Losing my Head

June 24, 2015

Losing my Head

Philippians 4:12-13
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

As I was praying this morning my thoughts went back to my childhood where I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents on their farm in Oklahoma. I remember times when my grandmother would get a chicken that she was going to prepare for a meal. She would put its head under a metal bar, step on it and pull its head off. I’m sorry if that is a little gruesome and graphic for some. The thing that was coming to me is that after the chicken’s head was removed I saw them do things that I never saw them do in everyday life. They might just flop around, but I saw some of them fly distances that I had never seen a chicken fly before. How could they do that without a head? I know, involuntary reflexes and such. The thing that struck me is that if they could do that in death, why did they never do it in life? The only time a chicken would leave the ground normally is if it was being pursued and took flight out of fear.
I believe what the Lord was showing me is that our greatest limitation is between our two ears. We grow up saying, doing and being what everyone else around us does. Think of the disciples. Here were twelve very ordinary men. I imagine not all of them were the sharpest pencils in the drawer, but they all did one thing, they left all to follow this man Jesus. As they followed, communed and lived with this man they observed someone who was not like all of the other chickens in the hen house. They observed someone who thought differently, acted differently and did things they had never imagined anyone could do. It was a process over time where the normal way they used to view their world changed. They begin to see and understand their world from a heavenly and kingdom perspective rather than an earthly one. After the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus they received power from on High when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. Now Jesus was physically gone. They had lost their earthly head and a new mentality had to kick in. The mind of Christ had now come within them for them to carry on the work of the Kingdom with power and authority. They began to speak under the anointing of the Spirit and would see thousands respond and come to Christ. They had miracles happening as they extended their wings in faith. In some cases people were even raised from the dead. These ordinary men were doing exploits that rattled the religious order of the barnyard. The religious leadership thought that they had rid the hen house of this One that upset the natural order of things. He was obviously out of the pecking order. Now there were more of these people doing the same kind of things while proclaiming this Jesus as the Christ and the Messiah, not only in word, but also with signs and wonders.
What we have to realize is that when we accepted Christ as our Savior we became identified with His death on that cross. In effect, out head got pulled off. We are no longer like every other chicken in the barnyard. The great news is that we didn’t just lose our head, we put on the headship of Christ in the process. We lost our mind that we might have His. Like the disciples before us we have began a process of changed thinking. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” It goes on to say ‘don’t think of yourselves more highly than you ought.’ It is never this earthen vessel that is great; it is what fills it.
What fills you my friend is what gives you the power and abilities to do what you have never done before. It gives you the ability to rise to heights that in the natural mind you never thought possible.
There are wings of faith in God’s Word that must be stretched and exercised. We have had them all along; we just have never really used them. God has given us the ability to be extraordinary people and maybe not in the way the world views as extraordinary. We have the power within us now to be different, something more. That more may not be as the world views greatness, but it will be seen in the power of an obedient life yielded to Christ and available for His power to manifest through in the ways that please Him and further His Kingdom. Have you lost your head and put on His?

Greetings,
#kent

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Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Are You Putting Me On?

Galatians 3:27
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Let’s talk further of our spiritual wardrobe and how we are to clothe our whole man. The Word says that when we were baptized or immersed into Christ we have put on Christ. The struggle isn’t that we don’t have Christ, the struggle is with our thinking and old ways of behavior that must be transformed to the mind of Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Just as we choose each day which clothes we are going to wear, we make choices, either knowingly or unknowingly, about our mindset and how we are going to think and act. It can be all too easy to fall back into the rut of our former way of thinking and behavior because we fail to acknowledge who we are, how we should think, and consequently how we should act. We fail to come into union and alignment with the Holy Spirit on a constant basis to enable us to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh.
There is an active decision going on each day in us to press into and follow after Christ. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we are to give ourselves daily to renewing our minds; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We are continually to pursue and put on that mind of Christ that walks by faith in our Father and not by the sight of natural things. This is a way contrary to our natural thinking and our former behavior. It is an area we must give ourselves too as we seek to come into concert with the Holy Spirit within us. Colossians 3:8-15 continues to give us further insight into the direction of this exchange and transformation, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
And above all these things [put on] charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” The word is exhorting us to make right choices about our spiritual wardrobe. It is the reflection of who we really are in Christ. When Paul exhorts women about their outward apparel in 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” he is simply saying let the outward man reflect the inward man. What we are inwardly should show forth in who we are outwardly.
Our spiritual man is not just about an attitude or way of thinking, it is also an armor and protection against the powers and influences of darkness that are ever there to tempt us, distract us, and undermine our authority in Christ. Romans 13:12 tells us, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Ephesians 6:11-13 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Paul goes on in this passage to explain the different parts of the armor and their spiritual application to us. We are not dressing to go to the mall; we are dressing for battle and spiritual warfare. If we fail to see the significance of our spiritual garments and wardrobe, then we are going to find our selves in those old sweaty garments of the flesh and spiritual defeat. Those aren’t the garments of heavenly attire. How does our Father want us to dress? ” But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof] (Romans 13:14).”

Blessings,
#kent

Ephesians 4:17-24
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Dressing with Your True Identity

A young boy had grown up into manhood in poverty. He had never had enough to eat. He only had dirty rags for clothes to wear and was dirty and smelly from lack of hygiene. He was always looked down upon by others. When given the opportunity he would always take and horde whatever he could get because of his constant want. He learned to talk rough and hold his own in world. He even sometimes would steal when no one was looking. He had no father, no real mentor or example but the world and the school of hard knocks to teach him how to survive. All he had was an orphan spirit.
This young man would travel by catching freight trains and bummed around the country. One day he encountered a man in which he saw such love as he had never seen before and when this man looked upon him, he didn’t see him with disdain and judgement, but with love and compassion. This man took the young man to his home. He offered to adopt this young man and provide him with the opportunity for education. He offered to feed, cloth and house him, but even more importantly to bring him into relationship as a member of his family and home. The young man was overwhelmed by the man’s generosity and had such feelings of unworthiness to be brought into such a home and adopted as a son.
One of the first things the man to taught him was to bath and use proper hygiene. He gave him cleaned and pressed suits and garments to wear and began to educate him as an investment banker.
While the young man was very grateful for all that this generous patriarch offered him, he was still prone to want to put on the old dirty rags and go hang out around the railroad tracks and the slum areas. When he did he would tend to hang around the old crowd, drinking and cursing and living his old life.
His new found father set him down one day and shared with him that he could not maintain two identities. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Every day you have to get up and dress with the identity of who you truly are. If you don’t acknowledge daily your true identity and dress accordingly you will soon find yourself slipping back into the identity of who you were, not who you are. That former life has to be gone with all of its attitudes and ways. It represents the antithesis or direct contradiction of what you now are. The old filthy rags have to be burned and your back turned to that former way of life. Even more importantly is to start your day dressing in the identity of who you now are and confessing what you now have. That old way only brought you misery and destruction, but “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).” “Be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” It is in the attitude of the mind that battles are fought and won or lost. The former ways have no place now in who you are, but only you can daily dress your attitudes with the identity of who you truly are.
“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. (1 John 4:17).”

Blessings,
#kent

The Spirit of the Overcomer

1 John 4:2-4
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Did you know that you have already overcome the spirit of this world? All victory has been granted unto us in heaven and in earth. Our deficiency comes when we fail to step into who we are. Christ has gone before us to conquer and now we must come behind Him and possess. We still have the illusion that we are called to do something that is beyond our power to do. Our victory is in getting a revelation and lining up with God’s program. Christ has provided all that we need for life and godliness, but like clothes laid out upon the bed we have to put on the spiritual garments He has given us to wear. We can’t do that if we are still wearing the garments of the flesh and self-dependency. As the one is put off the other can be put on. Faith and obedience are the means by which we change into the garments of the overcomer, fashioned in the likeness of Christ.
Again, for us to come into who we are we have to see ourselves for who we are. We have to see ourselves as Christ sees us. We have to see ourselves as more than conquerors, as the head and not the tail, as sitting with Christ in heavenly places. You are the overcomer because of the One who is in you and He has conquered and defeated the one who is in the world.
Now obviously that doesn’t mean the world is going to embrace us. It is still antichrist in nature and behavior. It will hate us as it hated Jesus if we are truly walking in Christ. Jesus told us, “ In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”
This is where we have to have the spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that is tender before the Lord. John tells us here to discern the spirits. It is because we don’t discern and embrace the right spirit that we are struggling in defeat and compromise. We are mingling clean and unclean. It is defiling our walk and is a stumbling block before us, because it will turn us out of the Way. Just as the Canaanites that were left in the land brought the Israelites into idolatry, those wrong spirits left in our lives will be our source of stumbling. This is why John is exhorting us to take a good look at the spirits that influence and touch our lives. Don’t receive and embrace every spirit that comes along no matter how good it sounds, but test those spirits if they be of God. Any spirit that is robbing you and denying you of who you are in Christ is not of God. Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, but He has also come in the flesh of your humanity to be manifest in you. Embrace the spirit of Christ in you with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, because He is the essence of your being and life in God. He is the victory in you that overcomes the world; that delivers you out of darkness into His marvelous light and truth. The assurance we have in Christ gives us the peace and the confidence to go through whatever this life brings against us, because our hope is not in this world or its temporal treasures. We are aliens, spirits of another world, dwelling and sojourning on this earth. This is not our home. We are not just earthly beings with a spirit; we are spiritual beings living in earthly bodies. Our bodies are just to facilitate who we are in Christ while we dwell on this earth, even as the body of Jesus facilitated the Spirit of God while He was in the earth.
Put on your spiritual vision and see that you are in the Mountain looking down upon the valley and not in the valley looking up to the mountain. Don’t allow the spirits of this world to cloud your vision and hinder you from being the overcomer that Christ has destined you to be. We don’t boast in ourselves, we boast in the One who is mighty in us, who imparted His Spirit and His Life into us. Out of that Life we live and move and have our being.
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1John 5:3-5).”

Blessings,
kent

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