Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P655 (07-29-21)
Let Truth set you Free and Learn to Walk in Grace by Faith
As a new believer, you will tend to have more of a struggle in overcoming sinful habits, and that is not unusual, as you are just now on the starting line of having your mind renewed. Even as you mature in Christ, you will continue in that process of having your mind renewed until the day you meet the Lord. We will all continue to battle the flesh, and God knows our weaknesses and tendencies. We are all reminded to guard our life and doctrine closely and take heed that we do not fall, and to be gentle and humble toward others, as we ourselves could easily get caught up in any sin ourselves. By allowing God to change us, our thinking and attitudes of heart, our actions will be in accordance with who we are as a child of God, and our emotions will follow. You will no longer be miserable but experience the fruit of the Spirit God wants to produce in you and through you. Learn to trust the mercy and grace of God. So, for us to help others, we are firm with truth while gently guiding the humble of heart to grab a hold of such truth that will set them free that also set us free. We can learn to walk in the new life of freedom God has called us to.
Although we need that person who can point us to that unconditional love and acceptance that can only come from God, we also need that firmness with truth that helps us realize that what we are doing is not working and there is a way of walking in the spirit, of letting truth set us free. Sometimes we just need to be firmly told what truth is. We are a byproduct of our belief system and our choices that come from that.
If you are choosing to live, knowingly, in sinful behavior, then you need to stop that behavior but stopping behavior starts with changing your thinking. Thank the Lord that your sins have already been forgiven 2000 years ago on a cross, but realize also that Jesus did not just die to take your sins away, but He came to live in you so you can live in the way of the Spirit. Realize what God has given you to walk in the new way of the Spirit. Realize that you have the Spirit of self control. You will not experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control thinking and living the way you are living. You do not have to change but it is not profitable for you. If you are continuing to do what made you so miserable in the first place, that you came to Christ for life, and you are now a child of God, a new creation, what sense does it make to continue to do something that makes you miserable? Why not trust God in what He says He has for you, that He has given you everything you need for life and godliness, and learn to walk in the newness of life He has given you?
The way to overcome sin in your life is not in the energy of the flesh. We cannot obey in our own weakened state of sin that was inherited in Adam. We still have sin-indwelling flesh, as the apostle Paul describes in Romans 7, that is contrary to the Spirit who lives in us. That is why Jesus came to begin with, so He can live His life in us and through us. He wants us to be totally dependent on Him, knowing we cannot do it. He is the source of power, the power of His love in us, to live in a new way of the Spirit. God is love, where love does its neighbor no wrong, and now God is living in us, and so we allow His love, living in us, to produce in us and through us what we could never produce in the energy of our flesh.
At other times we do not realize what we are doing, those patterns of flesh of trying to get our spiritual needs met from someone else that only God can meet. Our mind has not yet been renewed on that. This is often a common problem in marriage. A spouse is trying to get her mate to accept and love her unconditionally. That is something no man can do. That is a spiritual need, not a soulish need. So the spouse is sucking the energy out of her mate and putting strain on the marriage. When a person realizes it as a spiritual need, and grabs a hold of that truth, to be convinced as the apostle Paul was convinced, that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus and that you are accepted in the beloved, that frees you to serve your mate in love, not from love that you produce in the energy of your flesh, but with the same love you received from God.
Other common problems of man is anxiety and depression. That comes from thinking about all the bad things that will happen in the future or all the bad things you did yesterday. This is really a misplaced dependency. Your mind is focused on your predicament or perceived predicament instead of trusting God for today. Tomorrow is God’s country and He reminds us that if He takes care of the lilies of the field that are here today and gone tomorrow, how much more shall He take care of you. In essence, the problem of mankind is learning to trust Jesus in everything, to renew your mind with truth that sets you free and grab a hold of it.
Another common problem of man is unrealistic expectations that are contrary to the truth that God tells us about in His word. When you expect your life to be a rose garden, that everything will just go smooth, especially if you are walking in the Spirit, and so never have a trial or a tribulation, then you have unrealistic expectations. For we live in a fallen world, and so Jesus tells that in this world you will have trials and tribulations but to take heart for He has overcome the world. He tells us that whoever desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted. So we need to keep that in perspective. We are instructed to take joy when you face trials and tribulations of various kinds for it produces in you a dependency on Christ that leads to the development of perseverance and character in you, that if you allow yourself to be trained by it, by depending on Christ, the resulting reward is far greater than anything this world can offer.
A new believer, or one who has not grown in his understanding of the knowledge and grace of the Lord, is not accustomed to walking in the Spirit. So when he sins, he often focuses on how he should not be sinning and redoubles his efforts to try and not sin, only to find himself falling on his face again. Sometimes he finds himself sinning all the more. Why is that? He is unknowingly putting himself back under the law. The letter of the law kills. It is the Spirit that gives life. The law stir up sin within you, deceives you into thinking you can obey it. If you happen to succeed occasionally, then there is the tendency to think you are so spiritual, and look down on others who do not obey like you do. I recall immature believers saying, “I got my quiet time. How about you?” That is how immature believers tend to think. That is the way of the flesh, thinking about self and comparing yourself with one another.
The way of the Spirit is thinking about Christ alive living in me, and thanking Him for what He alone is doing, realizing that I am always a work in progress. It is correctly assessing yourself in light of truth. You boldly come to the throne of grace, asking the Lord to renew your mind with truth, for you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Little by little, you ponder over God’s word and you grow up to increasing maturity in Christ, learning how to walk in the Spirit.
Walking in the Spirit is learning to trust Jesus, that you are in Christ and Christ is in you, that your identity is as a child of God, and coming to understand more fully all that He has freely given you, of all His marvelous and precious promises regarding you, that you are under grace and loved and accepted unconditionally. Your life is a byproduct of your relationship with the living God, moment by moment, learning to depend on Him just as Jesus did. Jesus did nothing of His own initiative, but did exactly what His Father told Him to do, and He did not say anything unless the Father told Him what to say and how to say it. We imitate not the actions, but the faith of Jesus, how He modeled for us what it means to live like a man like us, being called the second Adam. The best illustration of this new way of thinking and living is the parable Jesus told us in John 15 of the parable of the vine and the branches. Ponder over John 15, asking the Lord to reveal to you what that parable means.
Listen now as various callers ask for advice in regard to their struggles they are experiencing. Some are willfully sinning for quite some time, making bad choices. Others are struggling with their marriage, and others are testifying as to what the Lord has taught them that has totally changed their lives and want to express thanks for the truth that people like Bob George have shared. I pray you are encouraged by what you hear, the attitude of humility and grace, yet firmness with truth, and that we all together can glorify God for all that God is doing in the lives of people. Remember God is faithful to His promises and has said He will complete the work He began in you. That is such a wonderful truth to hold onto as we still struggle on this earth with our tendencies to cave into the desires of our flesh. How patient is the mercy and magnificent is the grace of God towards us! How great is God’s love towards us!
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