Going through hard times? Be encouraged! They are conforming you into Christ’s image. He even uses our weaknesses to do it!
The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe,
but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
Our walk is with Jesus Christ. He guides us on our journey to His throne. The Holy Spirit within us speaks to us and tells us the way we are to go.
This safety is not necessarily physical safety. It IS relational safety, though. It guards and protects our souls from sin; it keeps us pure and holy, and in direct and full connection with Jesus/Holy Spirit.
Let’s take a lesson from Peter and Paul. Peter writes, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.” 1 Peter 4:1 Suffering clears the air of non-essentials. Peter’s suffering–and OUR suffering–helped him to see what was truly important and eternal. This attitude of which Peter speaks was brought about by Christ’s death and resurrection: We now have a clear conscience toward God (v. 21). Because of this clear conscience, we declare war on sin in our lives.
Paul explains how suffering in the body helps us to “be done with” sin.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:3-4
Christ suffered for us so that we would not have to suffer spiritual death. The suffering we do now simply helps us to “be done with” sin. It helps us to focus on what we have (Jesus in us) and what is to come (heaven: Forever in His presence). We no longer fear death, or even separation from God because of sin. I am speaking of positional separation. We are His. There is NO CHANGING THAT. God transformed the very sin that was killing us spiritually to become that which trains us to be more holy. WHAT?! Paul explains:
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his [our future hope]. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
The spiritual chains have been broken. The grave clothes are shredded, but still clinging to us, just like Lazarus when he came out of the grave. Let’s remove them and clothe ourselves with Christ and His righteousness and holiness (Romans 13:14, Eph. 4:24).
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Habitual sin is hard to break. It sneaks up on us and overwhelms us. It brings shame and self-loathing with it. DON’T LET IT! Christ knows our struggles and loves us through them. He wants us to turn to Him for comfort and strength, for renewal and joy. Satan would have us turn away from Christ in self-punishment even while Christ calls for us to turn to Him for restoration!
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
We ARE under grace. From now on, let us ask the LORD to help us set boundaries concerning where we go, with whom we spend our time, and how we fill our days. Let us work with Him to set up guardrails to keep us away from the precipice of sin. We understand that there are always consequences for sin, but they do not keep us from the Father. He even uses our consequences to draw us even closer to Him.
My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 3:18 because it speaks of a progression. we LIVE in that progression:
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate/reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
- Unveiled faces- We see and know the LORD and His truth;
- Contemplate/reflect- It’s what we think about all the time: Bringing Him glory and reflecting that glory to others;
- Transformed- Made into His likeness (see Romans 8:29);
- Ever-increasing glory- moving from glory to glory, “Higher up and further in;”
- From the Lord- He does this wonderful thing in us;
- Who is the Spirit- His Spirit lives in us and is our connection, our power, our comfort, our guide–our everything!
Be encouraged. He IS working in us, and He WILL complete what He started (Phil. 1:6).
Abba, I am SO glad that it is NOT up to me, but up to YOU for me to be holy and righteous. All I have to do is submit to Your guidance even while enjoying Your love, joy and peace that radiate from You as we walk together. I have hope because of You and Your grace that saved me and continues to abound in my life. Fill me up, Lord, and I will overflow to those around me. Amen.
It’s your life. No one can do this for you. And, truly, you don’t want anyone else to do it for you because, through this process, you come to know Jesus in a way you didn’t even know He existed. You see, you can’t get freed up in Christ without Christ. This is about the two of you. — Beth Moore