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12:00 PM   [16 Feb 2020 | Sunday]

The Real Enemy (Part Seven)

 What you believe about yourself will anchor you to your past, or it will allow you to be free to be whom the Lord intended. Everyone talks about letting go of the past, and to various degrees, some experience success. They have forgiven others and even themselves, which is monumental. And yet, for some, the anchor holds. What gives? They’re still attached to their old identity. They haven’t fully embraced who they are in Jesus Christ. There are two elements involved with that identity. Let’s take a look at them.

   Romans 6:6-8 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

   Briefly, to be baptized means to identify with, which means when you were baptized into Jesus Christ, you began to identify with Him. As we just read, we were baptized into His death, which means the old man was crucified with Him. God never intended to preserve or save your old nature; He intended to kill it -dead! Too many are giving their old selves mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. With whatever you identify will be what you believe about yourself. For instance, “I’ve always had a short temper, I can’t help it.” That short temper belongs with the old nature; it’s not part of the new one. Nonetheless, if that is what someone believes, that’s exactly the way they will continue. Moreover, they are using old weapons: anger and wrath, which are carnal and manipulative. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

   What in your old nature do you want to keep? Because, what you fight for is yours for the keeping. Whatever it may be will continue to control you. The old triggers are attached to the old identity. That’s why some sabotage any progress they make. For example, the one who believes he is impoverished or is only worthy of a certain income level, will find a way to set himself back if he goes over that level. Someone who believes he will always be at the $18,000 income level, will find ways to get rid of $17,000, if he should make $25,000. As long as he is hardwired into that belief, he’ll either find ways to stay there, or be very uncomfortable with having more. Why? He only knows lack, and understands the rules of that paradigm. The latter is unknown territory, and that is something with which humans are uncomfortable -even when it’s for the better. This is not about a person’s income, we know godliness with contentment is great gain (see 1 Timothy 6:6). This is about getting rid of the limitations which God removed from us. Here is another example: those who lived stressful lives, find it difficult to be peaceful. Hence, some will look for ways to stress themselves out. Even their physical bodies are addicted to stress. They need to detox by allowing His peace to rule in their hearts. We could make this list even longer, but you get the point. It would be beneficial to stop saying something about yourself that contradicts what God says about you.

   Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.   

   Since your old nature is considered dead in God’s eyes, you should too. In our opening passage, we also read we are freed from sin, which means we don’t have to serve it. Another lesson to consider. The second part of our identity is being Christ-like. Instead of the garbage found in the carnal nature, our new one is loaded with God’s best. With Holy Spirit living in you, the fruit of the Spirit is now part of you. All of it!

   Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

   Grace gives you the freedom to fully follow Jesus. In Him, you are completely new. It’s not a “do-over,” neither is it some renovation of something old -it’s a prototype. This is something that never before existed, or should we say, someone who never before existed. Anchor to the new man (see Ephesians 4:24), and you’ll be free to be exactly who God intended. You are new, the Bible says so!

   2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

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