Look, lately, the biggest bugaboo I seem to be thinking about. is how we so love to complicate our faith. Frankly, I don’t believe that becoming Christ-like is a long and painful process. I don’t know where I heard it the first time, but someone recently reiterated what I have quoted many times:
“The problem with much of the body of Christ is that they are asleep and have no clue as to who they are in Christ Jesus! We ARE Christ-Like and the more we identify with the new creature that we are in Christ Jesus the more we will walk in it!”
Christians speak of Yeshua/Jesus, our Savior, as being God Incarnate, or more descriptively, “Invested with the bodily nature and form of Yehoveh–God Himself.” I like that. That is the way I heard it once described from a Messianic Jewish friend of mine. As believers, we recognize that fact. It is part of our Creeds: “being of one substance with the Father.”
But will it shock you to know that you possess the Zoe, the very life, and nature of God, Himself? Well, that happened the moment you declared your allegiance to Jesus. You, in all of your sinful reality, began infused, regenerated, reborn and recreated into the very likeness of Yehoveh, the God of our creation!
What we sometimes miss is that our minds must be renewed to who the Word says we are. It is the WORD that defines who we are. If we keep the Word before us, meditate on it, fully consider it, and look at it as we do each morning in a mirror, We will see ourselves as our God sees us and begin to act accordingly! You can’t help but be changed. It is not about striving to become! It is about receiving and understanding who we are through Jesus!
Oh man, believers struggle with this all the time because we still battle with our physical realities, and have not learned to follow the guidance of our spirits.
I learned this back in 1983. Now this is a story I have told many, many times before, but I feel the Lord wants me to share it once again. You see, back then I was a smoker and struggled to quit. Now here is the odd thing about it. I could go for hours without a cigarette. Like when I was working or in a meeting, but if I made the decision to quite; actually made a declaration, “I quit . . .”, I couldn’t go 15 minutes! I was enslaved to those cigarettes!
When Pastor a group of college students, which we called, “The Company of the Committed,” (I was inspired by Elton Trueblood’s book of the same name). But during one of our meetings, the Lord told me to demonstrate for the students, how to pray . . . so I began to pray . . . and without fully realizing it, I began to renounce the cigarettes and their hold over me.
I did not mean to. It wasn’t my intention. but I suddenly realized what I was praying and thought, “Oh, no . . . now what?” Here I was demonstrating how to pray, how to find deliverance, and I had no idea what I was doing!
However, something astounding happened. Immediately after praying, I felt a freedom I had never felt before . . . it was something new, a release from the bondage. I cannot fully explain it or even describe it, but something strange happened to me. So, I threw my cigarettes away and everyone cheered and rejoiced with me.
Well, the next morning, immediately after waking up, I went down to the gas station and bought another pack of cigarettes! Suddenly, in my spirit, I was reminded of the night before, so I threw the pack away. Well, later in the day, I did the exact same thing, but that time, I actually opened the pack . . . then said, “Egad! I am no longer a slave to these!” and threw them away. The next day I did the same thing but my actions progressed . . . the previous day I immediately threw them out, but this time, I opened the pack; and the next day I actually took a cigarette out . . . Oh no!
I finally realized that for the first time since in over 16 years, I was no longer a “spiritual” slave to the cigarettes, but I still had to battle my flesh. Oh, my! For all those years I had been in bondage to those cigarettes and never knew. That Wednesday night the chains that enslaved be to that habit were broken and I went free! NOW it became a battle of my flesh.
The next morning, it was still struggling with the desires but I had a new strength and resolved I never had before. Don’t misunderstand me, it wasn’t easy. I still had to wrestle with my desires, in fact, at one point my wife sat on my chest telling me, “You are no longer a slave to those things! You are the master and not the desires of your flesh. Your Lord has freed you from those cigarettes.” Then she made me say it. So I feebly mumbled, “I’m free . . .”
While still sitting on my chest, “No, say it! I am free. I am the victor!”
She kept that up until I was shouting, “I am free! I am not a slave to those cigarettes!” [To this day she pats herself on her back for doing that].
I did not purchase any more packs of cigarettes. I continued to wrestle with my cravings . . . but the next day: Sunday morning, July 4, 1983, came!
I was taking a shower and deep down in my spirit I suddenly knew I was FREE! I knew right then, I would never smoke again for the rest of my life! The reality of that revelation was so real I began to dance in my shower and singing Praises to my Lord! As I said, that was the 4th of July (literally) of 1983!
The point of this story was to share what I learned during all that. I want to help you break free from habits like that. For me, it was cigarettes, but for you, it may be lemon pies or candy bars or alcohol, or whatever it is that is enslaving you.
Father, Your Word tells us that we are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, and I choose to allow your Word to live in me and to set me free. Your Son, my Lord and Savior, has redeemed me from the curse of the law, having become a curse on my behalf. Your Word declares that Jesus bore my sins and weaknesses in His own body on the tree, and that I align myself with Him. I have died to sins so that I can live for righteousness. I acknowledge that I have been healed by stripes He bore on my behalf.
Your messenger Isaiah declared that Yeshua was wounded for my many transgressions, and that He was bruised for my guilt and iniquities; the chastisement that was needful to obtain peace and well-being with You was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him I am healed and made whole.
My liberty and freedom from (name your weakness) is now mine. You have sent Your word and healed me, and delivered me from everything that destroys my body and my peace with you.
I will no longer be wise in my own eyes. I will honor You Lord and depart from evil. For this will be health to my flesh, and strength to my bones.
The Lord is telling you:
“I am the Lord who heals you, who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases and whatever imprisons you . . . serve the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. My words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
From this day forward, your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
This morning, I am encouraging you to “go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you!” (Matthew 8:13)
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.