The New Self

The New Self

In Christ, we have been given a “new self.”  (Eph 4:24)  We have been born again.  (Joh 3:3; 1 Pet 1:23)  We must cooperate with the Lord and put on the new man. In other words, we need to make the effort to live through our new man by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23 Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24 and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.  (Eph 4:22-24 GNT)

The Bible tells us to “put on” a number of different things.  We are told to PUT ON:

  • The armor of light (Rom 13:12)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14)
  • Incorruption; immortality (1 Cor 15:53-54)
  • Christ (Gal 3:27)
  • The new man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10)
  • The whole armor of God (Eph 6:11)
  • The breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14)
  • Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (Col 3:12)
  • Love—the bond of perfection (Col 3:14)
  • The breastplate of faith and love (1 Thes 5:8)

We are being taught, through all of these Bible verses, how to live our born-again lives.  The Holy Spirit is tutoring us on the “normal Christian life” so that we may understand our responsibilities and be able to lay hold of our blessings and our inheritance. 

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  (1 Cor 6:19)

If we will rely upon God, trust His Word, and live obediently, we will be living the “new man life” which is upright and holy. 

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

Our thoughts are central to our lives because we act upon our thoughts.  (see Pro 23:7a; Mk 7:21)

When we consider our ways, it’s wise to turn our hearts to God’s Word.  (Ps 119:59)  God’s Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts; and it will reveal our true motives to us—something that we all need.  (Heb 4:12)

We should reject our own thoughts and carnal ways; and turn to the Lord, who will forgive us and will renew our thinking.  (Isa 55:7; 65:2)

God understands our thoughts and knows our works.  (Isa 66:18)  But God’s thoughts and God’s ways are higher than ours.  (Isa 55:8-9)  That’s why the Bible tells us that we’re being changed into His image day by day.  (2 Cor 3:18)  We need to be changed.

Here’s how to take thoughts captive [confined; caged; enslaved]:

  1. Recognizing when they are spiritually unhealthy; worthless; unpleasing to God; and not in agreement with the Word of God;
  2. Stopping them in their tracks by determining that they did not originate in our own thoughts or hearts;
  3. Rejecting them outright and robbing them of any power over us; and
  4. Replacing them with Scripture verses that the Holy Spirit brings to our minds to counteract them and to minister comfort to our hearts.

It’s important to understand this process because the Lord tells us to take our thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5:  

. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .

Our goal is to bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ, our Savior.  We willingly offer our thoughts to the Lord Jesus, who alone is able to confine them. 

As mentioned above, the types of things that we would want to take captive are those that are:

  • Spiritually unhealthy (fearful or sinful);
  • Unproductive to the Kingdom of God;
  • Unpleasing to God;
  • Worthless;
  • Originating from the evil one (disparaging of self or others; lonely; discouraged; depressed; lustful thoughts; mulling over past hurts; etc.);
  • Not in agreement with the Word of God.

We are blessed because we have the freedom and ability to choose what thoughts to entertain and what thoughts to utterly reject.  We have spiritual weapons (2 Cor 10:4) at our disposal that will assist us in the battlefield of the mind.  Several of those spiritual weapons are:  prayer; confession; praise; the Word of God; fellowship with other believers; and the power of the Holy Spirit.

As we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2), we become engaged in the battle against pretense and the arrogant philosophy of the world. Trusting Christ and rightly dividing the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15), we take every thought captive, pull down the strongholds, and, by the grace of God, set ALL of the captives free.  Hallelujah!

JOY

JOY

We don’t really think about joy very often, do we?  Even we believers don’t realize that joy is a consequence of our salvation! 

Joy can be recognized in various forms:  happiness, enjoyment, delight, wonderment, elation, or pleasure.

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Ps 16:11)  In God’s presence is the knowledge and the experience of joy genuinely felt.

The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!  (Ps 21:1)  When we consider the blessings and benefits of our salvation, joy should well up within us.  Our salvation makes us kings and priests before God!  (See Rev 1:6; 5:10)

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!  (Ps 32:11)  Our joy should be so powerful that it causes us to want to shout about it, on occasion.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.  (Ps 43:4)  Our joy will certainly move us to praise and rejoice in the Lord.

Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.  (Ps 63:4-5)  All throughout our lives, as a result of our blessings and our acknowledgement of our salvation, we should savor the utter joy of life.

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy.  (Ps 132:9)  We are the “saints” referred to in this verse, and we should cry out in utter astonishment and exultation about the goodness of our salvation.

Begin today to savor the joy of your salvation!

Be an Encourager

Be an Encourager

That’s why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. (1 Thes 5:11 CEV)

So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.  (Ac 15:30-32)

The Bible reminds us to encourage one another in our faith.  That also means that we should encourage each other in every area of life, since faith touches literally everything in our lives.  The Scriptures are full of encouraging words to guide our lives and to spur us on to faith and action.  Here a just a few of those passages:

  • For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. (Deu 20:4)
  • Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Ps 34:10b)
  • But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:31)
  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa 41:10)
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (Mt 11:28)
  • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)
  • I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
  • And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

Take as many opportunities as you can to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ to cling to the Lord and to their faith in Him.  You will be blessed and encouraged as well.

Are You an Overcomer?

Are You an Overcomer?

What does the word overcomer mean?  It is synonymous with conqueror; victor; champion; or winner. 

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.   Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  (Rom 8:37)

The verses above imply a battle, a war, or a competition of some kind.  But where is the battleground and over what do we fight?  The Bible teaches us that the world is the battleground.  The battle is for the souls of men, women, and children.  

On a day to day basis, overcomers are followers of Christ who hold fast to faith in Christ under all circumstances.  Whether their challenge is financial, physical, mental, or emotional, the believer trusts in God and in His Word.  He/she will find Scripture verses that address the trial that they’re facing and such verses will cause their faith to grow stronger and firmer.

God doesn’t leave us defenseless in this world.  He has given us the armor of God to equip us in battle.  (See Eph 6:11-17)  This armor is available to all believers. 

We come through trials by the power of the Holy Spirit, and by perseverance in faith. 

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .  (Heb 3:14) Steadfast means constant, stalwart, and unwavering. 

Hold on firmly and resolutely to your faith in Jesus Christ.  He will not fail you.  You ARE an overcomer! 

Clothed With Humility

Clothed With Humility

The Bible has much to teach believers on the topic of humility.

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  (1 Pet 5:5, underscoring added)

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.  (Pro 22:4)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering . . .  (Col 3:12, underscoring added)

. . . to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  (Tit 3:2, underscoring added)

What is humility?  It’s a covering of meekness, unpretentiousness, gentleness, and peacefulness.  It’s a character trait that is evidenced by our willingness and ability to submit to God in obedience to His Word. 

A humble person is one who accepts the chain of authority, and therefore is able to submit to their supervisor on the job.  Another area where humility is evident is when a driver submits to the rules of the road, and obeys the traffic signs.

Humility is the quality that enables us to become good citizens, valuable church members, and contributors to society.  Humility is seen in the lives of public figures that are admired, as well as in the lives and actions of certain Kings and Queens throughout history. 

Jesus humbled Himself by obedience to His Father and dying a criminal’s death on the cross.  (Phil 2:8)  There is no greater example of humility.

One critical lesson to learn from the Scriptures is that we have the ability to HUMBLE OURSELVES!  We are the only ones who can do it, and God will most certainly reward us for our obedience to Him.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.  (Jas 4:10)

Ask of God

Ask of God

You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  (Jas 4:2)

But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.  (Joh 11:22)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (Jas 1:5)

These passages from the Bible remind us to ask God for the things that we need and for the things that we would like to have.  Certain Bible verses remind us that God will not withhold ANY good thing from the upright.  (Ps 34:10; 84:11)  Glory to God!

There are several Bible verses that remind us to ask God for what we desire; and they go on to explain that He will hear us and will answer our prayers.  (See Mt 7:7-8; Lk 11:9-10; Joh 15:7) 

The best part is that James 1:5 (above) reminds us that when we ask God for something that we need, He answers our prayer abundantly and without any criticism whatsoever!  Hallelujah! 

We serve a good and loving God.  He wants us to bring our needs, our hurts, and our sorrows to Him.  He wants us to recognize that He is available to us, and that He wants to help and bless us daily.  He wants to comfort us and to bind up our wounds.  (Ps 147:3; 2 Cor 1:4; 7:6)

Stop and take inventory of your life.  Determine what your needs may be and take them to the Lord right now.

So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Heb 4:16 ISV)