As I read your comments on last week’s post “The Most Influential Man In Your Life,” I realized we weren’t speaking the same language. Several of you made comments like,
I am in-between both of those characteristics: Adam and Christ. Some days I give into the world, other days I live my life for Christ. It is a never-ending battle.
Here’s the thing: Being in Christ is less about your experience and more about your position in Christ. There isn’t any in-between. You’re either all the way “in Adam” or all the way “in Christ.”
The fact is, all of us were born “in Adam,” but if and when we put our trust in Jesus to be our righteousness, we are born again “in Christ.” We are one with Him now.
Paul begins Romans 6 by asking should we keep sinning ’cause we’ve been shown such crazy extravagant grace in Jesus? No way, he bursts in on himself. We’ve died to sin. We died and were buried with Jesus, and now we, too, have brand-new resurrection life. We have power over sin.
Our job: believe it to be so,
You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
As you begin to operate out of who you are (dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus), it will drastically change what you do.
See what I mean in this excerpt from my book Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom:
A Whole New Me
My whole life I’d struggled to defeat the power of sin—with no success. But now I was reading startling truths I’d never grasped.
It wasn’t just Jesus who had died—I’d died with Him. It wasn’t just Jesus who had been buried—my old self, packed with sin, had been buried with Him, too. And when Jesus burst out of that tomb with brand-new resurrection life, I, too, was given new life! Galatians 2:20 sums it up well:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
For the first time, I understood that Jesus didn’t die to forgive me of my sin but leave me in it. He died to forgive and to free me from the power of sin. Suddenly I realized I didn’t have to be jealous of that pretty girl. I didn’t have to covet every guy I saw. I didn’t have to hate that guy for not liking me. I wasn’t powerless anymore.
In fact, in Christ I was no longer that helpless, hopeless, boy-crazy girl. I had a new identity now: I was dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. My only job? Believing it to be so and living in light of that truth.
From that point on, I saw God begin to change not only my outward behavior but even the hidden desires of my heart. Whether I actually became a Christian at this time or not, I can’t say. I asked Jesus to save me at about age four, but this was the first time I really understood why the Good News was such good news!
This was the beginning of my whole new life.
Notice I said “the beginning.” It’s not like I was instantly transformed. But as I remembered, believed, and personalized these truths, my overwhelming despair ebbed away and was gradually replaced by hope. I stopped trying so hard and just started dying. Or rather, I started believing that I had already died with Christ. I gave up control and let Jesus take over.
How about you? Have you repented of your sin and put all your faith in Christ’s righteousness instead of your own? If so, you are now dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. Regardless of how you lived yesterday (or today), this is true of you. Now, begin to thank God for this truth. Wear it. Remember it. Relish it. Live from it.
“The Three Truths That Forever Changed My Life” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.
I don’t know you personally, but I can narrow the most influential man in your life down to one of two men. I don’t have a glass ball, and I haven’t stalked your Twitter account, but I know because these two men have been the two most important men in my life, too. More
Have you watched this video of Catherine’s visit to the psychologist? More
Last month my friend turned thirty, and a small group of us got together to celebrate her life and friendship. After a lovely dinner in an idyllic outdoor garden, we drove to the local civic theatre to watch the play Les Miserables. Even though I’m familiar with the story, it wasn’t until I watched the play that I realized Eponine and I have something big in common. More
When Pastor Walter Price told us he’d be preaching on Judas Iscariot, my ears perked up. I’d never heard a sermon preached about the disciple who betrayed Jesus. (Have you?) Walter didn’t disappoint. And boy, did he sober me up when he said,
“Judas knew the blessings of proximity to the things of God, he did a lot of great things for God, but he didn’t know God.”
Every August our staff gets together for one week to refocus on Jesus before we launch into a new year of ministry. With just three weeks ’til my book releases, this Seek Week found me cranking out “book” work (book marketing, book website, book interviews, book, book, book)–and cold-hearted. I was working for Jesus, but I sure wasn’t enjoying Him.
I’ve never thought about all the great things Judas got to do. Here’s just a peek from Matthew 10:
He [Jesus] called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction (v. 1).
Just to be sure we don’t miss it, Matthew lists all twelve names of the men Jesus sent out, ending with
. . . and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him (v. 4).
Judas was there. Check out the mind-blowing miracles Judas performed:
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them . . . “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (vv. 5, 8).
Not only did Judas do miracles, he saw miracles right and left. In Mark 6:43, Judas ate ’til he was stuffed—and then he brought home a whole basket of bread and fish—after Jesus fed 5,000 people with a skimpy five loaves and two fish.
And yet, Jesus hadn’t captured Judas’ heart; money had. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver—enough silver, at least, to buy a field (Matt. 27:3–10). Judas’ story puts skin to Matthew 7:21–23, the most sobering words of Jesus in the Bible—at least in my opinion:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
So I need to ask, are you busy doing things for Jesus without really loving Him? Are you telling others about Him without delighting in His beauty yourself?
If so, let me help you out by giving you a glimpse of Jesus’ beauty. Just before His death, Jesus tells the same twelve men that one of them is going to betray Him. He then leans over to Judas and says, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” The passage continues,
“Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him” (John 13:27-28).
Did you catch that? None of the other eleven disciples suspected Judas. Jesus had never treated Judas any differently than the rest of His disciples. All along Jesus knew what was in Judas’ heart, how Judas would betray Him, but Jesus loved Judas all the same. I don’t know about you, but I find that beautiful.
My prayer for you—and me—is that we would never be too busy working “for” Jesus that we miss “drinking from the river of His delights” (Ps. 36:8).
“Are You A Judas?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.
In just over three weeks you’ll get the inside scoop on my relationships with guys in Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There’s one story you won’t read in it, though, because it’s super fresh.
After I wrote Confessions, I began to date an incredibly godly man . . . and then I broke up with him about a month ago. Since then, I’ve experienced a whole lot of shame and guilt for not being more “spiritual,” for not having been satisfied with a godly man. What more could a girl ask for?
The messages I’ve picked up from the Christian world have taunted me. Find a godly man and marry him is the message I’ve heard loud and clear. He won’t be perfect; you’re not perfect; just get married. I’ve nodded my head and begged God to help me value the things He values.
But at the end of the day there was no peace, no joy in moving forward—only heaviness and tears. And so I said goodbye, and then the shame came.
Last week I realized why, at least in part. I’ve grown up knowing that Jeremiah 17:9 is true:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
If I can’t trust my heart, if I can’t know my heart, how can I make good decisions?
At the same time . . . hasn’t God given me a new heart? Removed my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh? Hasn’t He made all things new, including my heart? Doesn’t Jesus Christ now live in my heart through faith?
And if God can turn the king’s heart—the most powerful man in the land—wherever He wants, can’t He turn my heart too? Won’t He do the same for me, His daughter, who longs to know and do His will?
So I will continue to ask and trust God to turn my heart wherever He wants. And when the guilt and shame and self-loathing threaten to beat me up, I will rest in 1 John 3:20:
Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
It’s true that left to myself, I can’t trust my heart. But I can trust the God who is greater than my heart . . . and I can trust Him with my heart.
How is God asking you to trust Him with your heart today?
“When You Break Up . . . And The Shame Floods In” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.
Since Jesus says we can expect persecution, I sure want to know how to prepare for persecution. So with the help of Thomas Watson’s book The Beatitudes, I came up with the following eight ways to prepare for persecution: More
There’s trouble in town. We see it brewing as Genesis 13 builds. Abram and Lot are two filthy rich men with too much stuff living too close together on too little land. More