The writing team has expanded to include Alan and Penny Oesterling. The meeting we had as a team last week has generated such excitement and so many ideas that I can only be encouraged. Penny brings a wealth of experience as a blogger. Alan has faithfully handled her editing and posting. Their experience and Jo Ann Whitaker’s energy have created a whirlwind of possibilities that are certain to bless us all.
One thing we realized from our discussions is that there are plenty of opportunities for others to contribute. We would love to find contributors who can share their personal story of faith or ministry, photographs to compliment our posts, or even write articles. Please comment or talk with us if you would be willing to contribute to this effort.
This week we feature a submission from Penny from her personal blog. Given the amount of strife and division within our world, country, and our own homes, it seemed like a good choice. Perhaps it is because of what God is showing me in my life that I would like to add James 4:1 to what Penny has so aptly stated in her post. Regardless, I am feeling challenged to do some repenting in my own behavior.
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? – James 4:1 NKJV
Christ Is Our Life by Penny Oesterling
As a believer, my life belongs to Jesus Christ; He has ransomed me from the bondage of my sin and redeemed my life. I am thinking we’d probably all agree to that statement. But, do you realize that not only is my life Christ’s, but, also, Christ IS my life? It’s said like this in the NLT (Colossians 3:3-4): “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.”
Therefore, all that Christ is, who He is (His character traits, etc.), He is in me, as He indwells me by His Spirit. Do you comprehend that? It’s an amazing and almost unbelievable fact! This is where the mysteries of Romans 6 come in. We see that we have died to sin, were joined with Christ in death, and were buried and raised with Him to live new lives. Because our old nature—our sinful selves—was crucified with Christ, sin lost its power over us. We are no longer slaves to sin but instead are alive to God through Christ Jesus! His righteousness has become ours (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Death means separation from people, places, things. So, if we’re dead to sin, sin is no longer our nature. We are now separated from it. This doesn’t mean that we don’t sin but that we’re no longer mastered by sin. Until Glory the Spirit within us will continue to do battle with the sin that entices us. But the real you and the real me, if we’ve trusted Christ as our Savior, are no longer under sin’s dominion. We belong to Christ and His Kingdom. We are new creations, dead to sin and alive to God, in Christ. And because we are dead to sin, we no longer have to yield to it!
God’s Word tells us that we are being transformed more and more from the inside out into Christ’s likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is now the real us, so it’s important that we understand it and live with this perspective. You’ve heard that you are what you eat. Well, it’s also true that we are how we view ourselves. We must see ourselves as God sees us….as new creatures in Christ who are indwelt by His Spirit. We are God’s masterpieces, created by Him for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Our goal now is to no longer please ourselves but to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9).
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Daily there will be spiritual battles to be fought….but always in Christ’s power and with His enabling Spirit. That’s why it’s so important to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) each day to remind ourselves that we do battle in God’s power and from a position of victory since Jesus has already won the victory over death, sin, and Satan.
As Evan Hopkins shares about spiritual battles, “In Christian conflict our whole equipment is divinely provided for us. He [God] gives us a position that is impregnable—strength in the Lord; an armor that is impenetrable; and a weapon that is infallible—the sword of the Spirit. We have by faith to take that position and continually to abide in it. We have by faith to put on that armor and wear it constantly.”
We don’t need to be fearful. Our victory is already determined as we fight these battles not in our own strength but in the power of the Spirit!
I like how the Heidelberg Catechism answers the question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” It says, “That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head. Indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.”
That is the perspective we need today and each day of our lives. THAT is the real you and the real me. Not only is my life Christ’s, but, also, Christ IS my life. So, let’s live accordingly every day of 2019 and beyond.
Things to Know: