by Julie Gernand
Matthew 11:28 - "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
Out of nowhere, your heart starts racing. Your palms are sweating and you feel like the room is spinning. You feel totally out-of-control.
For many of us, this is what it is like to experience a panic attack.
For some, it happens when we must give a speech or a presentation in front of a group. For others it comes when we feel unprepared for an exam. For me, it often comes when sitting in a quiet group of people, such as in church or while attending a wedding. For those of us who struggle with panic attacks, our frightening, yet harmless, symptoms can sometimes come seemingly out of nowhere.
I have struggled with anxiety and panic since high school. I remember sitting with my oboe during morning band rehearsal, and out-of-the blue, my body would react as if an armed terrorist had just entered the room. This began to happen almost daily, in my other classes as well. I began to fear the panic attacks themselves, and this worry alone would often cause an attack. For many people, panic attacks can be frightening and downright debilitating.
[Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nor am I a specialist in panic disorders. However, I have experienced anxiety attacks, and I believe that there are many ways in which our Lord cares and helps those with anxious thoughts.]
Have you experienced any of the panicky feelings I have described above?
Perhaps you haven’t felt the physical symptoms, but you are a chronic worry-wart and you allow excessive anxious thoughts to pervade your daily thinking.
Rest assured, loves - Jesus is our true strength.
Here are a few ways in which I try to battle feelings of worry and panic:
ONE: Stop. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath.
Deep-breathing doesn’t often always do the trick, but taking long, slow breaths through the nose and out of the mouth is proven to have a calming effect on the body. I try this when I feel a slow building of anxious feelings coming on, and it often staves away other symptoms.
TWO: Focus your thoughts on something TRUE and comforting.
Panicky feelings are a lie. A big fat LIE. There is no rational reason for a body to respond the way it does during a panic attack. Therefore, what must we do? Send that lie flying by reminding ourselves of something TRUE. What is more true and comforting than the love of our Savior? It can be difficult to focus on something specific when one’s head is racing – yet repeating a mantra over in your head such as “Jesus is with me” or “Jesus loves me” can help to send stressful thoughts into oblivion.
By Kristen Leigh Evensen
I was flabbergasted and altogether a little shook up, as I progressed through the book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, about four years ago. Flabbergasted, because of my amazement that couples existed who waited to kiss until their wedding day. Shook up, because, if God commanded this, then I had already blown my chance over a high school romance...
Even still...something was not sitting right with me about this premise. So I went to my pastor.
We sat in his office and talked for a solid hour about the purpose of this book and the thoughts it advocated on dating. I still have the email he wrote to me, finishing up our conversation. He said:
"I also think we need to be wise about our dating approach. To go out to dinner and a movie with a "date" is one thing. To go for a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods is putting oneself in a situation where one is more removed from helpful boundaries..."
Helpful boundaries -let's talk about them. Because, quite frankly, the Bible does not give us a clear-cut, set-apart chapter called "God's Way to Date". In the Old Testament, we see Isaac pursuing Rebekah as a response to a specific prayer...but we also see Ruth laying herself at the feet of Boaz's bed!
So how do we handle boundaries in dating? First, I think we should diagnose a problem that tends to run rampant with the mention of "boundaries":
THE PROBLEM: When we do not relate helpful boundaries to the truth of the gospel, they manifest themselves as legalistic "rules"...and drudging rules are bound to be broken.
In other words, there must be a deeper point than simply "being moral people" during dating. Without a purpose, a foundation to rest upon, our "moral efforts" will be aimless and easily compromised. For example, it is motivating to run a race when you know there is a finish line; it is not motivating to run forever, to no end. I know I'd get tired real fast and find myself taking a long, lazy breather on the sidelines. Why not, if there's no point to the race?
But, see, there is a point to boundaries.
The point is the glory of God!
“16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image”.-2 Corinthians 3
God knows what is best for us. He knows what will transform us into His image. He knows what will sanctify us to look like Christ. And when we look like Jesus, God gets the glory.
THE SOLUTION: The gospel of Christ means that even dating can be a response to what Jesus has done for us on the cross. Our identity in Christ frees us from "motivation-sucking" boundaries to boundaries as glorifying to God! Put simply, as Dr. Henry Cloud says, "Boundaries keep good things in, and bad things out."
So what does Gospel-responsive dating look like? First, let me throw out a disclaimer: I do not fully know the answer. I am not married. I am not engaged. But I am in daily prayer about this. Because I want to date as a response to what Christ has done for me! In all my praying and processing and reading and experiencing, I believe the following holds true.
Gospel-responsive dating involves:
HOLINESS / HONOR / HUMILITY
For more about holiness, honor and humility in dating, read the whole post at The Identity Project. The rest of the dating and marriage series, “As Christ Loved Us”, is also on the blog.
May that, which is most helpful and beneficial for building others up and bringing God glory be our desire in dating as we respond to the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, You created everything and deemed it good. You made relationships for a purpose, and we want all our relationships to glorify You. Teach us your character, and transform our hearts to be like Jesus. Walk with us as we navigate dating, and grant us godly wisdom.
By Julie Gernand
No, it’s not what you may be thinking.
It may be cliché, but today’s topic surrounds one word with four little letters: L.O.V.E. LOVE:
Giving to others what they need the most
when they deserve it the least
at a great personal cost
. Did you get that?
Re-read that definition above.
Cool. Stuff. Indeed.
No, I cannot take credit for such a wonderful explanation of love. While in the car on my way to work last week, I was listening to 90.1 FM Moody Bible Radio. (Great station. Give it a listen.) Anywho, radio host Chris Fabry was interviewing a man named Chip Ingram, a pastor, author, and teacher from California. His words and ideas were too good not to go un-shared.
Chip’s most recent book is entitled Spiritual Simplicity: Doing Less, Loving More
. His goal is to help others find and share the joy of Christ by loving like Christ, and slowing our lives down enough to do so. He wants for us to respond to the faults and needs of others in a Godly manner instead of consistently seeking our own desires and living solely for our own well-being. Think about it: How often do you think about yourself?
About what you want? About what makes you most comfortable, and will make you the most happy and satisfied? A hypothetical example:
Dan’s wife was recently ill with the flu. Sick as a dog. It had been a long weekend with a booked schedule, and Dan got home from work late Sunday evening. He was so tired and just wanted to settle down, have a late dinner, and go to sleep – but his wife needed cough medicine. Earlier that day, he been having disagreements with his wife over the phone about their bill payments, and Dan did not feel like getting something for someone who had just been unkind to him. However, despite not wanting
to go out and make another trip into town, Dan went and bought his wife what she needed.
This, on a seemingly small level, is what it means loving another person by giving them what they need most, when they deserve it the least, at a great personal cost.
Think of an example from your own life. Right now.
I can think of so many instances when I did not
choose the loving road. How often do we ignore what others need because we feel they don’t deserve something? How often do we hold grudges against co-workers and withhold kindness? How many times have we gotten so mad at a family member that we refuse to call them on their birthday, or "forget" to invite them to our home for the holidays?
Chip Ingram tells us, "In contrast, godly love responds to failure with truth and grace, not with fascination and satisfaction.
In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul addresses a church that is struggling with similar failures. He writes, "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Cor 13:6-7)
[Chip Ingram’s blog post, "Responding in Love", at www.livingontheedge.org
, 4 Jan 2013]
I know one true example of trusting, persevering, unexplainable love. And it came for you and for me on the cross.
Do you think Jesus WANTED to go to the cross and die a horrific death to save our pathetic mankind? Think again!! And yet, he was willing! On the night before the crucifixion, Jesus sat in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed to the Lord to take this circumstance away from him if he could; that there would be some way to avoid what was to occur. He prayed so fervently that his sweat turned to drops of blood. Yes, our Lord Jesus wept that night. Yet, Jesus told his Father that he was willing to do what was asked and required of him. He would perform this act of love for us - the truly undeserving. All because of this unquestioning, all-consuming, unending love that flows through the Holy Trinity and into our lives. Yes, but how do we know that Jesus wants US to love like THAT?!?
Because the Bible tells me so in John 13: 34-35 – "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." – Jesus I believe he most important words in that verse are ‘as I have loved you’.
That’s an intense command.
You mean, WE are supposed to love someone else so much that we’d be willing to DIE for our neighbor?
Why, yes indeed.
What’s that you say? That sounds really hard?
I know, friend. I know. In fact, it’s darn near impossible
for most of us. Probably the hardest thing we will EVER be asked to do: to give out of love for someone else, even when it means doing something we do not FEEL like doing at the time!
Take a deep breath…….
Know that you are loved by our Lord SO MUCH that it is impossible to fathom…..
And the next time you feel like responding to someone out of a selfish desire, choose love.
Oh, how much different our world would be if we all did so…… Even the smallest act of love brings a smile to our Lord’s face. What one (or more) act(s) of love can you do for someone today? For more information on what else Moody Bible Radio and Chip Ingram’s ministry Living on the Edge have to offer, check out the sweet links below: Moody Bible Radio: http://www.moodyradio.org/chrisfabrylive/ Chip Ingram’s Living on the Edge: http://livingontheedge.org/
By Kristen Leigh Evensen
Does your mind ever feel full of jumbled puzzle pieces, just waiting to be put together?
I don't know about you, but there are seasons of life when I feel plain distracted. Just this morning, I was spending some time in quiet with the Lord--yet, there was hardly any quiet to find! And I am not talking about my home here; I am talking plainly about my own mind. I sat down in a still, room to share time with God, and before I knew it, my mind was off to the races. "What's my time schedule for this morning?" "I forgot to make a note about that at work..." "I wonder why my thoughts stray so easily."
There you have it. My mind. A jumbled field of puzzle pieces just waiting to be put together. Distracted. Influenced by the things of the world. When all I want is for the heaven to fill my thoughts
, and to have an intimate encounter with my Father.
How frustrating distractions can be! Read about Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14,
and you will immediately respond, "Yes, I know
that feeling." We read that Jesus comes to His disciples by walking on the water, through a storm: 28 Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water." 29 "Yes, come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?"
Notice that Peter takes his eyes off Jesus. As soon as he does, "he was terrified and began to sink". As I read this account, I couldn't help but wonder if I often feel so distracted because, ultimately, I am taking my eyes off Jesus.
Please don't get me wrong--we must go about our days, glorifying God in all the work, tasks and matters in which we partake. But when, during these busy days, our minds become distracted and tuned into the things of the world over
the things of heaven--that is when the sinking begins.
The overwhelmed feelings. The crazed mindset. The wandering thoughts. So much so that "quiet time with Jesus" is no longer quiet--all because distraction has taken its toll.
I wonder how and why distraction tends to have its way in our lives. I think Jesus gives us an answer in verse 31: "You have so little faith...Why did you doubt Me?"
We are only human, and our earthly lives do come with responsibilities. But just as Peter completely removed His gaze from Jesus during a tumultuous storm, so we easily lose sight of heavenly thoughts during the day-to-day.
Colossians 3:2 says, "Let heaven fill your thoughts."
Oh, how I long for that! For heaven to completely take over our minds, ruling over distractions and refocusing us on eternity, and the One who really matters.
What a leap of faith, to trust God as we look to Him, rather than the things of the world that tempt us to be distracted and unfocused. What a leap of faith, as we choose to trust Jesus, rather than our own abilities to get everything done perfectly. Let us fill our thoughts with heaven! Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, as we walk through our days. Let us trust Him for every little thing, because He is good, faithful and true. Jesus, how we long for the things of heaven to fill our thoughts today. We admit that we are too easily distracted by the world, that our minds wander, and that we shirk our time with You. But we need your help, Lord! Bear in us the fruit of self-control, that we would choose to stay our eyes on You. Teach us what is most important. Increase our faith, and lead us to You. You come to us, Your wonderful presence, and we want only to say "Yes!" and meet with You. You are magnificent, true, holy and faithful. Amen.
By Julie Gernand
Read the first chapter of the book of Isaiah.
Right now. It won’t even take a full 5 minutes. A bit of background for you:
The book of Isaiah is a collection of the prophecies of a man named Isaiah, and the book records his visions over the span of many years. It is more of an “anthology” book than one with a linear story line.
In this first chapter, Isaiah captures prophesy that did indeed come true for the people of the nation of Israel.What were you like as a teenager?
Did you obey your parents? Did you realize all they had done for you and, in turn, believe that they had your best interests in mind? Or did you do the stark opposite?These people of Israel were like seriously troubled, antsy teenagers who ignored their parents’ wishes
. God says to them: Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.
(verse 4)You see, the reason the Lord was so utterly ticked off was because of the special relationship God had with the people of Israel.
They were His chosen ones, the people who had been led to Canaan (a super-amazing land of plenty) to live an abundant life in this new haven.However, they epically failed.The people whom God wanted to bring Him glory turned into a people of evil.
Corruption, thievery, and rebellion became the norm. God’s people performed “religious rituals”, but they became meaningless: 13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations-- I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
(verses 13-14)Have you ever heard that song by Matthew West, “The Motions”?
The chorus goes like this:
I don’t wanna go through the motions/I don’t wanna go one more day/ Without your all-consuming passion inside of me
I think the people of Israel could have benefited from listening to that song. Despite “going through the motions” of giving burnt offerings, lighting incense, and holding feast days, the people of Israel were empty. Their actions were void of any true desire or honor for God, and their daily actions further demonstrated their loss of regard for their Heavenly Father.The close, intimate, loving relationship these people had with their Creator had been torn apart.
Sound familiar?We are the people of Israel. We are the broken, shattered ones who have forgotten Him.
After all, we are sinful by nature. And only God can heal that sinfulness.Perhaps we need to take a lesson from the Israelites and look at our relationship status.
And no, I’m not talking about Facebook. What is YOUR relationship status with God?
Are you in a season of mindless motions with no meaning? Have you forgotten all that the Lord promises to those who trust in Him and follow His ways?
For me, I think the most powerful part of Isaiah chapter one is the demonstration of the character of God. Yes, God’s wrath is powerful, and He is a God of justice. Yet at the same time, Isaiah shows us that He is just as much a God of love:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
(verse 18)How amazing is our God?
Despite our ugly, disgusting, pitiful behavior, God is still willing to take our sins and erase them - to take our red stings and make them pure white. White as snow.
Jesus took that sting on the cross. In our place. And we can restore our broken relationships with our Almighty.All it takes is giving your life to the God that is equal parts justice and love. Let us restore our relationship status!Heavenly Father, Forgive me for my foolishness. All too often I forget Your love, and I live solely for my own pleasure. I forget to exalt You as my Savior. I fail to remember that You are the one, true Love of my life. Help me to remember today and every day that You have my best intentions in mind, and to serve you with a passion that not even the Devil can quench. A passion that will show others the way to You. I love You, and I seek to be more like you each day.Amen.What is your relationship status with the Father right now? How does this inform your identity?
Why is it that we tend to avoid the very questions that could save us later on in life? You know what I'm talking about: those "deep" questions that make us uncomfortable inside, because answering them means looking extensively into our motivations, our pasts, or our weaknesses. But what if we reframed this?
What if, when asked a "deep" question about ourselves (the state of our hearts, minds, and spirits) we focused on the benefits? What if this was an opportunity to become aware of ourselves in a new light, to hone in on our strengths, and prepare for the future? T
he future will
happen, no doubt about it. And when forced to make certain life-altering decisions, when tested, it is best to know oneself inside and out. Why ask the hard questions? I believe that asking and digging is obedience to the Bible
. Let's look at what James and Proverbs have to say: "Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" (James 1:2-4).Asking the hard questions encourages a strong foundation and enables an aware mind.
When difficult, pressing, or life-altering times arise, your very character will be tested – and you will want to know if your character is built on a solid foundation, or if it is weak and breakable! What are the benefits to asking the hard questions?
Proverbs 2 gives us clarity:
Understanding what it means to fear the Lord (v. 5)
Common sense and protection (v. 7-8)
Discovering the right way to go (v. 9)
Wisdom, knowledge and joy (v. 10)
An eternal inheritance (v. 21)Are you prepared to ask some hard questions? To assess your strengths and weaknesse? To assert your deepest values and discern your spiritual gifts? "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding
(v. 7). We begin with the Lord! Sitting at His feet, asking for revelation, and worshiping Him as the only True One. He knows us inside and out.
When we actively seek out truth, asking the hard questions both about God and about ourselves, we gain the most treasured reward: knowing God more intimately. When we recognize that we are His beloved children, knowing God intimately spills over into an awareness of our own identities. The most important point: asking and seeking must start with God.
When we seek God's face and His truth, He blesses us with wisdom, knowledge and insight to navigate the roads of life. So, ask the hard questions:
What has God made me passionate about?
What do I most value in my life?
In what areas is God challenging me to change?
Which choice will most glorify Him?
What is keeping me from pursuing God more fully?
What doubts do I have, about myself and about God? Who am I, and why am I here?Heavenly, All-Knowing Father, We confess that we look not to You for understanding, but to the world around us. But only in You can we find true understanding! We seek Your face for guidance, knowledge and a deep security that only You can offer. May our understanding be for Your sake, that the world will see that we are Your disciples. Clarify the areas of our lives in which we are not following after You. Reveal the gifts You have given. Convict us of the Spirit's work. Show us what You value most. And may we love You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength! Amen. What holds you back from self-assessing? What is God prompting you to pray about today?
I heard an awesome sermon this past Sunday!
Every so often Dr. Lon Allison preaches at our church. Lon is the Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, and he is just an awesome man whose joy in the Lord is SO evident every time he teaches. This past Sunday he taught from Colossians 2: 2-4, ESV version:
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
The apostle Paul wrote the book of Colossians, probably in the early 60s A.D. (and the book’s truth still endures today! God is so smart….).
Paul was writing to the people of Colossae. They were in need of Godly encouragement after false teachings had infiltrated their church. Paul sent this letter to remind the Colossians of the superiority of Jesus over everything else. And because God is superior over everything else, he deserves to hear from us in prayer.
Let's re-read verse 2: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
So often I find myself going through my days without speaking to or listening to God. I just “forget”, and allow my mind to become so busy that I tell myself I do not have time to spend praying.
The scriptures tell us to continue – 1) steadfastly in prayer.
Steadfastly = pursuing diligently/with perseverance/not giving up!
Why be steadfast? Why not say one prayer that will "cover" you for the whole week? Or whole year?
Dr. Lon reminded us this Sunday that constant prayer moves the hand of God. God listens to us and loves us, and He wants to bless His children. Our prayers may not always be answered the way we want them to be, but God listens and MOVES when His children pray to Him.
Steadfast prayer is also what we need. In order to develop a relationship with our Heavenly Father, we need to talk to Him! Would you talk to your best friend in January, ignore them until August, and expect to be in the same place with your relationship? Of course not! In order to gain an understanding of who God is, we need to speak to Him as OFTEN as we can!
Colossians also tells us to be – 2) watchful in prayer.
Do you write down your prayers? Do you keep a journal? What about a list of what you are praying for?
I tell you, it is an amazing thing to look back on your prayer notes and see what God has done since they were first prayed. Being watchful means to be aware of God’s moving. It means to follow up on the prayer requests of friends and relatives and see what has happened in their lives. As you continue steadfastly in your prayer life, watch for God’s responses. All too often we forget to follow through and praise God for what he does!
Which brings me to the last point Paul makes here about prayer – 3) giving thanks.
I am so good at giving God a laundry list of my problems and needs. So good at it that I frequently forget to give Him praise for who He is. Just being our Creator means that he deserves our endless praise and thanksgiving! Our selfishness leads us to pray for our desires only – which God will listen to with joy – yet, he deserves so much more than our complaints and quibbles. He is the Almighty, and we need to remember to PRAISE HIM for BEING OUR SAVIOR!
So, I challenge you today to be steadfastly devoted to watchful prayers, and never forget to give thanks.
I love Christian music, and I leave you today with one of my favorite worship songs that lead me to break out into prayers of thanksgiving! Listen and be blessed today.
Lord, All too often I forget to talk to you. I forget that you desire to hear from me just as much as I need and desire to talk to you. We praise you Lord for who you are. You are indescribable! Help me to stay steadfast in prayer, and to be watchful for the ways that you move in our lives each and every day.
"Imagine if you suddenly learned that the people, the places, the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead, but worse, had never been. What kind of hell would that be?"
I watched A Beautiful Mind for the first time this past weekend. The screen went black, the credits rolled, and my jaw stayed dropped to the floor for a solid moment as I absorbed the complexity of the film. Most striking of all, though, was the spiritual metaphor that transpired out of the protagonist's struggle with schizophrenia.
It parallels our struggle with sin.
(Spoiler alert!) The story follows John Nash, an incredible genius of a man who, during grad school, develops severe schizophrenia. We, the viewers, figure this out halfway through the film. And we mourn for John. We mourn for his wife. We mourn for their darling child--as John attempts to battle the mental disease. He spends time in the mental ward getting shock therapy, and he takes medication that saps away his life.
John and his wife eventually rethink the therapy and medication. She encourages him that he must look within the heart – the will – to get past his deep struggle.If he sets his mind – his strongest asset – to realizing who is real and who is imagined, then maybe – just maybe – John can begin living again in reality.
At the end of the film, we see John as a seventy-some year old man, teaching college courses and accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.
We also see his imagined friends lingering ominously in the background. So does he,
When asked if he continually saw imaginary people, John replies: "I still see things that are not here. I just choose not to acknowledge them. Like a diet of the mind, I just choose not to indulge certain appetites; like my appetite for patterns; perhaps my appetite to imagine and to dream."
Just as John set his mind to ignoring his "friends", so we set our minds against the power of sin over our lives.
"Our sin nature takes a backseat to our new nature in Christ."
Like John, we all struggle with our respective sins--the very habits, thought patterns, and words that we cannot seem to kick to the curb.
So frustrating, isn't it? What is with this ever-present tension? We are a new creation in Christ Jesus, and yet our sins linger and tempt us and threaten us.
The fact of the matter is that our sin is like John's imaginary friends: hanging out, waiting to be acknowledged and acted upon in a moment of weakness. This is the tension: That although we are a new creation, freed from the power of sin, we still live imperfect lives in a fallen world.
Paul writes of this ever-present struggle with our sin nature (Romans 7):
"21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?"
"There is another power within us that is at war with our minds, making us slaves to sin."
This is why such tension exists between what we want to do, and what we know God wants us to do! Our sin lingers on the sidelines, hoping we will grant it attention and give it some semblance of reign in our lives. If you feel this tension in your day to day, you are not alone!
Even Paul was with you in this battle against the flesh ("What a miserable person I am!")
. And every one of your brothers and sisters experiences the battle, too. Why does this tension exist?
If we are a new creation in Christ Jesus, then why do our sins still creep on us and tempt us to act? Think of our heavenly nature this way: It is now, but not yet.
When we accept Jesus as the only One who can reconcile us with God through His selfless death, we are gifted all the joys of heavenly inheritance! But, the fact of the matter is that we still live in a fallen world, with imperfect bodies and minds. Our victory--our true identity--is now, but not yet.
Paul has more to say, however, in answer to his question "Who will free me?" 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin." In Jesus Christ and His power to overcome death, you have been gifted complete victory over your sin nature!
Although still present in this life, sin is not the end. It holds no triumph over you! So then, what should we say to our sin, according to the Bible?
How do we stand against the threat of sin, looming in the background of our days? Jump on over to The Identity Project
to read about what Paul says is the truth about our sin...