Archive for the ‘Challenge’ Category

How much do you really need God?  Is he something you depend on moment by moment to get you through the day?  Is he someone you seek out daily?  Do you only acknowledge God each week when you go to church and hear the pastor speak?  Or do you turn to him when life is crashing down around you and there seems to be no other options.

Living in this great country, we have been blessed over and abundantly.  We have so many “things” that rarely do we have a need for God.  We have a means of supporting ourselves and planning for retirement.  We can go to the cupboard or fridge and grab something to eat anytime we want.  We have a plethora of options when choosing what to wear for the day.  We can go anywhere we want in a variety of transportation modes and we can choose where and how we worship.  The possibilities are endless and we take part in those every single day.

Even the things we consider to be something we must have in our life – computers, laptops, cell phones, cable, dry cleaning, going out to eat, seeing a movie, getting the morning paper.  Going on that yearly trip to Hawaii or other far off destinations.  We have become used to this as a way of life; it has become the expectation for how we are to live our lives.  If we don’t have things when we want them as soon as we want them it is a problem for us.

As I reflect on those items I realize just how much of those “things” become more important than God and our dependence and reliance on God is so minimal.  We have become Gods ourselves and have no real need for God until a crisis hits.  We can take care of and meet all of our own needs.  Well at least we believe we can and through the way our culture has taken shape, it becomes reinforced daily.

Thinking back to when Jesus was on the earth and roaming around – he did not have those distractions, yet he relied heavily on God to provide and to direct and guide him.  As he spent time with the disciples, he continually demonstrated over and over how God would meet and supply their needs.    In fact in Matthew 6:25 – 34 Jesus speaks to this 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

We spend entirely too much of our time meeting our own needs and planning so we are taken care of in the future.  How much of our day is spent in communion with God.  Seeking out and asking him what he wants us to do.  Do we ask him every time we go to buy something if that is where he wants his money to be spent?  Do we seek him out when we plan our vacations and who we invite over?  Do we readily seek out his input in our lives?

In meeting our own needs, storing up and taking care of our current situation as well as our future.  Where and when do we have a need?  How can truly rely on God and be able to tell others of the great things he has done in our lives?  Maybe we need to let go of the things we hold onto so tightly.  Maybe we need to scale back and live on less and let go of the luxuries we have in our lives.  Maybe it is time to really allow God to provide for our daily needs.

Right now I am in the midst of doing this very thing.  I am evaluating all areas of my life and in ways that I act like God.  I would challenge you to sit down and spend some time with God and ask him to really open your eyes to your world.  Allow him to show you all the areas where you are taking his role.  In relying on him daily to get my needs met it is there that I will be able to see God really at work and be able to give accounts to not only my children but countless others of how God is truly alive and well today.

Are you ready to have your eyes opened and put God back in the place he really belongs?

1 Timothy 12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength,t hat he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

We are our own worst critics.  We set standards for ourselves and then are disgusted when we don’t even measure up to them.  Often many of us have a poor image of ourselves and consider ourselves failures.  Some just give up, while others keep pushing forward.

When we fail to see ourselves in view of how God see’s us, we can become perfectionists, not able to accept love from others and compare ourselves to others.  We continue to strive to be something or someone we believe we are supposed to be.  It is hard to accept positive feedback from others because we somehow have decided it still isn’t acceptable.  In order to satisfy our own desire to be better we can never rest, we are always trying to do and be better.  When we make mistakes, mess up or sin, you might as well just shoot us dead.

Satan is very clever and he has a way of warping our views.  We fail to see ourselves in the view of God.  We are not perfect and we never will be.  We all have sin in our lives and we will until the end of time.  Jesus understand us better than we think we understand ourselves.  We are loved and accepted by God just as we are.  The standards in which we place ourselves are not the standards for which God looks at us. God loves us and he doesn’t keep his love from us until we reach a certain level.  As we walk through life, God continues to meet us where we are at and love us despite ourselves.

Maybe today is the day you need to stop with the way you have been doing things and begin believing these words.  Maybe today is the day you view yourself just as God sees you.  Is that a step you are willing to take?

Today’s post is one I am writing from personal experience.  I along with countless other men, struggle with a daily battle.  Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

At what cost are you willing to lose everything in your life.  Are you willing to risk losing your career, your reputation, your wife and kids?  To what lengths are you willing to continue down the path until you lose everything God has given you?

We are visually stimulated.  We look and notice, things catch our eyes and are engrained in our memories.  It only takes a couple of looks to have it last a lifetime.  There are pictures indelibly etched in my mind from when I was 7 years old.

Lust, pornography, sexual impurity, adultery – those words should ring loud and clear.  We have heard them, spoken of them and perhaps been involved in serious discussions about them.  They are the very things which most of us as men struggle with and for some our struggle never ends.To look at someone and fixate on them, to begin to fantasize and think of them is where we begin to forget this is a person and they become our object of lust.  James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. We reduce the created into an object, a body part or piece rather than a whole.  What the creator intended has now been reduced to nothing but fulfilling our desires.  Instead of worshiping the creator, we chose to worship the created or at least part of them.  How many people have to be used to understand the cost?

We engage in selfishness and the only concern is getting my needs met.  We no longer see this person as a whole, rather as a means of me getting my own selfish needs met.  I don’t really care about this person, what I care about is that my desires are fulfilled.  I have no interest in having a real relationship with you, just come, let me do what I want and let me move on.

Access to fulfill our wildest fantasies is easily done at a bookstore, computer and now within the palm of our hand.  We can see whatever we want, watch movies, engage in flirting and sexual texts, swap pictures, or even engage in activities through webcams.  There’s an app for everything and there’s plenty of apps which will fill your mind with images and acts you won’t ever forget.  We can do all of this while at work, home or on our commute.  It’s easy, simple and no one ever has to see or know.  How convenient, but at what cost?

So what happens to those of us who struggle.  We get lost in our own worlds, we know what we are doing is wrong and so many times we just can’t stop.  We keep returning to our own filth.  It’s a sick and twisted wound that never seems to heal. It calls to us and many times we answer the call time and time again.  Moments later we see just how wretched we have become.  We are lost and see no possible way out of this.

Some are man enough to ask and obtain help.  They are willing to bare their souls, to expose the lies for truth, to find healing and to walk in the light.  True freedom becomes theirs.

Some seek help, go to counseling, practice what they have learned and return to where they once came from.  The return back to the cesspool and return to a life they never wanted.  They go back to it all as it is all to familiar. Proverbs 26:11 – As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. They wonder where is their success, where is their help?  Where is their freedom?  Back to the  place, but at what cost?  What are they willing to lose, how many times are they willing to be in this place again before they have thrown it all away and have only God to turn to.

Men, if you are struggling, be a man and admit it.  Seek out someone you can trust, another brother who will walk with you through it.  Who is willing to fight the fight with you.  Find a brother who is willing to ask the tough questions, to challenge you, question you and despite all of it walk you back to the healing Jesus offers.  Does that mean your problems will disappear – NOPE, does it mean it’s an automatic fix to years of damage – NOPE.  What it does mean is you get to start over and begin again.  Work has to be done, changes have to be made and you have to be ready to fight.  It’s a tough and long battle, but through daily submitting our will to God’s we begin to view life through a different lens.

I speak from experience, when I made the choice to let go of those things, surrender to Jesus, focus on obedience to him and tell the truth, I felt more freedom than all the years of shame and guilt I had experienced.  The cost of what I had to lose was far greater than what I was getting.  The cost of sin will always be far greater, but at what cost are you willing to continue?

I speak from personal experience in wanting another guy who I can share life with that is in a similar place in his life.  Someone I can go on hikes or camping with enjoys watching movies and playing games, enjoys talking and sharing about life and most importantly someone who has centered their life on God.   Someone who I can do all of the other things with but will also pray with and for me and at any time I need them will be readily available for me.  When I am struggling, falling and messing up will be there to speak truth into my life as well as challenge and encourage me.

I’ve had only a few relationships like this in my life and they have left indelible marks on my life.  Currently I have no one in my life like this but I do have different guys in my life who are able to fill those various aspects.   I know that in many of my newer relationships I am hopeful I can find someone who can fill that role in my life. My prayer has been and will continue to be God filling that in my life.  A friend like that is incredibly valuable.

Reading in scripture Jesus give us an example of what it meant to have a certain type of close friends.  He purposely picked the disciples.  Those he chose left what they knew and began doing life with him. He taught, they asked questions, he lived out his life 24 hours a day with them.  He spent 3 years of his life with these men, investing in them for a larger purpose.  Meals, prayers, miracles, playing and disagreements were spent together.  I can only imagine how this impacted these men’s lives.  Knowing the character of Jesus I am sure he gave hugs, listened and prayed for them.

A lot of guys I know are reserved and withdrawn.  They don’t like to engage in talking about feelings or in deep conversations.  They talk about sports or weather and other subjects that are considered safe and don’t require going very deep.   This also describes my Dad and many other men I was raised around.  What I have learned is that I hate that kind of stuff.  I hate surface type discussions and refuse to enter into them.

God has provided me the opportunity to talk with lots of men and in that I have heard countless stories of brokenness, heartbreak, anger and intense pain and frustration.  Men who are ashamed, who live with regrets and are scared to death if anyone really knew about them, would lose everything in their life. Men who really want someone to be there for them but are so scared to reach out of fear and rejection and stay locked in their own worlds.  Men who are looking for someone to call a close friend and brother.

If those of us, who have experienced it, reaped the benefits and it has changed our world don’t reach out to others, how will other guys ever know?  It is up to us to be an example.  We don’t get to keep what we know about Jesus and his life a secret.  When he changes us we need to be sharing that as part of our story.  We need to be encouraging other men; to provide hope and that there is something better.  Essentially that is found in who Jesus is, yet it can be lived out day to day in our interactions with other men.  To have a brother who is there for you no matter what is a huge blessing from God.  To God be the glory in all of our relationships with our brothers.  May you find a bromance that will shape and change your life forever.

We live in a land of optimal wealth.  We have more than most of the world.  If you have ever been to a third world country your eyes will be opened to just how much we really have.  Not only do we have more than we need, but we have an over abundance.  Most of us don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, what clothes we are going to wear tomorrow or what we are going to do this weekend.  We have a multitude of choices and are never at a loss for things to do.

All that we possess and have been given is a gift from God.  The food, home, cars and clothing, trinkets, books and games all have been provided to you as gifts from God.   God has placed us in this time and place for his purpose.  That his glory may shine through us.  That we may demonstrate him to those around us and be a reflection of him.  All that we have has been provided by him for this very purpose.

1 Timothy 6:6-10 – But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Often times we get caught up in thinking and believing this is my stuff.  I own it, I worked hard for it and it belongs to me.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  We need to be wise and take care of this things God has entrusted us with.  I look around my house and realize that my 6 kids are very spoiled.  They have more than they need and often times that is a problem.  They have too much and in doing so, don’t take care of what they have.  I often find toys, books and games scattered around our house and no one wants to be responsible for picking them up.  It gets to the point where I end up giving things away because my kids won’t be responsible with what they have despite how much we talk about it.

Since I grew up poor, everything I planned or dreamed of centered around making a lot of money and doing whatever I wanted. When I was in my 20’s I was all about spending money right and left and acquiring things to make me feel good.  To feel like I belonged and was important.  My wife and I fell into this trap early on in our marriage and I continued to do this well into my 30’s until one day God convicted me that none of it belonged to me.  Everything I had was his and I needed to change my focus and attitude.

1 Timothy 6:17-19Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Since God has convicted me it has completely changed my view and how I live.  In all honesty I still have moments where I can be selfish and not want to share; God’s still working on me.  However, for the most part I prefer to live a simple life, with minimal “things”, but want to be able to provide for anyone who has a need that I can help with.  My wife and I have made it a policy to have an open home and allow most anyone to stay with us, use our things, ask for money or whatever need you have that we can assist with we will provide and we expect nothing in return.  I continually want to be a blessing to others and be able to use my time, money and talents to bless those around me.  I believe this is what God has called us to do. When all is said and done and our time on earth is over, those things we have accumulated will fade and eventually turn to dust and ultimately be destroyed.

When you are asked by someone else to use something of yours, how is your attitude? Are you willing to freely let them use it or are you stingy?

The culture in which we live continually entices us to engage in activities that as they claim will fulfill us.  Test, take, eat, drive and just do it.  Everywhere you turn ads. Commercials and merchandising are specifically designed to  target and speak to the person inside.  The person we could or should be.  That fun, exciting, happy person who is just waiting to get out and take part in all the world has to offer.

Satan lies and I believe these messages are meant to distract us from the truth.  Christ has called us to die to ourselves in Luke 9:23 – And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

To die to ourselves means to come before Christ, surrender and admit we need him to take the reigns, guide and direct our steps.  To take our life and allow him to change it.  Is it easy, maybe for some, but for most of us, it’s a daily battle.  To surrender daily and allow Christ to take over is difficult.  We think we have it all figured out and can manage on our own.  The truth is, when we die to ourselves and God begins to reveal what’s really going on inside you begin to see just how selfish you really are.  You begin to see how much of what we do is focused and centered on self.

Philippians 2: 1-3 – So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …

Having our cake and eating it too is more of a practice in gluttony and self-indulgence.  Consuming all that you want, doing whatever you want so that you can be happy.   Using others for our own gain at not point does it stop to put the needs of someone else before yours.

Jesus came to serve the needs of others, he spent his life on earth living for something more than himself.  He was in constant contact with his father.  He was obedient to death upon a cross.  As I look at myself and countless others we fall short of this.  So much of my life has been taken up by consuming other(s) and things, which makes me incredibly sad.  It has not been the life God has called me to.

When we begin to die to ourselves daily and conform to the image of Christ, we begin to have the same mindset and view life from a larger perspective. We begin to see that God offers us something much sweeter.   In what ways do you need to stop having your cake and eating it too?

 

Engagement with others means our brokenness is going to class with their brokenness.  Life is indeed quite messy and until we are reunited with Christ in heaven life will continue to be messy.  We hope and watch with great anticipation for the day of Christ’s return when justice will prevail and order will be restored where chaos has taken over.

We were meant to live in relationship with one another.  Jesus did life with others and in fact spent the last years of his life traveling around with other men.  Eating, sleeping and sharing life together.  I am positive it was not without conflict.  Jesus modeled what we should be doing; he came to serve others, to forego his own rights to ensure the needs of others were met.

We spend a lot of our time being me focused; concern and frustration arise when we don’t get what we believe we are entitled to.  We are creatures of habit and routine.  When those are disrupted, we get upset, frustrated and angry.  We become rude even spiteful, our actions and words demonstrate that and we no longer reflect Christ.

My wife and I have an open door policy in our house.  We welcome and invite friends, neighbors and others into our house at any time, you don’t have to make an appointment, you can show up at any time and you will be welcomed in with love.  In raising kids, we want to be the house all the neighborhood kids come, the safe place where we know no harm will take place.  That prayer has been answered, since moving into the neighborhood 5 years ago; our house continues to be the central point where all the kids come to hang out.

Now here is the place where this clashes with my own entitlements.  I long to come home and be welcomed by my family.  To have my wife and kids smile, kiss and hug me and welcome me home when my day is done.  More times than not, it is not my family who greet me at the door, instead a neighborhood kid.  There are times I walk through my yard and see wrappers and other remnants kids have left behind and I become frustrated and upset and wish they weren’t around.  As soon as I think those thought I quickly am reminded of how this is what my wife and I have wanted and prayed would happen and I stuck in the crossroad.

How about the neighbor that asks you to help move.  The woman holding the sign asking for spare change.  The solicitor who shows up and wants to talk with you.  The friend who’s always wanting to do something with you. How about your wife asking you to do the dishes tonight.  Your child asking to be read a story or have you go for a walk.  You planned to come home and watch the game, mow the grass, read a book or just be in your zone.

This is where living and serving the needs of others gets messy.  We have to be willing to lay down our own plans and needs to readily serve those around us.  If we long to be in relationships with others as we should it means we often have to get dirty and do without.

On the other side of this is Jesus also demonstrating to us that taking a break, recharging and refreshing our soul is needed.  He spent time away praying and talking with God.  He moved away from crowds to times of being alone.  He was able to balance it out as we should also, that is practicing good healthy choices.

When it comes down to it, how much of your own entitlements are you willing to lay aside so that you can do life with others?

Men you are being lied to.  You are being fed one lie after another and you probably don’t even realize it.  Satan is the master deceiver and if we do not know where our true identity comes from we will continue to believe the lies we are fed.

In order to separate truth from the lies, we must be grounded in scripture.  We must know how God sees us.  When you begin to compare what you believe with his truth, you will begin to see and expose the lies.  As I was reading back through highlighted sections of my Bible I came across these verses that I take comfort in regards to that truth.

 

John 1:12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

1 Corinthians 6:17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from ]God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,  who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Ephesians 1:3-8 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. InHim we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Colossians 2:9-10For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  and in Him you have been made]complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

 

The lies are everywhere and if you are a part of this world you are fed them every day and they have been deeply engrained into your soul.  We believe that our career/job defines us as men.  Being a doctor, writer, artist, producer, manager, cook, garbage collector and mill worker are WHO we are.  That is a lie, while God has given us those jobs and allowed us to use the gifts he has given us, we are much more than a title in some job.  Yet we spend so much of our time being caught up in those things that we lose sight of who and what we really are.

Another important aspect I have learned in regards to my identity is surrounding myself with other men who know truth and who are grounded in it.  Having these men in my life allows me to stay in check.  They have the ability to call me out when I allow my head to swell.  They have the right and ability to ask me how my walk with God is, where’s he at work in my life and what am I doing to grow in him.  The best gift I have is men who will walk alongside me as I maneuver my way through life and continue to point me towards God.

What are you doing in your life to combat the lies with truth?

Last time I mentioned a few men from the Old Testament that we like to hold up as “Men” and as role models; and everyone fell short of God’s glory, falling short of the ideal we have for “Men”. Now, lets look at some New Testament “Men”. For those of you who like to skip ahead, Jesus will be at the end of this list, but the ones in between here and there are a good reminder for us.

I want to frame this a little bit, before launching into calling the men out. With no exception, these men were alive in Israel while Jesus was teaching. They heard of His miracles and His message. Every one of them know the Torah and Pentateuch better than most of us even imagine knowing the Bible. These guys could quote line and verse, tell you a lesson or message for almost any situation. They were also the norm, not the abnormal. These guys knew what they were watching out for when the Messiah returned.

And they all knew something different.

I’m not going to dissect what they expected of him now, just understand that it takes a lot more… and a lot less… than knowing scripture to know and follow Jesus.

On to the men:

Peter (everyone knew he was coming first!) – A fisherman with Andrew. Loud-mouthed and impulsive. Loyal to Jesus until His capture, and then he turned, only to come back and repent to the risen Christ, becoming the “rock” Christ built the Church on and healing with his touch.

Thomas – The doubter. An inquisitive man who needed to feel and touch, to see and believe, not just to hear. Placed his hands in Christs wounds to believe that it was truly Him.

John – A son of thunder! Followed Jesus for the glory that would surely come from it, and was changed by the walk. Author of scripture and the one loved by Jesus. Recipient of the Revelation.

Saul/Paul – Zealot who was most likely present at Jesus’ trial and conviction. Likely witness of Christ’s crucifixion. Hunter and killer of Christ followers. Striken blind to become the witness of Christ to “all nations”. (Followed the Great Commission!)

Barnabas – Mentor, teacher, witness with Paul on his missionary journeys, stubborn in his beliefs.

Luke – Doctor, Chronicler and Reporter, Scholar who studied and shared Christ’s word with us.

The list could keep going, but the key is that every one of these men, even while in the presence of Jesus, fell short of the image He gave them (and us).

Jesus is the image of man that we must all aspire to be. I’m not talking about looking like him. I’m not saying that we need to spend three years walking and preaching in Israel. What I am saying is that Jesus showed us how to be a man. jesus showed us how to be a brother to each other and to Him. Jesus showed us how to be a Father, a Husband, and a Son; though He only held one of these titles. Jesus was strong, and wise, and smart, and forgness, and love, and peace, and power, and a million other things. Things that you and I can only be an echo of. But things we must be an echo of.

Next week, I’m going to launch into this series, discussing qualities of a “Man” from both biblical and cultural views. In the meantime, let me give you some words to think about in relationship to yourself and the men you hold up as examples:

Strong

Brash

Powerful

Wise

Learned

Able

Loving

Caring

Angry

Macho

Studious

Tough

God

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

How much time do we spend really thinking about our lives and how that matches up with Christ?  How much of our lives are we really willing to allow Christ full access and completely transform them?  We attend church on Sunday, maybe involved in a small group or study once in the week and that’s it.  For most people we forget what we heard on Sunday within hours after leaving church and once we are done with our group study we don’t think twice about it.  Does this really work to transform your life?

So much of what we, do, see and hear is based on self.  We are supposed to be self-made men.  Just do it – or we can do it? We can do whatever we put our minds to.  You control your destiny.  You are made for more.  You, you, you.  We are fed and told over and over that we can do it. We have no need for God, we can do it all. Quite the contrary, those are in fact the lies we have been fed our entire life.  We see in scripture quite the opposite –

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Luke 9:23-24 – Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!

Rom 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

We are called to die to ourself and become born again. To let go of our selfish desires, wants and needs.  To rid ourselves of the thinking, beliefs and lies this world tells us.  We are to be transformed by Christ and allow him to give us new life. –

John 3:30 – He must become greater; I must become less.

Rom 8:12-13 – Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me

Galatians 5:24 – Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

I can do nothing apart from Christ, he is what I need.  Unfortunately we rely on ourselves to do it all because that is what we are told and that is engrained in our brains from the day we are born. It’s only natural we do it this way.  I can completely relate to this.  If I see something is wrong within me I than try to fix myself.  I begin reading, studying and looking for ways in which I can better myself.  While God has given us tools, the unfortunate part is we forget to include him in the process, we immediately go into a fix it mode instead of coming before him and submitting ourselves to him.  We leave God completely out of the picture and go about it on our own.

What is needed is for me to admit I am helpless and I am in need of God.  I need to give up, go before God, pray, seek his will and then follow his leading.  As I surrender and submit to him I will then begin to be transformed and move in the direction God wants for me.  If I really want to fully be alive in Christ, than I forget the lies the world feeds me and accept the truth of God.  I begin to believe and understand how God sees me.  I trust in him to guide and direct me and for him to change me internally beginning with my heart.  While I can know, understand and believe all of scripture in my head, it’s my heart where it really needs to sink in.

Today is the day you can start new, to stop believing the lies this world tells you, which essentially are lies Satan feeds us and begin believing the truth about who you are.  This very moment you can talk to God.  Allow him to begin transforming all the lies and begin revealing his truth to you.  Today is the day you can really begin to free yourself and live a new life in Christ, no matter where you are at right now.  There is a greater life waiting for you in Christ.  Are you willing to go that route?