Daily Discipline #115
By Colleen Donahue
We have been talking about Jesus and the reason that He came to earth. We saw in study #112 that Jesus came "to be with us" and to "save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1: 21, 23) The sin nature that we inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve, left us with lives separated from our Creator and often separated from one another. We were all doomed to walk independently and in loneliness with nothing but our selfish desires driving us on like an animal. But notice I said, "we were doomed".
Our Creator meant for us to live our lives in union with Him and for Him. The separation we all face was not His will for us but rather man's own choosing. "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses made us alive together with Christ." (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Christ, in coming to earth as a man and dying in our place to pay the penalty of our sin, broke the cycle of sin and death for all of us. Every man and woman has the choice to accept what Christ has done. When we accept His work on the cross, Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit, dwells within our hearts. We can live life again in fellowship with the Father - our Creator. This great miracle is called Salvation.
Salvation produces a radical change as we saw in our last study. Our old self was crucified with Christ and we now have the new nature of Christ within us living spontaneously for His Father here on earth.
But the question I started to answer in the last study was ..... "If salvation is so life changing, why are there so many miserable Christians? All of us can point our finger at someone who calls themselves a Christian and yet talks and walks quite unlike Jesus Christ who is now living His life through them. This has confused and baffled non-Christians and Christians alike, who are surprised that they have sinned again and wonder why and how it could be. If you haven't been through the last study I suggest you start there and then continue with this study......
If Salvation Is So Life Changing, Why Are There So Many Miserable Christians?-Part 2
WHY DO I STILL SIN?
Day 1- Our life in Christ is meant to be a glorious, daily experience. It is to show on our faces.
John 17: 21-23
Day 2- The way to a glorious life is to live as Jesus lived, which was in constant awareness that He was One with His Father.
John 10: 30, 38 / John 14:10 / John 17:11, 22
Day 3- Isaiah gives us a good picture of the inner life of the Spirit.
Isaiah 41: 17-18 / Isaiah 44:3-4
Day 4- There is no greater reality than to know union with Christ. With this union there is no hunger or thirst. We have total sufficiency.
Day 5- Unfortunately most of us TRY to make this new life work in our own power and then we fail. We try some more -- fail -- and soon plunge into discouragement and defeat. The Apostle Paul was in this cycle of self-effort and you can read his frustration.
Romans 7: 15-24
Day 6- Just as we could do nothing to save ourselves when lost in sin - so now we can do nothing to bring this inner life into fruition. Growth is a fruit of the Spirit -- not human effort.
John 15:5 / Ephesians 2:8-10
Day 7- God does not dispense to us qualities such as patience or humility so that we can practice them independently of Him. Rather, He gives us the Lord Jesus who IS patient or IS humble within us.
1 Corinthians 1:30
Day 8- Often the external evidence of our life screams at us that we have no hope of living a victorious life. But we need to see beyond sin and outer circumstances to what God says is true about us. Read again the verse in Day 7 and see that "we are the righteousness of Christ".
1 Corinthians 1:30 / Philippians 3:9
Day 9- But if we are the righteousness of Christ why do we still sin? Though we are one in Spirit with the Lord, our mortal bodies and soul (mind, will and emotions) are still subject to the outer pulls of temptation and sin.
Romans 7: 22-23
The feelings of the flesh and desires of the soul are not sin (nor is temptation) but if we choose to succumb to temptation then sin results.
We start to think we are back in the kingdom of darkness and feel we need to strive again to obey God. If we temporarily do misuse the faculties of our soul or body and commit a sin then......
Day 10- Confess the Sin. Agree with God that it is so!
1 John 1:8-9
Day 11- Recognize immediately that the blood of Jesus covers that sin completely.
Hebrews 9:14 / 1 John 1:7
Day 12- Then make that the end of the matter.
Romans 6: 12-13
Day 13- When Satan shouts at us "you're no saint!" or "you'll never be able to overcome that sin!" then..... DON'T TAKE HIS ACCUSATIONS!
Romans 8:1 / Ephesians 6:11 / James 4:7 / 1 Peter 5:8-9
Day 14- We stand tall in the knowledge of who we are in Christ.
Romans 6: 6-7, 22 / Romans 8: 14, 16 / 2 Corinthians 5:17
Day 15- Finally, we affirm that we are saints no matter what momentarily appears on the outside.
Romans 8: 9a,10
Practice agreeing with God by praying His Word back to him. This kind of praying strengthens our spirit so we can resist the devil's attacks. Let's take the verses in Day 14 & 15 as some examples. You might pray them back to God like this:
Romans 6:6-7 -- My old sin nature that does nothing but create sins was crucified with Christ so that this nature could be made powerless. I therefore have been set free from the power of my sinful nature and I no longer have to commit sins.
Romans 6:22 - I am free from the power of sin and will not be its slave. Instead, I have become God's willing slave that will lead to a life of holiness.
Romans 8:9a, 10 - I am not controlled by my old sinful nature because I have received the Spirit of Jesus who dwells within me. It's true that my physical body will someday die, but Christ's Spirit of life within me enables me to live forever with God. That's because I have been made right with Him.
Romans 8:14, 16 - I am led by God's Spirit who dwells within me. His Spirit joins with my spirit to affirm the fact that I am God's child and part of His family.
THE SPIRITUAL MAN
Day 16- The Spiritual Man or Woman has been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God's Son Jesus Christ. Jesus rules our spirit instead of Satan. This is a FACT.
Romans 7:6 / Romans 8:2 / Galatians 3:26
Day 17- The devil can never again control us from the inside. He can only attack us from without. The object of Satan's temptation is always to get us to do something in our own strength. Temptations are not designed to get us to do something particularly sinful but just to act in our own energy. As soon as we do that we have stepped back into the realm of the flesh and Satan gains the victory.
Day 18- Our victory over temptation and sin does not permit us to do anything outside of Christ. "Our victory lies in hiding in Christ and in counting in simple trust upon His Holy Spirit within us to overcome our fleshly lusts with his own new desires." (Watchman Nee- The Normal Christian Life -p.179 of Chapter 10).
Galatians 5: 16
Day 19- If we do not live in the Spirit then life becomes quite a contradiction.
"Living in the Spirit means that I trust the Holy Spirit to do in me what I cannot do myself. Each time I am faced with a new demand from the Lord, I look to Him to do in me what He requires of me. It is not a case of trying but of trusting; not of struggling but of resting in Him. If I have a hasty temper, impure thoughts, a quick tongue or a critical spirit, I should not set out with a determined effort to change myself, but instead, reckoning myself dead in Christ to these things (Romans 6:11), I should look to the Spirit of God to produce in me the needed purity or humility or meekness, confident that He will do so. This is what it means to "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you." (Taken from The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee - Chapter 10).
Exodus 14: 13a, 14a
Day 20- We come to know more of Christ as our life's sufficiency only by way of our needs. When we find our life lacking in some grace then we turn to Christ within and look to Him for the supply. We refuse to act ourselves and we look to Him to do so. Then we enter into the action that He initiates. Christ in me will be humble or patient or loving and everything else I need. The Life of God is only given to us in His Son.
1 John 5:11,12
Day 21- There is need for us to let the Lord Jesus take over our entire life. This means our physical body, our soul (mind, will and emotions), as well as our spirit. If we don't, there will be a constant tug of war. The Holy Spirit will be prompting us from within while Satan will be pulling at us from without. This is the main reason so many Christians are miserable. There can be only one Lord and master.
HOW CAN I BE DELIVERED FROM CONSTANT REPETITION AND FAILURE?
Day 22- There is a law at work in our old nature that seems to force us to do the wrong thing naturally. Paul speaks of this principle as the "law of sin".
Romans 7: 21, 23
For example, gravity is a law that exerts its power over all physical substances. When I drop my keys gravity occurs naturally and the keys start to fall. But if my hand reaches out to catch them then the keys stop falling. Gravity is still at work but a power stronger than gravity (my hand) takes over to keep them from falling.
Day 23- God delivers us from the unrelenting law of sin and death by introducing another more powerful law - "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."
This life in Christ is a more powerful law because by His power all forms of sin and death have been triumphed over. Why does this happen?
Matthew 28:18 / Ephesians 1:19-22
How did God's power through Jesus manifest itself?
Day 24- Through the person of the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus dwells in our hearts. If we let Him have His way within us then we will soon find the "law of the Spirit of Life" superseding the "law of sin and death". We will find that we are kept by God's power and not by our own insufficient strength.
Psalm 121:3-8 / 2 Timothy 4:18 / 1 Peter 1:5
Day 25- We are not delivered from sin, weakness, and failure by our will power. This only leads to an exhausting Christian life and proves we are not what we proclaim to be. Rather, we need a fresh revelation that there is a life within us that is the "Spirit of Life". If we cooperate with Him, then His power and influence will be exerted over all our affairs. We will not need to try harder or even try at all! When the Spirit of life is allowed to work within us then our lives become a spontaneous expression of the new nature which is within.
2 Corinthians 5:17 / Ephesians 4: 23-24
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT?
Day 26- It means to walk NOT work! We stop our fruitless efforts to be holy and we replace those efforts with a quiet, restful dependence on Jesus working in us by Holy Spirit. He is able to work mightily in us.
Zechariah 4:6 / Acts 1:8 / Colossians 1:29
Day 27- It means that I am no longer independent in my actions. Instead, I subject myself to Christ's Spirit within me and walk through life with Him.
Psalm 25:9 / Psalms 48:14 / Isaiah 30:21 / Isaiah 42:16 / Romans 8: 14
Day 28- Redemption is a work God had to do to bring man back to the original purpose for which he had been created. Salvation frees us to be what we were meant to be.
Romans 8:14-17, 29-30 / 2 Corinthians 6:18 / Galatians 4:7 / Philippians 2:15
The purpose of the Law is to show us how sinful we are and that we can't keep it. But trying to keep the law will never make us right with God.
Day 29- We become miserable "saved" Christians when we accept what God has done, but then try to add to it by living and working in our own strength and trying to follow man-made rules.
Romans 3:20 / Ephesians 2:8-10 / Galatians 2:16 / Galatians 3:2-5, 10
Day 30- Christ has substituted His victorious and full life for our weak and sinful life. We are no longer a people under condemnation, but rather a people raised to new life in Christ.
Isaiah 61:10 / Romans 8:1-2 / Ephesians 2:4-6 / 1 Peter 1:8
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