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Fear of Not Changing

15 Sep

The wood, hay, and stubble of self are so close, and living the crucified life seems so far away

I was thinking this morning that this whole “series” of posts on self have really been on the fear of not changing.  Not growing.  I’ve been grappling with this, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal. 2:20 (Amplified)

Andrew Murray discusses the reality that I’m grappling with.  Do you ever feel your “self” elbowing its way into the forefront?  My “self” has been disgusting lately.  The battleground has been at my school.  I have been so aggravated with students, work load, and even some co-workers.  I know this sounds dramatic, but in some ways I feel like a grand battle is being played out on a very small battlefield.  I’m going to paraphrase what Andrew Murray says here:

1.  First we must know the truth in Galatians 2:20.  We must know have died to sin.

2.  We must accept this truth in faith.  “And what then?  When he accepts it in faith, then there comes in him a struggle, and a painful experience, for that faith is still very feeble, and he begins to ask, “But why, if I am dead to sin, do I commit so much sin?”

3.  We must accept the answer to the question, which is simply this, “We do not allow the power of that death to be applied by the Holy Spirit.”  This begs the question, “How?”  We’ll take a look at that in a few days.  Do you ever feel like hollering out, “Easier said than done!”

“Not I”

27 Aug

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 (Ampl.)

This is my favorite Bible verse and the first one I ever memorized.  I long to live in it and fail miserably.  I fear that I will NEVER live in it.  But I’m still s-l-o-w-l-y working my way through Andrew Murray’s, The Master’s Indwelling, and I read a passage that has shed new light on the situation and on the parable mentioned:

The reason why Christians pray and pray for the Christ life to come in to them, without result, is that the self life has not been denied.  You ask, “How can I get rid of this self life:”  You know the parable:  the strong man kept his house until one stronger than he came in and cast him out.  Then the place was garnished and swept, but empty, and he came back with seven other spirits worse than himself.  It is only Christ Himself coming in that can cast out self, and keep out self. . . . Jesus Christ is able, by His divine grace, to prevent the power of self from ever asserting itself or gaining the upper hand; Jesus Christ is willing to become the life of the soul; Jesus Christ is willing to teach us so to follow Him, and to have heart and life set upon Him alone, that He shall ever and always be the light of our souls.  Then we come to what the apostle Paul says: “Not I, but Christ liveth in me.”  The two truths go together.  First “Not I” then, “but Christ liveth in me.”

Tribulation Works Patience (If we let it!)

21 Aug

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.   Romans 5:3

Tribulations are part of family life.  Whether the tribulation is screaming children, broken bones, a stay in the hospital, illnesses, disappointments, not enough money, accusations thrown at us or members of the family, we can’t show patience unless there is a situation that would make us impatient.  Patience is when we bite our tongue instead of saying, “Oh, not again.”  “Why do you always do that!”  I think patience is a process where you first learn to keep your mouth shut, even if you’re still irritated.  The day comes when you realize that you really aren’t irritated and that you may even have feelings of compassion for the person who is irritating you, or a rush of faith about the circumstance you are in.

Tribulation means affliction, trouble, anguish, persecution, burden, pressing together, and pressure.  Sometimes we feel as if we are pressured from every side.

Patience means a tranquil temperament that suffers tribulations without murmuring or discontentment.  It also means steadfastness, unbreakable resistance, constancy, endurance, and the characteristic of a person who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

The definitions that most interest me are pressure, steadfastness, and unbreakable resistance.  If when we are under pressure from tribulation, we keep our eyes on the Lord, WE WILL BE STEADFAST (patient).

Scared Carnal 3

13 Aug

You may have thought about the last post (and this is paraphrased from Andrew Murray),

“I would love to have sin taken away.  Who loves to have a hasty temper?  Who loves to have a proud disposition?  Who loves to have a worldly heart?  No one.  I go to Christ to take it away and he does not do it; we ask, “Why will he not do it?  I have prayed very earnestly.”  It is because you wanted Him to take away the ugly fruits while the poisonous root  was to stay in you.  You did not ask Him that the flesh should be nailed to His cross, and that you should henceforth give up self entirely to the power of His Spirit.”

We’re like children weeding who pull out the dandelion without dealing with the dandelion root.  We have done absolutely nothing to stop the growth of dandelions!

For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice] so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].  Romans 8:2-4


Scared Carnal 2

11 Aug

Gee, my title sounds more like a horror movie than a Bible devotional!

Tuesday, we spoke about reacting carnally to situations, and the implication of our fear of not changing from carnal responses to spiritual responses.  I think, too, that it is possible to respond carnally in some areas of our lives and spiritually in others.  Let’s get down to the bedrock of these too words:  Carnally means we’re responding in our flesh.  It’s all about us.  Spiritually means that we’re responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Our flesh has been crucified.

Andrew Murray sees three steps to the spiritual life:

“First, we must know that there is such a spiritual life to be lived by men on earth.  Nothing cuts the roots of the Christian life so much as unbelief. . . . then comes the second step; a man must see the shame and guilt of his having lived such a life.  Some people admit there is a spiritual life to live, and that they have not lived it, and they are sorry for themselves and pity themselves.  Alas, it has been our unfaithfulness, our unbelief, our disobedience, that has kept us from giving ourselves utterly to God. . . . finally, a man must take that step, a solemn but blessed step. . . a yielding up of ourselves to Him as never before.”

But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.  Romans 6:13b

Jots & Tittles

17 Jul

He cares about the smallest detail.

I’ve been working on a paper this week that has to be written in APA format.  The paper itself isn’t hard to write, but all of the details of the APA format are driving me CRAZY.  No detail is too small for the APA Publication Manual to consider.  My shoulders are tense from searching (fruitlessly, I might add) to how to correctly write a reference for a mere mention of a website.  I was getting all crabby about the level of detail when it dawned on me that it is a good object lesson for the level of detail that our Father God cares about and plans for.  And I do love object lessons!

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  Matthew 5:18

For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. Matthew 5:18 Ampl.

Jesus, Not “I Dream of Jeannie”

9 Apr

The name, pansy, comes from the French word, pensee, which means "to think." The pansy symbolizes "You occupy my thoughts." Let God occupy YOUR thoughts.

Sometimes it seems that we follow after God for what He can give us and not for the relationship we are able to have with the Creator of the universe.  But it’s ALL about relationship.  Sometimes I wonder if these little posts can be taken as “Three Simple Steps to Get Rid of Your Fear.”  If it ever seems that way, please know that is not my intent.

God can and does work all things together for good for those who love Him.  But He is not a genie.  We don’t get to control things.  Our idea of what is good and His can sometimes be radically different or reached on quite a different timetable or through a different path than we may want.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
[This is] the LORD’s declaration.

“For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

  • Thought is machashabah in Hebrew,  (Isn’t that a lovely word to say?) which means thought, plan, and purpose.
  • Way, or derek,  means journey, road, path, direction, and habit.
  • Higher means exalted and lofty.

God does things His own way in His own time.  So, my “One-Step Plan To Deal With Everything” is to continually develop your relationship with Christ.  Read His Word and respond to it.  Talk to Him intimately.  Listen.  And listen some more.