Many times when I am counseling people I will ask if they know what they should do to fix whatever problem they are facing. Almost inevitably they will say “I need to pray more” or “I need to read the Bible more”…these are the two most common answers to one who is struggling with some sort of sin. This is a common theme in much of religion today and as such people are not finding the rest and freedom that the Christian life first promised. In fact many feel bound again by becoming a Christian where they cry out: The good that I want to do is not what I do but the evil I hate is the very thing I do. Ironically the etymology of the word religion is: re- meaning, “return” and ligare – meaning, “to bind”; in other words “to return to bondage”. Yet Jesus spoke out against religion and as such promised to set people free…so how does this happen?
God’s ways are different then the ways of the world…in fact they are opposite in many respects. We know that Satan is the prince of this world (Eph 2:2) and his way is to pervert God’s ways. In fact Satan usually uses seemingly good (2Cor 11:4) methods in order to hook mankind back into bondage (2Tim 2:26) and take our eyes off of Christ and the gospel of peace (2Cor 4:4). Satan is pleased to have a person on the religious treadmill, struggling with sin, not knowing who they are in Christ…in fact that is his purpose, to steal, kill and destroy the abundant life (John 10:10) that we partake of in Christ.
Who are we in Christ? Can victory be real in my life? How come most people that go to church don’t live in victory and struggle just like me? What is God’s way or method to make this victory real in my life? These were questions I had for many years and struggled within the church to find answers. But there are answers. I will attempt to answer these very questions in this note.
God’s way in bringing the reality of victory in our lives is the opposite of what is being taught in most well meaning, bible preaching, churches today. In fact most pastors are quick to say how they continually struggle in sin and that it is the normal Christian life…they have bought into the lie that is stealing the abundant life that Christ promised by His grace.
Most Protestant churches teach a “salvation by grace alone” message, similar to what Paul taught in Eph 2:8-9 but then turn right around and say that sanctification is by works…that you now have the duty, as a servant of God, to pray, read your bible, tithe, go to church or any other myriad of works related methods. This is not God’s way, they haven’t brought a complete, new covenant (Eze 36:26-27), salvation message. Many only focus on sin and God’s forgiveness of sin and fail to tell you about all that accompanies faith in Christ
For more on salvation see my video message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etsR0G3J6xk
Victory in the Christian life is a gift from God (1Cor 15:57) and as such any works to receive this gift brings about unbelief. Many are quick to resolve that in their understanding of salvation (that any work is a refusal to accept salvation as a gift) but fail to see this as God’s method in receiving His victory. Instead, they put themselves back under the law, struggling with sin and their Christian life becomes one of guilt, pride, hypocrisy and many times debilitating aggravation. So what is one to do that finds themselves in this situation?
My suggestion is to take a few weeks and try doing it God’s way instead of a way that seems right (Prov 14:12) and is being taught in many mainline churches.
- Repent – This is so commonly misunderstood in the church today, many believe it means to have sorrow for sin or to turn away from sin. The Greek word is actually metanoeō and is formed from two words. Meta – meaning, “change” (where we get the word metamorphosis) and Noeo – meaning, “mind or thinking”, therefore it is a change of thinking or a change of mind. From believing one way to another…Without thinking differently you allow the enemy to continue leading you with lies, stealing and destroying the life of Christ in you. This is why Jesus said to repent and believe the gospel…the good news (Mark 1:15).
- Understand (John 8:32) what happened at salvation…you died (2Cor 5:14) with Christ and were raised up to new life in Him (2Cor 5:17). You “exchanged lives” with Christ and you are now the righteousness of Christ (Php 3:9) and your life is hid with Christ (Col 3:3) and you are seated with Him in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6). You no longer live but Christ lives in you and through you (Gal 2:20)…much more could be said so please watch the video, even if you have heard the message of salvation before.
- Stop monitoring your life for sin. Stop comparing yourself to God’s law (Rom 5:20) because all the law does is arouse more sin (Rom 7:5) you are actually dead to the law (Rom 7:4) and now alive to Christ. Do not form for yourself any religious rules, even if you think they may be good…for they are powerless (Col 2:23) against the flesh.
- See Christ Jesus for who He is…He is your friend, your brother, your intercessor, your kinsman redeemer, your beloved husband, your protection full of Grace and Mercy…He is your all in all. Focus your time, talent and energy on Him and Him alone…sadly many religious people are willing to do many things but not come to Him (John 5:39-40)
- Believe what He says about you and who you are in Him:
- You are righteous (Eph 4:24)
- You are the temple of His Holy Spirit (1Cor 3:16)
- You are a partaker of the heavenly calling (Heb 3:1)
- You have the divine life in you (1Pet 1:4)
- You are a son of God and one in Christ (Gal 3:26)
- You are dearly loved by God (1Thes 1:4)
- You are one spirit with the Lord (1Cor 6:17)
- Receive (John 1:12) this “exchanged life” as a gift from God (John 10:10) and that your identity isn’t based in behavior but being born from above
- Ask the Holy Spirit to make this real in you, that you are a new creation (1Cor 5:17 and Eph 4:24), and to reveal to you where you are still holding on to the “old self” that is dead (Eph 4:22). The Holy Spirit has come to convince you that you are holy and righteous in Him (John 16:10)
Don’t let the enemy steal the life of love, joy, peace, patience (Gal 5:22-23) and more from you today…God has made it so simple and beautiful. He loves you (John 3:16) and desires for you to know His love (1John 4:8) and to experience the reality of Him everyday (John 10:16; 17:3)