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. 

Humility & Glory

Humility & Glory

The Lord has destined each one of us for great things, among which is the joy of serving the Lord and being in relationship with Him.  But sometimes, we struggle with our self-image; and we all need to know how to deal with this issue victoriously. 

Just remember this:  Thinking less of yourself is not humility!  Thinking of yourself less frequently is humility.  Believe in who God made you to be.  Be imitators of God like the beloved children that you ARE!  (Eph 5:1) 

God has put His own glory within each one of us!  (Isa 60:19-21; Rom 8:18; Col 1:27; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 Pet 5:10)  He wants to display His glory through us, so that we may bring Him glory, honor, and praise.  However, we must yield to Him in order to allow Him to fulfill His good plans for us.  If we will cooperate with the Lord, and obey His Word, we’ll be changed into a brand new person.  Which makes sense, because God makes all things new.  (Rev 21:5)

The Lord wants us to be fully alive—not to be a cheap imitation of someone else.  God created each one of us to live as a unique and irreplaceable individual in His family. 

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim 1:6-7)

Stir up your gifts, and learn to enjoy the fact that God has created you as a matchless and dazzling individual!  Don’t be fearful because fear has bondage and torment attached to it.  (Rom 8:15)  Reject those things outright.  They do not come from God.  God has made you FREE indeed!  (Joh 8:36)  God has blessed you and poured out His supernatural favor upon you. 

You have God’s permission and encouragement to soar and to far surpass your former self for Jesus’ glory!  All glory to God most high!

Being a Witness Where You Are

Being a Witness Where You Are

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (Mk 16:15)

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.  (Ps 96:3)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  (Mt 24:14)

The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord is not willing that any should perish.  Jesus obediently fulfilled His assignment to the fullest, and has purchased our salvation.  We are instructed by the Scriptures to share our Good News with others! 

We don’t need to embark on a mission field in some far-flung country to do this.  We’re called to be witnesses of God’s goodness right where we are!  We may do that in a variety of ways:  by serving our neighbors through acts of kindness and mercy; by being helpful and considerate; by sending a card, making a meal, or visiting someone who is not feeling well.  God has made us to be creative, and every individual can think of creative ways to be a light in this world—thereby bringing glory to God.

Sharing the Good News isn’t about preaching at someone or beating them over the head with verses from the Bible.  It’s not about condemnation, but love.  It’s about lovingly reaching out to those we know, and interacting with them in ways that are meaningful to them.  And while we’re doing that, we take opportunities to share our own life experiences with them.  We may quote a succinct Scripture to support a comment, or share a brief testimony of answered prayer.

Being an effective witness for the Kingdom of God means connecting with our friends and neighbors during good and bad times. (Eccl 3:4)  As a witness, we should also strive to be a good citizen and neighbor—a good example.  (2 Cor 5:20)  We need to speak from our hearts, and show respect and sympathy towards others.

Witnessing means being genuine with our friends and neighbors, and even admitting when we may be struggling with something.  (2 Tim 1:8)  As we are open with others and allow them to see God resolve our circumstances for us, our life becomes a window into how the Kingdom of God operates.  This style of candid testimony affirms our authenticity.  Other people can sense how deeply we honor Christ and value our relationship with Him as they see us trust Him to work out the difficulties that we encounter in life.  (1 Pet 3:15)

As we live this way, the Lord will faithfully open the ears, minds, and hearts of those with whom we interact.  He will allow others to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, and His Spirit will then be able to move upon them to minister to them. 

All we need to understand is that the Lord will draw the unsaved to Himself through us—if we’ll cooperate with Him.  Praise God!

The Power of God

The Power of God

The Bible has quite a lot to say about the power of God.  Here are some selected verses.

. . . and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.  (Rom 1:4)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16)

. . . but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (1 Cor 1:24)

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  (1 Cor 2:4-5)

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18)

I’m sure that you’ve noticed the recurring theme in these verses that Jesus is called the power of God or the verse may state that power comes through His good news.  How did Jesus access His Father’s power?  He accessed it through the Holy Spirit, for our Lord said:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  (Ac 1:8)  Jesus spoke this to His disciples, and told them that they would receive power through the Holy Spirit.

Further on in the New Testament, we read:

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5)

Each believer receives power in the same way that Jesus did, through the Holy Spirit and His presence in us.  We must learn to cooperate with the Lord and the Holy Spirit through our knowledge of the Word and through our obedience to it.  As we obediently serve Him and allow Him to lead and guide us, we will move and operate in His mighty power.

Who Do You Want To Be?

Who Do You Want To Be?

Today’s topic is a consideration of what type of person each one of us wants to be.  How do we get T-H-E-R-E from where we are now?  The Lord Jesus is committed to each and every one of His children.  If we cooperate with Him, we will never be put to shame.

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Mt 7:12 NKJV)  – This is the golden rule:  Do unto others what you want them to do to you.  If this rule guides your thoughts and actions, the results will be pleasing.  Allow this to motivate you to extend mercy and forgiveness to others.

For “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”  (Acts 17:28 ESV)  – Remember, we are made in the image of God; we are His children.  We live and do everything in Christ.  God bestows His unconditional love and abundant blessings upon His children.  Remember WHOSE you are!  It will do wonders for your self-image, and for how you conduct yourself. 

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Rom 5:3-5 NKJV)  – God’s love has been poured out upon each one of us.  All of life’s circumstances are designed to improve our character and to conform us to the image of Christ.  (See Romans 8:29)  Allow your circumstances to soften your hard edges, and to nurture a merciful and loving quality within you.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  (1 Cor 3:16 ESV)  – Each one of us is truly God’s temple, and His Spirit dwells within each one of us.  Glory to God!  Be aware of God’s presence constantly, and allow the knowledge that He is with you to transform all of your decisions and actions.  It will bless you and cause you to bless others.

. . . but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  (Eph 4:15 NKJV)  – God wants us to grow up (mature) into the image of Christ.  One way of doing that is to walk in love and to do everything with a loving heart and attitude.

Grow up and BE the person you truly want to be.  How do you want your spouse, your children, and your friends to remember you?  Once you’ve come to a decision on that, take some time to strategize how to aim your life and your behavior in that direction.  Allow the Scriptures and the Lord to guide you.  God is committed to transforming each one of us, and will give us the grace that we need.  Oh joy!

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

We continue our study on making peace.  We serve the God who is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), so we must always cooperate with Him.

Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (Jas 3:18)

A very vital spiritual discipline is to pray for the other person involved in the broken relationship.  Never try to “get even,” because that motivation does not come from the Spirit of God but from the pit of hell.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you . . . (Mt 5:44)

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.  (Rom 12:14)

Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people.  (1 Thes 5:15)        

If you’re the offended person and you receive a text, email, or note in the mail similar to what was described in our previous article, pray deeply and sincerely about your response.  Weigh the pros and cons of what actually happened between you. Was it an uncommon occurrence on the other person’s part?  Was it out of the ordinary or some kind of misunderstanding? 

Ask the Lord to give you His supernatural grace to forgive; and understand that when you ask Him to do something according to His will (1 Jo 5:14-15), that He hears you and gives you exactly what you’ve requested. 

Remember that you are also forgiven by the Lord.  The Lord said:  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Mt 6:15) 

If you’re able to forgive the other person, it is a victory for the Kingdom of God!  And it will enrich your life and the lives of those who may be aware of the problem.  Forgiveness and reconciliation is a testimony to God’s goodness, mercy, and grace. 

If you honestly and sincerely feel that the circumstance(s) that caused a rift between you was a predictable event, and that it will certainly happen again, then you still need to forgive the person.  But you can choose NOT to resume a relationship with the person who hurt you.  However, you should respond to their overture and let them know that you do forgive them, and that you wish them the very best.  You can then indicate that due to the history between you, you feel it’s best for you that you don’t resume a relationship with them. 

In following these guidelines, you will have cooperated with the other person (and with God) in establishing peace between you.  (2 Cor 13:11) God bless you.