Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P675 (09-30-21)
Growing in Grace: Overcoming Habits, Replacing False Dependencies, Love Conquers Fear, Renewing the Mind, Walking in Truth, and Realizing We Are Not Under the Law but Under Grace
When we are born again, we have the Holy Spirit living in us, but we also have sin-indwelling flesh. So there is this battle between the flesh and the spirit (Galatians 5:16-18). But as we learn to walk in the Spirit, we do not carry out the deeds of the flesh. We have in us everything we need for life and godliness so we can participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4). One hindrance we have in spiritual growth is the error and lies we have believed. Error is replaced with truth as we meditate on God’s word, relying on the Lord to renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2). His word is truth (John 17:17), and Jesus, who is the living Word (John 1:1,14), tells us that the truth shall set you free (John 8:32).
We have heard pastors from the pulpit say things indicating that do not know who they are in Christ. They say from the pulpit, “I am just a sinner saved by grace” or “I am just a beggar telling others where the bread is.” If you are born again, scripture tells us that we are no longer a sinner, but a saint. We have been made that way by God.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:14 (NASB)
14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
The apostle Paul addresses the believers in the various churches as saints, and their behavior, as in Corinth, did not exactly match up with who they are. His appeal to proper behavior was to address their thinking in regards to their identification with Christ. So, we have been made a child of God, so God is no longer dealing with us we once were, a sinner, where when we sin there is death hanging over our head and tend to look upon God as an angry God. There is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), for Christ finished the work, taking the full punishment of sin for us when He shed His blood on a cross (Hebrews 9:22, Hebrews 10:16-18). We have been adopted into the family of God, so God deals with us as a child of God who needs teaching, correction, reproof, and training in righteousness as to what we need at the moment (2 Timothy 3:16).
We are also not a beggar, for scripture tells us that we a child of God, and as a child of God, we can go boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). God is a very approachable God, not one we have to fear His wrath, anger or displeasure over us. We are His child in whom He delights in (Ephesians 1:6).
So when believers are trapped in unhealthy habits, such as bulimia, then what kind of lies are they believing? The most prevalent lie is concerning their identity, who they are in Christ. As Bob George has counseled many who have been caught in this eating disorder, he would ask: “Are you a bulimic or a child of God?” One young lady answered, “I guess both.” “You cannot be both at the same time. If you are a bulimic, then you do what bulimic’s do, you overeat and then you throw up. But if you are a child of God, then you do what children of God do, you eat in moderation.” She grasped what Bob was saying and never experienced that bulimic behavior again. Now, not everyone grasps that as quickly as she did, but it proves the point that truth shall set you free.
Another thinking problem is that of relying on your feelings rather than the truth. Satan is the father of lies, and seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Not every thought that comes into your head is of God. You can have thoughts that say, “You eat like this, why you must not even be a Christian.” Those thoughts are from the evil one who ultimately wants to kill you. This bulimia addiction can kill you. Or, you might have thoughts like, “Remember all the fun you used to have when you were lost. Why not just go back to the bar and have some fun? Or, why not have an affair. Think of how fun that would be?” Sin is pleasurable for a season but there is always a hook in it that ultimately leads to misery and destruction of homes and families (Hebrews 11:25). Now those with a propensity to addictive behavior with alcohol, that little visit to the bar, that could be one small step towards being overcome by addiction to alcohol. No one starts out being an addict, as what are called a bulimic or an alcoholic. There are small little deceptive thoughts that are not taken captive to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Another reason for behavioral problems is fear. If you give into fear, then fear can control you. Instead of rational thinking over an issue, you react in fear. As Bob would ask a young lady who identifies as bulimic, “The reason you want to urge after overeating is out of fear of getting fat, isn’t it?” “Yes.” Fear does not come from God.
1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
It is God’s will for you and me to be perfected in His love, to be able to come down to the point as the apostle Paul of being convinced that nothing can separate me from the love of God, trials can’t, tribulations can’t.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That is God’s will for you and me. If love casts away fear, then fear is what casts away love. So where does Satan live in your life? So Satan tries to get you fearful. Satan captivated you a little at a time. I am sure you did not go and eat all that you liked to eat initially. You just ate too much and got fearful of gaining weight. Of course, pressure of the world is out there, where everybody looks like a broomstick. And everybody has to imitate that kind of nonsense, and so you get fearful you will not look good in a bathing suit. Then fear sets in, and that is never from God. The minute a fearful thought comes into your mind, and you can know something immediately. That is from Satan. God puts love in your heart. Satan puts fear in your heart. So fear has to be dealt with. The fear of repercussions, the fear of getting fat. There is also fear in people who want to stop smoking. If I stop smoking I will get fat. That is a farce. That comes from Satan, to get cancer so you will not gain weight. So the whole issue is are you going to be controlled by the voice of God that is saying I love you? God is saying to you, “Nothing can separate you from My love. Learn how to trust Me and I will guide you into My paths of righteousness.” Or do you listen to the voice that says, “If you do this, you will get fat.” And the whole scenario gets painted in your mind. So which voice am I going to listen to?
Also in this growing in grace is learning to rest. We all have this tendency to depend on our flesh. I got this problem, so I figure I must double up my efforts to overcome my problem. But then it is like you are putting yourself back under a law. And what do you find out? You find out just what the apostle Paul discovered. The law tells me not to covet. I was deceived by the law, in that I thought through the law I could stop coveting. But just the exact opposite occurred. I coveted all the more. The law stirs up sin in me, and so I come to recognize my weakened flesh. So what was the final conclusion? Praise be to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. So we learn to depend on who lives in us to produce what we could never produce in the energy of our flesh, by walking in the newness of life, of allowing Christ to live His life in and through me, to walk in the new way of the Spirit.
A lot of our problems in growing in grace is simply not understanding the New Covenant we live under today. A common question asked is if we are commanded to keep the Sabbath holy. After all, it is one of the ten commandments. People fail to understand that it is a foreshadow of the reality that is in Christ. Certainly we all need a day to rest emotionally or physically, but there is a spiritual rest that God was referring to. Ponder over these scriptures and discern what the Spirit is saying.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
There is a Sabbath rest now for the people of God. We can rest from our works just as God did from His. We are no longer under a law to rest on a certain day of the week. That was Old Covenant. If we are still under that law, then we would have to obey all of that law, including not eating shrimp, and if we fail at one point we have disobeyed all of it (James 2:10).
Another helpful tip is what Bob George refers to as guarding against a misplaced dependency. We can place our dependency on alcohol or a spouse to meet a spiritual need. Only Christ can fulfill the need of unconditional love and acceptance. You can suck the energy put of your spouse relying on her to meet something she can not possibly meet. We can depend on our feelings rather than facts. So we must learn to hold onto truth and act on that truth, and that ultimately resides in Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. We often also depend on people, whether pastors or our favorite teacher, making idols out of them as the perfect model for truth. What happens if they disappoint us? Is our faith crushed because of what we see in their behavior that day?
All of us are weak in our natural selves and will fall short from time to time from what we know we ought to be doing or not be doing. Even worry is sin, and how many of us give into worry every day? We are children of God, those who have been made that way, having been born again of the Spirit, but we are continually in the need of having our minds renewed with truth. There is always deception and error out there, seeds of Satan, that come against us, and we have to guard our hearts with all diligence. We have to continually learn to live as Jesus did, by total dependency on His Father. Jesus, never ceased to be God and always was, is and always will be God, but He emptied Himself of His divine attributes to live in total submission to the Father while walking on this earth. He did this to model for us what it is to be a complete human being. As a new creation of God, we have the Spirit of God living in us. We, who are not God and never will be God, by relying on the Spirit, can live in the same manner of faith as Jesus did. Jesus did nothing of His own initiative. He did what He saw His Father doing and said exactly what His Father told Him to say and how to say it. We are continually learning how to walk in this manner of faith, of total dependency on God our Father.
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