I’m hoping these words will land coherently because right now there are so many different ideas and thoughts zinging through my head I can barely catch a glimpse of one before it speeds off and 8 more come zipping by. I’ve been reading from a lot of scattered places in my Bible this morning as I finish off a few weeks of studying the book of Ephesians. Just about every one of these scattered places took me to fabulous places of remembering promises God has made that can change all of life if we just believe them, confirming truth that I’ve experienced as reality in my own life recently, or drawing me further into obedience to my Father.Romans chapter 6 from The Message left me astounded, mostly I think because it says just exactly what I’ve been experiencing this last year and a half. It makes me wonder that I missed it for so many years (this isn’t the first time I’ve read these words…). Yet now that I’m on this side of freedom I see the key that I completely overlooked. You will be blessed by reading the whole chapter, and you’re more likely to find life in God’s word than in mine; but for the sake of space I’ll jump right to the blessings I noticed today.
- "We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us."
This brings a new reality for us – hope, life and freedom arrive as we believe that God is not just concerned for us, but is “in our court,” coming to where we are, loving us.
- "That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God."
One of the most behavior-changing truths for me has been to realize that sin ultimately always leads to death. That’s why God is so against sin. That’s why He so vehemently calls us to turn our backs on anything connected to sin. He is the Author of Life and not only created us, He redeemed us so that we could experience life. To believe that sin can’t tell me how to live anymore has been completely liberating. When I hear the words, “The future is so uncertain; you should be fearful… You’ve messed up too many times; you may as well give up… Just lie; it will be easier…” I can choose to remember God’s truth and then any power sin did have over me is exposed as a sham, as nothing, and I can walk on in freedom and life!
- "But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!"
Let Him be your Master in the truest sense of the word and I guarantee you’ll be astonished at the life-infused effects. Paul experienced this too:
- "But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!"
So I asked myself: how did I miss all of this for so many years? Did I just dismiss it as unattainable or as possible for others but not for me? I can tell you honestly “a whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way” was completely foreign to my experience. I was existing. I was just hoping to get through.The key that unlocked all those chains and shackles that held me captive was very simply - choosing to believe God:
- believe He loved me.
- believe sin had no power over me.
- believe that He alone is God – and He is good.
- believe that He is fully reliable and completely trustworthy.
- believe He will bring beauty from my ashes.
This isn’t positive thinking – this is faith. This is looking at all the facts as best I know, and then choosing to put all my ‘eggs’ in His basket. I have not only been kept safe, but I have had fun and experienced life like I never imagined.
I’ll attempt to catch another of my zipping thoughts for the next post.Simply Susan