Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No Longer a Slave

photo courtesy of www.popscreen.com

Last Saturday I had the privilege of attending my first Beth Moore Living Proof Live simulcast.  After my experience, it definitely will not be the last.  There are people in this life whose anointing of the Spirit is so evident, so transparent, that it moves you to tears.  Beth Moore is one of them.  Although all of us who are in Christ have this anointing, the power in her speaking and the way she is able to illustrate things with conviction and humor is amazing.

This year's simulcast theme was called, "No Longer."  The subject was grace.  Many of us, including myself,  still live and think as though we are under the law even though we have accepted Christ as our personal Savior.  We confess our sin but do not believe we have been forgiven, or feel as though we have to confess it over and over.  We constantly think that God is disappointed with us.  We live with anxiety, fear, and jealousy.  We feel as though we must continue in close relationship with those who hurt, betray, and abuse us.  In other words, there are certain aspects in each of our lives which, once we belong to Christ, need to hear a loud "no longer."

As she was speaking, I found myself repeatedly saying, "Yep, that's me. Mmhmm." I struggle with many of these habits of carrying around my "old self." I compare myself too often to others and feel as though I don't measure up in some way, which leads to feelings of jealousy. I often become anxious when I am facing a major changes in my life or am preparing for a major project. I don't allow myself enough time, become overly stressed, and then lash out at those I love. This leaves me feeling remorseful, and I feel the need to repeatedly ask forgiveness. 

Did you know that in all of the translations of Scripture the word "disappoint" is only used a handful of times, and it is never used to describe God's feeling toward his children?  He is the beginning and the end.  He knows your story.  He cannot be let down or disillusioned.  In fact, in the few times it is used, the word "disappoint" depicts what we will not  feel once we belong to Him.  His hope will not disappoint.  His love will not fail.  He gives you everything you need to break old, damaging habits. 

I don't know about you, but all of this leaves we feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to put on my dancing shoes. But what is the next step? 

In order to live out a lasting "no longer" we must realize that we are not under the law, but  grace.  As Romans 6:6 states, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might we done away with, that we should no longer be a slave to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin."  Carrying around our old sin is like carrying around a corpse.  It stinks.  It weighs us down.  It keeps us from living a full, abundant life, which is what God desires for each of us.  As Beth stated, "Grace is not our permission to sin and stay in the same pattern; it is our permission to go."  God, through his grace, give us the ability to rid ourselves of habits of self destruction.  Anything in your life that becomes a stronghold is making you a slave to your old self.

Identify your what the strongholds in your life are. Some of mine are comparisons and jealousy, anxiety and guilt. When I begin feeling this things, I need to name it for what it is: sin, confess it to God and believe I have been forgiven. It's cast as far as the east is from the west.

 Another words, forgotten. Poof. Move on.

Also look for things in your life which trigger those feelings. If it's social media for example, take a break or turn it off when you feel your thoughts going in a harmful direction. If it's a person who constantly betraying or hurting you, you may want to distance yourself from that relationship. Forgiveness does not always mean maintaining close contact. (2 Thessalonians 3:14)

Sisters, we are no longer slaves, but heirs.  As Galatians 4:6 states, the Spirit God has given us cries out "Abba," Father. It is not a spirit of fear, anxiety, jealousy or self-condemnation.  It is one of peace, joy and comfort.  Earnestly seek God and he will fill you with what you lack.  Abide in his word.  Meditate on his promises.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  He is waiting for you to sit and talk with him, and tell him what's on your heart.

"We will see the face of Grace and need grace to bear the beauty." -Beth Moore

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