How Dead Are Ya…?

Galatians 2:20 (Amplified Bible)

20 I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

It’s interesting to me the way that we are often attacked by the same repetitive strategies of the devil. I mean, it’s a rare occasion that something comes against us that we have never had to deal with before isn’t it? In actuality, it seems like the same battle OVER AND OVER again with different circumstances. We all have had “our fleshly vices”.

Over the years my flesh has become more and more subjected to my spirit and what I know to be right, as I have seemingly grown and matured. Still, occasionally, I have had a “flesh out” moment, particularly when I am not expecting an attack and get blindsided by some catalyst that provokes an area of previous weakness…

Most of us spend a lifetime of cultivating, nurturing, protecting and even hiding our predispositions to sin and then at some point we find the conviction of the Holy Spirit prodding us to make a change and take steps in the direction of God’s leading as it pertains to our lives… For me, that “decision” to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and do what I know is right has also been a sure fire opportunity for opposition from the enemy.

Territory is usually not gained without a fight, so the opposition is not an unnecessary battle, and at least in my experience, any time I have determined that I was going to do things “God’s way” or make a change that would contradict my previously unbridled fleshly response, It’s been like volunteering for a round with the gladiators in the coliseum… It hasn’t ever come without some blood, sweat and tears… but the victory is ALWAYS worth it!

Although I believe the scripture above from Galations 2:20 is truth, I also believe that there is a responsibility on our part to guard our hearts and be EXTREMELY cautious about operating in areas of previous weaknesses. I heard a question posed once that asked, “Why would you take a detour in the neighborhood of your previous weakness?”

The point that we have “victory in Christ” and that we have “overcome” in Him does not negate the fact that we are still human beings in bodies of flesh whose nature has been redeemed but is still capable of temptation if we are not at the very least wise concerning the areas of previous difficulty.

I know that the argument can be made while citing the above scripture that it is our “old nature” and we are a new creation in Christ, I don’t argue that, as I can say I have seen some people who experienced an amazing and complete metamorphosis of their nature when they became a Christian, still, I have seen hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of occasions where people with good intentions and Godly desires have fallen HARD in areas where they previously assumed that they were unmovable. So I reiterate that it is an arguable point that wisdom is the KEY as it pertains to how we navigate our lives.

Now, I will be a bit transparent to drive this point home… Over the years, two areas in my own life that have been territories that were difficult for me to take dominion over and keep under control were, Pride and Self Control (particularly in the arena of anger/rage). I could site so many unnecessary examples, but just understand that over the years I have had to really discipline myself and seek Gods direction on how to not lose control in the arena of my temper.

In my case, I believe that one weakness actually fed off of the other as the Pride in my “size” and “ability to physically control a situation” was perhaps a catalyst in me submitting to the rage when I would become angry… Not to mention, many times the “rage” has been triggered by occasions when my “pride” was hurt… I’m glad to say that these occurrences seem to be less and less and I have continued to “grow up” and mature through the years…but I would be naïve to assume that I will never have to exercise dominion over this area again just because I am a Christian…Which leads me to my example:

A couple of years ago, Lisa and I moved into a new home. Our first purchase was a plaque that we saw in the bible bookstore which we hung on the wall above the doorway leading from our dining room to our living room. The plaque read, “Christ is the Head of this Home, the Unseen Guest at every Meal, the Silent Listener to Every Conversation”.

It sounds nice doesn’t it? Of course as Christians this is how things “should be” as we are, according to Galations 2:20 “Crucified with Christ” and “Christ lives within us”. So naturally, when we read the plaque, we were moved emotionally and wanted to have that daily declaration and reiteration posted for us to see in the most trafficked area of our home.

Well, for reasons I have long since forgotten, on this particular day, I took back the reigns from Jesus… He was NOT the head of my home on that day… It was “I who lived” and NOT the nature of Christ within me…I got stupid angry about something, lost my temper, stepped back into my previously “flesh driven” nature, threw a fit of rage, drew my leg back and kicked one of Rocky’s heavy toys (fracturing a bone in the top of my foot) while standing directly under my beautiful little wooden plaque that declared, Christ was the head of my home, which then proceeded to fall off of the wall and crack me right in the top of my head… (Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor- but I wasn’t laughing…) Emotions went something like this when it bonked my head, Anger/more Anger/Conviction/Regret…I knew instantly I had screwed up as my foot began to swell and I could feel the cracked bone in my foot… I had done so well for so long… and I just fell of the wagon hard enough for God to club me in the head with a lump of wood…HA!

Now, here’s the point… I can’t tell you how many people who have messed up and have come to me feeling condemned because they made a mistake and assume that because I am a pastor or evangelist or whatever that somehow I’m beyond being “touched” by difficulties and are even shocked when I share that I am no different than they are and have had to deal with the same issues…

The truth is, if you are seeking the direction of God in your life and desiring to do what is right, you can almost be guaranteed that, at some point, there is some opposition that the devil will send your way to try to distract you from the goal that is set before you. How you handle that “test” may greenlight your progress or possibly hold you back for a minute…

When the bible says that God works all things together for our good, I believe that this is EXACTLY what is being talked about…

You don’t see the what’s in the fruit until it’s squeezed…The squeeze will show you what’s in your heart and whether or not something in you needs address and to be overcome. If something comes out in the squeeze, all it lets us know is that “we are not dead enough” from a Galations 2:20 perspective…If we are willing to learn from our circumstances, then going through them will not be in vain. It’s simply a learning opportunity and the Holy Spirit WILL teach us if we will submit to His instruction EVEN IN THE MIDST OF A PERCEIVED FAILURE!

I’m not pretending to say or imply that I have “made it” per se’ and I know that if I am not diligent or cautious, I could again fall into an area of relapse … but I do believe that, since this time, I have grown…

Case in point, a few months back, I had another occurrence that, in the past would have and HAS triggered the “rage” behavior… When this event transpired I was actually amazed to notice my response, I took a deep breath, evaluated the situation, and felt “Peace” right in the middle of what previously would have been the catalyst to respond physically…

As I drove my car away, I saw the red ink stamp in the upper right hand corner of the white paper of my life that said, “PASSED”…

The truth of the matter is, all of us are in a different place as it pertains to growth and maturity, and ALL OF US are capable of moving forward! As we learn to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and feed our spirit man we find that remissions into “former” behaviors become fewer and fewer…but it’s not usually an overnight transformation…We do have to continue to seek God in our lives…

I believe that there is a place where those behaviors become completely subjected to the Spirit of God in our lives as we learn to walk closer and more intimately with Him… but we are ALL in a growing process and anyone who believes that they have “made it” is deceived as there is ALWAYS room for growth.

With that said, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve fallen down…You’ve got two choices when you drop the ball, Give Up or GET UP! But know this, you are ABSOLUTELY capable of victory when the God who is GREATER than your circumstances is given control in your life! With Him, ALL THINGS are possible! And regardless of how bad or how many times you’ve screwed up, HE LOVES YOU and wants to see you succeed and be everything that He has created you to be! He created you with DESTINY! You are the only one in this world capable of being who He created you to be!

Today is a new day! The bible says that His mercies are new EVERY morning… I looked outside today and the sun rose in the east…CLEAN SLATE… New Beginnings…Embrace them…

If you can dig it, say “WORD!!!”

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