Liberty

July 23, 2015

Liberty

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.

Liberty is the liberation of the soul from the law of sin and death. It is emancipation from the bondage of the flesh. Liberty in Christ is the freedom to live in the calling and destiny our God has prepared for us, to realize His highest and His best for us. Oppressive forces are continually at work to rob our freedom, to undermine our liberty and to pervert the law of life in Christ Jesus to which we have been called. Our liberty in Christ is not found in the freedom to live to our flesh, or in self gain and promotion; it is realized in our dying to all that the world holds dear. Those former affections are no longer the object of our love and desire. When we really see Jesus, when the Spirit of God really possesses our soul, then all that is earthly, sensual and devilish will be as dung in comparison. We will catch the vision that Paul caught and we will run for the prize of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. We are living in a day of purification and revelation. We are being called by the Spirit to come out of our former complacency, our ruts of religious thinking and form, and come into the anointing and calling that Christ has for each of us who are His. If you are reading these words, it is because you desire something more; you desire more of Him. God wants to impart more of Himself to us, but in order to impart the new, the old has to pass away or it is only a hindrance and a pollution of the new. Hebrews 9:8 says, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” We can not realize the fullness of God’s calling and the holiest of all as long as we are bent on carrying all of our old religious baggage with us. Do not depart from the Word of God, but put on new ears to hear not the same religious rhetoric that you have heard all of your days, but the sound of a new trumpet in the land. It is calling us up higher, but it is not going to often be all that we thought we understood. The Lord says in Isaiah 65:16-17, “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” The Lord is doing a new thing in the earth. He is calling us out and up in ways we have not known before. Know this, that in the way of the cross there is suffering and in the suffering there is loss, but in the loss there is purification and resurrection from the dead. Don’t fear to let the former things go, for what the Lord is calling you into is so much higher and so much greater, but it is not the way of the flesh, nor of the will of man. Like Peter in John 21:18, the Lord would say to us, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”” The calling of God is great upon our lives, but it is not without a price. Again we know and believe Romans 8:16-18, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Can you hear the call of God personally upon your life today? Will you respond by releasing the former things and come to know Him in Spirit and in Truth. Learn His voice and obediently follow Him, for you are the sheep of His pasture. He is calling you into the liberty. When we truly find our liberty in Christ, then we will begin to become the liberators of others. 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.” Search out and know your liberty in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

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Two Kinds of Life

June 5, 2015

Two Kinds of Life

John 12:25
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

There are two kinds of life that pertain to man. It basically boils down to the one that he is living now in the form of a living and breathing soul. In the Greek this word is psuche; that which pertains to the soul, life, mind and heart. The other kind of life is that which in the Greek is called Zoë. It is the God-life or what we might term eternal life. If a man is only concerned for the psuche, the soul life that pertains to the here and now, then he will miss the Zoë. Now when the body stops breathing the psuche lives on, but its state beyond this life is determined by whether it possesses the Zoë life within or not. Jesus speaks to the fact that there will be a general resurrection of the soul or psuche life, in which all that have died in the body will be raised up. In John 5:25-29 Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Who are the truely dead? They are all of those who have possessed the psuche or soul life, but have not possessed the Zoë life, which can only be found through receiving Christ. Jesus says in John 14:6, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life (Zoë): no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Again, He says in John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” For us to possess eternal or Zoë life, we must possess the Son. When we invite the Son of God into our psuche life then that life must give place to the Zoë. Now, instead of living out of the soul life, we live out of the God life. It is as the apostle Paul puts it in Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life (Zoe) set me free from the law of sin and death.” The psuche without Christ abides under the law of sin and death, but when the Zoë comes in, it brings us into the higher law of Zoë.
Simply put, our life without Christ is not life at all but, in reality, is living in death. Christ in our lives has lifted us out of this death and set us in a place of living out of the eternal Zoë life of Christ. We must distinguish between the two, so that our lives are no longer psuche centered, but Zoë centered. “When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:4).”

Blessings,
#kent

The Person I Most Want to Be

November 21, 2014

Romans 8:1-4
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The Person I Most Want to Be

When I see the person of Jesus, I see the person
I would most like to be. I don’t see His life as just
an idea, but by faith, His Spirit living inside of me.
So life becomes an alignment of the desires of the
former person I used to be, to aligning my mind, will
and emotion to that person of Christ in me.

Because the One I aspire too is not dead, but living,
His Spirit is love, power and truth that keeps on giving.
As I die to me and give place to Him, my darkness turns to light.
It is not in the power of self I change, but by His resurrection might.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
#kent

Temptation

October 30, 2014

Mark 26:21
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Temptation

Temptation seems to always want to come and visit us in our weakest moments, entice us with its sweetest fruit and numb us to the consequences of its poison. Lust and desire are strong aphrodisiacs no matter what level or place in life they come to us. They always seek to turn our heads from who we are in Christ to who we were. In Genesis 3 we see the beguiler as he comes to rationalize with Eve that what God said wasn’t so and God just didn’t want her to partake of what would make her like Him. God warned Cain in Genesis 6, “… sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” We all, like Cain and those that have gone before us, are often caught up in our mind, will and emotions where we rationalize and court sin. It so often starts so subtly with the innocent and seemingly harmless things, just like a fish playing with the bait on a hook until before we know it the hook is set and we are being reeled into the depths of our sin that can lead us to strongholds and addictions.
In our passage from Mark 26, Jesus sees this happening even to His own disciples as He cautions them, “watch and pray”. Like them. many of us go through a time of spiritual victory and strength where we tend to let down our guard and think we are no longer vulnerable to the temptations of sin. What Jesus speaks to His disciples, He speaks to us. “Be vigilant, watchful and mindful of the cunning strategies of the enemy. Your spirit may be strong and willing, but your flesh may not have the resolve that you think that you have in your spirit. Given opportunity, it will want to indulge itself in those areas where it is weak and vulnerable.
Our spirit, in unity with God’s spirit is the strength we have to reign in the flesh with its desires. While we no longer have that appetite for sin, we all fall prey to it at various time and in various ways. What we all now have confidence in, is that even if we make a mistake, we no longer live in the realm of the law of sin and death, but in the realm of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We know that in Christ we have an advocate with the Father who ever lives to make intercession for us and if we fail 1 John 1:5-8 reminds us of the message we have from Christ. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
God warns us even about the company we keep. Where our hearts are our actions will follow. 2 Corinthians 6:14 -18 exhorts us, ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
While we minister the love and righteousness of God to the world, it is no longer the place of our fellowship or abiding. We are a people separated out of the world and unto Him, so our affections are set on things above and no longer of things beneath. It is as we maintain the identity of not who we were, but who we have now come into that we live in Christ through the power of His Word and Life. We are no longer conformed to this world as Romans 12 tells us, but we are transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Remember that the war that you are in, is not one of flesh and blood. The enemy is as 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, ” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability. And Jesus says, the mission statement of the devil is “to kill, steal and destroy.” He will always entice you through logic and lust into sin and then condemn you for it. Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us that we are in a war and not a casual relationship with this world and the spirits that seek to rule it. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
We must not only be mindful of ourselves, but pray and watch out for one another. The enemy is always trying to catch us on our blindside and your brother may be able to see what you have been blinded too. Let us watch one another’s back in love, not in judgement or condemnation. Together we stand as one man to defeat our foe and overcome temptation. We need to watch and pray, not only for ourselves, but for one another. Together we must stand helping, ministering and exhorting one another to be strong, resisting the devil so that he will flee from us. The serpent only feeds on dust. Your dust has been redeemed through the cross so that you walk no longer in the former dust and lust of your flesh, but live out of the life of the Spirit of Christ in you. In that place he has nothing to feed upon.

Blessings,
#kent

Conformed to His Image

March 17, 2014

Romans 8:28-30

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


Conformed to His Image


Early in the morning the alarm sounds to wake him from his sleep.  After a few groggy minutes he stirs and arises from his bed. The first thoughts are, “Praise you Father, thank you for a new day.”  As he staggers towards the bathroom his minds begins to clear.  “Who am I?”, are among the first thoughts that he thinks and hears.    

“I am a son, a called and set apart one for my Father.  I am what Jesus prayed I would be in John 17:20-23.  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. ”  I am the product of sonship, Father God’s adoption and acceptance of me in Christ.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  I am the product of God’s unconditional love, calling, purpose and design.  He has created me for His glory and I have been brought into unity with the Godhead, through Christ to let the world know that Jesus still lives, that God sent Him and that they may believe that He sent Him for them.  Even as Jesus told Thomas in John 14 that He was the expression of the Father, He has called me out of darkness to be the expression of Christ in me.  

I am no longer the man I used to be.  Old Adam has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)”  Old things have passed away and behold all things are new, for I am new creation in Christ Jesus, no longer conformed to the world, but transformed, metamorphosed into His image through the renewing of my mind (Romans 12).  I am being changed from glory to glory.  With unveiled face I am being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).  “As He is, so are we in this world (John 4:17).”  

“There is now no condemnation for me for I am in Christ Jesus and the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death ( Roman 8:1).” I will longer embrace, identify and think upon the former life of sin, death and judgement.  As a son, I live under a new law, a higher law and a more glorious dispensation.  By faith I receive it and embrace it.  I no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, because I am a product of the Spirit and His life now abides in me.  I am for His glory and no longer for my own, therefore by the Spirit I will put to death the deeds of the flesh, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. (1 John 5:4)””

Then he thinks what is my position as God sees me and he remembers the scripture from Ephesians 2:22, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”  So I am God’s habitation and abiding place, but positionally Ephesians 2:4-6 says, ” But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  So I am in Christ in heavenly realms and places.  With that heavenly position and perspective my giants will become as grasshoppers.  I will do as Colossians 3:1 says, ‘Since, then, I have been raised with Christ, I will set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. 3For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is my life, appears, then I also will appear with him in glory.’  If my life is hid in Christ then I sit with Him at the right hand of the Father.  For anything to touch me, it first must go through the Father, through the Son and back to me.  What touches me ‘I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’

What is my purpose?  Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do.’  If the purpose of Jesus is to draw all men to Himself and destroy the works of the devil then that must be my purpose as well since I manifest Him.  I am to be the expression of His love, because He first loved me (1 John4).  1 Peter 2 says, “But I am a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that I may declare the praises of him who called me out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once I was not His people, but now I am one of the people of God; once I had not received mercy, but now I have received mercy.”

Now that he has refreshed his heart, mind and spirit in who God says he is, he is ready to arise, spend time with Papa and conquer his day.

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Life is for the Living

December 12, 2013

 

Life is for the Living


Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.



The question is which life are we living?  Few of us have truly entered into the dimension and fullness of a crucified life.  At best, most of us are living in a place where there is a mixture of flesh and spirit.  Most of us believe in Christ, but we are still trying to meld it with the natural man.  Most of us spend a lifetime in the battle between flesh and spirit within our own selves.  

Our life is for living but lived for selfish gain and motive is robbing us of true life.  There is a dimension of life in God that we catch glimpses of through the fog of our understanding and revelation, but it eludes us.  Most of us are willing to settle in the outer court of salvation, but there are some in which a hunger and fire burns to live, to press into the Life that presides in the MOST HOLY PLACE.  No longer do they desire to live after the flesh, but the old identity they had in Adam is regarded as dead as they set their eyes and heart to obtain and lay hold of that which they have been called out for.  Many of us catch glimpses of this truth, but then the cares of life quickly obscure it from our spiritual vision.  

The truth and life that is contained in the scripture can totally transform and change your life.  For us to truly lay hold of it and live it out daily by faith and the power of the Christ within us, is to truly enter into and come up to a different place, where we are living under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  It is the living in this law that will set us free from the law of sin and death.  We have the promise and the calling, but not very many of us are walking and living in this dimension of life.  Yet this scripture is our calling and it is our destiny.  We all want to cling so much to the material world.  It is our natural sense of security, control and for most of us our reality.  

Galatians 3:12 tells us,  “The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.””  Many of us, like those of Galatia, are still trying to accomplish by natural means that which Christ alone can provide for us.  We are still living under the principles of the law and works to please God and appease our conscience.  Galatians 3:10 has just told us,” All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Christ has died to bring us out of the curse and into a higher law and dimension of life.  It is a life not lived out of rules, regulations, traditions and religious dictates of righteousness.  It is life of the Spirit, lived moment by moment in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit.  It is life in which the law is no longer written on tables of stone, but upon the tables of our hearts.  Our heart is not just about doing, but it is  in being and our doing comes out of our being rather than the other way around.  We do the works of God, because we are God’s and His Spirit rules in our hearts.  

In this place where our Adam no longer lives, we come into the presence of Faith, Hope and Love.  They will no longer be elusive ideas, but our dear and near companions.  In this place we truly live and move and have our being in Him.   Here we enter into a place of intimacy and communion with God that we cannot know in the natural man.  Here is where we learn and know what it is be one with Christ and have our identification one with His, where we no longer perceive ourselves as separate from Christ, but now we are an intimate part of Him and He is becoming all in us.  

Those who grasp the truth of Galatians 2:20 know that true life and living is found through a death and dying.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “ …I die daily”.  Paul readily admits that if Christ is not true and if there is no resurrection then he has suffered a lot of misery in vain, because he is not living for the benefit of his natural man and he has literally paid the price.  He has a revelation and vision that is greater than anything this world can hold for Him.  He is pressing into that divine life and nature and he wants to take as many as will come, with him.  

What is your vision for life today?  What dimension of life are we living in?  Life is for the living, but how will you live it and under which law will choose to live; the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus?

 

blessings,

kent

Live for Life

September 26, 2013

Live for Life

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

When God breathed into man the breath of life He gave man something that no other living creature had, an eternal spirit and soul. As there are three forms of expression in God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; so there are three expressions of man: spirit, soul and body. This is brought out plainly in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” While animals are organisms that have the breath of life, this form of life only exists as long as the organism is living. We have that same form of life working in our bodies. We also have another form of life; it is spirit life that God breathed into us. It is what connects us to the spiritual world. We wear this physical body to give expression to the soul which is made up of the mind, will and emotions of man. Your soul is your distinct personality and person. The physical body is the temporary residence that houses and allows this soul its expression. The spirit is the inter-most entity contained within the soul. It is the Holy of Holies, if you will, of a man. The spirit is where we connect with forces beyond the natural realm. The soul is the processing center of both the natural and the spiritual realm. It becomes the battleground in which all the dramas of natural and spiritual life are played out.
Adam and Eve fell from a state of spiritual life and living when they disobeyed God and sinned in the Garden. With them fell all of mankind back into a state of natural life and living. While man still possessed a spirit it was dead to the life of God in its natural state. In this state, darkness and spiritual ignorance hid the face of God from man. While man may have given up on God, thank God, He has never given up on man. God’s whole plan of the ages has been to bring us back to the place of restoration of that which was lost. His desire is to set us again in heavenly places in right relationship with Him. Ephesians 2: 1-6 says, “And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus.” Satan, the perpetrator of death has come to rob, steal and destroy. But God has sent His Son to redeem that, which was lost, because He is the author and perpetrator of Life, Spiritual Life. He has come to quicken these dead spirits of ours that we might begin again to enter into the spiritual life we had lost. In this knowledge and the quickening of His grace and life in us, we no longer live and operate out of the natural man. We understand that this man of the natural is soon to pass away, but it is the spiritual man within and his condition that determines our spiritual destiny of life or death.
Romans 8: 1-2 says, “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Herein is stated the two laws under which a man can live, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus or the law of sin and death.” As believers we have chosen the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ. As such it is important to us that we maintain within our souls the reality and gravity of whom we now are in Christ. It is in living in this life principle in Christ that we truly live and move and have our being in Him. It is in this law of life that we come into the knowledge and revelation of who God really is and His relationship with us. It is in this law of life that we begin to live out the purpose for which we were created and exist. There is now a paradigm shift in our thinking and our living that moved the center of our universe from us to Him. Now everything revolves around our God, because we realize and embrace the fact and the truth that we are first spiritual creatures, quicken in these mortal bodies to live lives to the glory of our Creator. We have and are coming out of the place of self expression to the place of God expression where now it is the life principle of Christ in us that is expressing the life of God to a world that is still in darkness and ignorance of Him. We are His lights and His instruments of God expression. So each day as we live in this natural life in these natural bodies, let us live out the higher principle of the eternal life in Christ that resides now within our spirit and soul. May our bodies become the expression of His Spirit and righteousness as we live by the Spirit out of the law of LIFE.

Blessings,
kent

The Groan Within

July 8, 2013

The Groan Within

Romans 8:18-24
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

As much as we can love the Lord and desire to be filled with the fullness and glory of His divine life we find that as long as we are still of this earth we are still tethered to our body of flesh. It is this body of flesh that poses our limitations; it is the dust to which we are bound and upon which the serpent feeds. This flesh is ever demanding our attention and our care as it provides the earthly housing for our spirit man. Yet it is the spirit man within us, redeemed and conformed to the image of Christ, that so groans to be set free from the limitations, the hindrances, the weakness, the sin and the failures that the flesh prompts and facilitates. Every day must be a recommitment to crucify this flesh, hold fast our faith in Christ and walk in a manner that glorifies Him. Yet every day it seems the enemy is at work in our lives to undermine, to seek some avenue of darkness that he might exploit in us. Everyday it is necessary to set ourselves in array with our spiritual armor to combat our spiritual foe. The battle is waged not so much without as it is waged within. We battle our thoughts that are impure or out of alignment with the Word of God. We war with our passions and our impulses to act out of our flesh rather than our spirit. We war with the individual weaknesses that are characteristic and inherent within us. “Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of sin and death (Romans 7:24)?” Isn’t that our groan and cry to the Lord? We often hate what we are still manifesting in our flesh, but we seem so powerless to gain the victory and righteousness that we so desire to see. It is this reality that we continually face that causes us to know that we are the products of God’s grace and mercy alone and through no righteousness of our own. It is His righteousness and life with which we now relate and identify. The answer to our cry and groan for the deliverance from this body of death is still “Jesus Christ”.
We groan to see that full deliverance from the influence and power of our body of sin, but God in His infinite wisdom has chosen that even in salvation that we must walk in faith and trust for the in-working of righteousness and deliverance in us. God has structured it in such a way that it is only in a holy and sustained union with Him and identification with who we now are in Christ that we walk each day in faith, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our day to day victories are only accomplished as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has set me free from the law of sin and death. There are two laws operational in your life today. Whichever law you make the choice to serve that is whose servant you are. We know that, in ourselves, in this flesh, dwells no good thing. We know that the heart is deceitfully wicked and who can know it? This is why we need an ally to prevail over this body of sin.
Romans 8:12-13 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The key to a victorious life in Christ is living and walking in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit putting to death the passion and misdeeds of the flesh.
It is not often an easy walk. Sometimes we grow weary or complacent. Sometime we allow the moldy corruption of our sinful desires to have place under a cloak of righteousness, but eventually the stink of our misdeeds will be revealed. Yes, we are often weak and we can all stumble. We need to pray for one another. We need the ability to be transparent with one another without judgement so that we can minister grace and encouragement to each other. We are the body and with the life of Christ within each of us we must minister and function to the good and health of the whole. As we hold fast our faith and hope, one-day that groan will be turned to the shout of victory, as we will triumph fully in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

Repeating Offenses and Failures

Romans 7:17-24
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. or I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

I don’t know that there are any of us that don’t struggle in our lives with our character flaws and weaknesses that seem to want to continue surfacing and have long been a source of consternation and dismay to us. We don’t like these flaws, habits, strongholds, weaknesses and shortcomings; we hate them. We know they don’t please God and yet we find ourselves again and again falling back into these snares. We may even wonder if we could still be saved, as many times as we have failed, repented and then failed again. This is where the rubber meets the road for many of us in our spiritual walk. The latter part of Romans 7 deals, I believe, with this very issue. It really boils down to a warring issue within our lives. There are two laws that war in our members and while we serve the law of God in our mind, we find the law of sin, still wanting and seeking place in our bodies. As we seek to ascend in our minds and spirits we have the flesh seeking to pull us back down, bringing condemnation and once again breaking and interrupting our spiritual fellowship with the Lord. We, like Paul, cry out, ” O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then he goes on to answer his own question, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” What is he saying, that we can be divided and our mind serves God and our flesh serves sin? No, he is saying that which ever one we give place to that is the one we will serve. Romans 8 really goes on to give the extension to the answer of our dilemma that he has addressed in Chapter 7. Romans 8:1-2, ” [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” It is in grasping and laying hold of the higher law that now governs our lives that we begin to walk and live in a new mindset. It is the mindset that is identified, not with our old man governed by the law of sin, but our new man which is governed by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. One of the greatest reasons for our prayer life and spending time in the Word is so that we can renew our minds in who we are in Christ. We are no longer that old person, enslaved under the law of sin, subject to its bondage. We have been set free; the Lord has broken those shackles off of us. Does that mean that we will never be tempted or influenced by the former things? Not at all, we know that the flesh, and that former mindset that wants to regain its strongholds in our lives, constantly assault us. Our freedom is in Christ and in our walk in the Spirit. Romans 8:5-10, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.” If we are the ones still trying to conquer our weaknesses in our own strength then we are doomed for the failure we’ve experienced in the past. It is the Spirit working in concert with our will and submission to Him that is our empowerment. Romans 8:13, ” For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Our lives in the Spirit are a continual overcoming of our flesh and the law of sin that wars against our members. Are we going to loose some battles, yes, we still fall short far too often, but we have set our course. Our eyes are fixed upon our Savior and “it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me (Galatians 2:20).” That old man was crucified with Christ on the cross, but daily we become a living sacrifice consecrated unto Him. He is our victory and in Him we are more than conquerors. Don’t be discouraged, for His blood washes and forgives our failures as we repent and turn back to Him. The more Christ fills our hearts and minds the less room and place there is for sin as the Holy Spirit is given full place to govern over our souls. Press on, identified with who you are in Christ. The Holy Spirit is empowering us to be the sons of God He has called us to be.

Blessings,
kent

Living in a Higher Law

October 15, 2012

Romans 7:21-25
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Living in a Higher Law

This passage in Romans 7 is sometimes confusing and controversial. It is one that we can relate with because we struggled with the law that operates out of the sin nature. Paul speaks of the law that in my mind or inner man delights in God, but then he speaks of another law that wages war with this higher law that is in Christ.
Quite honestly, we have all dealt with these inner conflicts and most of us still do. What we find, is that in ourselves, we may always seem to be losing the battle even though our inner man desires the higher way.
Paul expresses here the frustration that we feel in our being, “Wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
Then answers by saying, “Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
It is really essential that we read Romans 7 in conjunction with Romans 8 if we really want to see and understand the problem and the solution.
The problem is that, we, operating out of the law of sin and the law written against sin, will never overcome it. Our only solution to rising above self and our propensity to sin is coming into the higher law that Christ has established for us through the cross.
Paul is ending chapter 7 by making the proclamation that our only solution is Christ Jesus, our Lord. Lord means that self and sin no longer have the dominion. That lordship, dominion, headship, rulership has been given over to Christ.
Now Romans 8 begins by enlightening us to the higher law that we are now to be living out of that has set us free from the law of sin and death. It is a law where sin has no dominion, place or power to condemn. It is place of no shame, no blame and no embarrassment, because it is the law of Christ’s righteousness that now abides, lives and should hold lordship in our being.
Romans 8 starts out by declaring the two laws that work in us. ” Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
Do we want to be free from sin and have the righteous requirements of the law met in us? Then we have to live in a different place than we did before; not geographically, but spiritually. We know that the same laws that govern us on earth are different once we enter into outer space. When we are still on earth and in its atmosphere, we are subject to the law of gravity. It is always pulling us back to the earth. It is like the power of sin that was always pulling us back from righteousness. Christ broke the bounds and bondage of earth and set us free from the gravity of sin. He brought us up into a higher law. The law of life in Christ Jesus. The law that is not subject to sin and death.
What is required for us to experience this higher law of living?
We have to live in a different place by faith. The natural man we reckoned dead with Jesus on the cross. It was crucified there with Him and in Him and buried in the earth. That former man we used to identify with ourselves, is no longer. He’s dead.
If we become identified with Christ in His death and burial we have also become identified with Him in His resurrection and ascension. We have been raised up a new creation, new creatures in Christ, no longer identified with the old self man that was subject to the law of sin and death and lived in the condemnation of it. Now we have been set free to live in the dimension of Spirit. Our location has changed. Ephesians 2:4-6 says, ” But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” We are heavenly kids, living out of a heavenly realm because we walk by the Spirit of God and no longer after the dependency and reliance upon the flesh. Outwardly, nothing may look different, but inwardly we have just gone to whole other dimension and place. Romans 8 is teaching us that out of this place we have victory over sin and death, because “by the Spirit” we put to death the deeds and the motions of sin that still want to operate in the body. As we abide in that place of Spirit we operate out of that higher law of Christ.
The enemy is always trying to rob that reality and truth from us. He is always working to steal back the identity you have in Christ Jesus. This is why it is imperative that you live each day in the Spirit, with your eyes fixed upon Jesus. Always look into the likeness of what you are becoming, not what you came from. We can’t look back. We can only look forward, pressing into Him who is our life, our liberty and freedom from sin and death.

Blessings,
kent

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