Romans 8:9 (NASB): However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you
When we receive Jesus, he deposits the Holy Spirit in us. But there come times when we can be a battlefield between what the Holy Spirit has planted within us and the pull of our old flesh. “The flesh” is a shorthand term for a range of things from outright sin, to bad motives, to various forms of self-righteousness. There are times when it can really accuse us. The good news is that Jesus has paid in full for us. His blood speaks louder to God for grace than any accusation can speak to God for judgement. And our true identity in Christ is not of the old flesh. We take our true identity from Jesus now: as adopted children of God, secure in a place at the family table, accepted in full, with purpose in life as we do what God sets before us to do. As we stay the course with Jesus, Philippians 2:13 (NASB): “…it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Therefore, we can daily lift our heads to our Father in heaven. We can walk with a light touch and not a heavy heart. And we can make our daily choices from this daily prayer: “Father, I commit my way to you this day. I choose to look up to Jesus more than down on to my failings. Set before me this day that which you want me to do. Cause me to want what you want me to want. Because whatever my failings, I’m still in your family.”
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.” (1 John 2:15 MSG)
From birth we are each developing a view of the world that is shaped by our birthplace, culture, family, schooling, friendship, influence and media. This worldview may not necessarily be wrong or bad but it can develop a false or distorted view of reality that leads us to believe that our deepest need from creation (to be accepted, have significance and security) can be found in the world rather than in a relationship with the One who created us. 1 John 2:15-17 warns against this, listing worldly activity such as the cravings of this world, the lust of our eyes and the boasting about what we have and do, which are opposed to God and hugely damaging to ourselves and others. We need to “take off” this distorted worldview and instead see things as they really are through the lens who is Christ Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (NIV) When we do this, we will find that in Jesus we are accepted, we are significant and we are secure – no other opinion really matters. 1 John 2:17 says, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.” (NIV) Therefore, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and the truth of His Word, reading, believing and applying these truths to our life for His glory.
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
(1 Kings 18:21b)
We have begun a new teaching series based on the discipleship course, ‘Freedom in Christ’. We may have been Christians for years but do we truly know what it means to have freedom in Christ? And do we live in that freedom today? It is our hope this series will reveal God’s truth and unlock freedom of God in us. The Bible is full of truth but we fail to believe it. Why? 1 Kings 18:17-39 reminds us that everyone believes in something or someone, there are so many claims for truth and we struggle to decipher which one to believe or align ourselves with. The people of God were wavering between two opinions (21) and “abandoned the Lord’s commands” to follow Baal (18). So with audacious confidence, Elijah invited the prophets of Baal to build a sacrifice and call upon their god to prove himself. There was no response and so Elijah did the same, this time drenching the sacrifice with water and calling upon Yahweh to respond and prove himself. He did not disappoint, even licking up water from the trench (38). The people fell prostrate in worship recognising the Lord as God (39). We face different truths today. We have temptation to sway. But we must choose to believe our One True God and His Word, which is truth. As you live each day, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-19)
The Freedom in Christ Series was started by looking at the Question: Who Am I? Tracing back our origins to Adam and Eve, we learned that we are made in the image of God and then because of Jesus we are accepted, secure and significant in Him.
Adam and Eve’s punishment for sin was Spiritual death within Physical life and that is the world we are born into. By choosing to accept the Freedom that Christ offers us, we are then able to be as we are intended – spiritually alive, a new creation, holy and wonderful, accepted, secure, significant and people who God delights in. The Prodigal Son shows us the example of humanity at its lowest, lost and hopeless but the Father shows the Grace that is offered by the Father. Who we are in Christ Jesus is how we were intended to be at the very outset of creation: accepted, secure, significant and forgiven and by choosing to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we have that security and freedom which only comes in Christ who saved us.