity is interested in the best interests of God, others, and self. Love protects the best interests of others. God will not betray the way of love. He is love. He paid for us to be free, not in bondage.

Lastly, I will say no matter what areas of your life you feel bound, God paid for freedom. Every person in Christ has been freed from being a slave to sin. We have been made new. We have new names. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you into believing you cannot be free! Jesus paid for it. We run to God over and over saying, “God help me to live free.” We focus our lives on worshiping Him and trust that when we surrender ourselves to Him, He is able to transform us from the inside out. I can testify to the freedom God brings. I am not the same person I was when I came to Jesus. I am not the same person I was several years ago. The work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us is more powerful than our ability to sin.

Abba I ask that we would surrender our hearts to You. You love us regardless of what we do, but love us too much to leave us the same. You paid for us to be free! Free us from all forms of bondage. We don’t want partial freedom, we want total freedom. We love you! Thank you for the sacrifice of Your Son. In Jesus name, Amen.

146859637820220696_21VigR8Q_c