My child, these are the beginning of the birthpains I spoke about. You will see them increasing, you will know the time is near. My timing is perfect, and My Word is true. Take heed to the things written in My Word. You are watching them play out right before your eyes. There is no reason to fear. I win this battle. #CommuningWithGod.org
My child, don’t lose heart and don’t lose sight of who you are in Christ. I have called you to a higher purpose. When you think you can’t, I can. When you are weak, I am strong. Don’t depend on your own strength. I will supply everything you need according to My riches in glory.
In Christ we enjoy the marvelous advantage of absolute security. But we must not let it stop there. The Lord has called us to even greater purpose—wholehearted submission to His will. Such intentional commitment to Him demands that our life be squarely aimed at two very important targets: first, to serve Him, and, second, to embrace spiritual growth through personal transformation. These goals provide the catalyst for bearing “much fruit.”
Jesus wants radical change for us: “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Paul says in Romans 12:2. Rarely does this happen instantaneously. Rather it takes a transformation of our character, which is always a more arduous and painful solution to the problem. Yet as annoying as this approach might seem, ultimately it is far more productive when the entire scope of God’s purpose is taken into account.
Jesus said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” Bearing fruit—abundant fruit, in particular—truly glorifies God and ultimately proves that we are Christ’s disciples. And nowhere does Jesus say it better than when He talks about being the “true vine.” Here Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, a relationship that can’t help but be fruitful—provided, that is, that each of the parties is faithful to do his part.
A variety of virtues are embodied in godly fruit, but its highest and all-encompassing expression is love—love of God, love for His family and, more generally, love toward others. We all know, however, that such fruit doesn’t simply materialize overnight. It only can grow and develop over time as we steadily draw on God’s life.
Through His death on the cross, Christ cancelled out our debt—the punishment due for our sin. We’ve undergone a spiritual circumcision (Colossians 2:11). In God’s eyes our body of flesh has been removed and therefore is no longer a factor in our union with God. It has literally become a non-issue, all because He has taken us out from under the jurisdiction of law.
Freedom from the power of sin is a phenomenal gift of God. But we need to be careful. Our death to sin, brought about by freedom from law, has only one purpose: the opportunity to pursue uninhibited relationship with God—in spite of the weakness of our sinful nature. Never is this freedom to be thought of as a license to sin. This amazing privilege endows us with the capacity to make good choices, whereas formerly we did not. We have freely and gloriously been handed everything we need for intimate pursuit of Jesus.
In Romans 6:11, Paul says, “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” This truth has profound meaning for our life right here and now—not merely in the life hereafter. We all lack the ability to live this brand-new life by God’s standards. So Jesus joins us to Himself, blanketing us with His righteousness as He lives His life in us. He lives; you died; you share His life.
In Christ Jesus we have died to sin and are now entirely free from its power. Sharing in Christ’s life is the cornerstone of our relationship with God. Yes, we share in His death, but it doesn’t end there. Being joined to Christ in His death allows us the unique privilege of sharing in His resurrection life. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we too are raised up from our old self into glorious new life in God.
Why would God place humanity into a world controlled by Satan? Without God people don’t have a chance! Demons have no trouble taking advantage of someone’s dead spirit, since people naturally lay themselves open to attack when devoid of the life of God within. Many passages in Scripture make it clear that demons are able to exert powerful influence over the heart, oppressing and sometimes even possessing people.
But what about us? Even with God’s Spirit residing within, our ongoing struggle with the flesh is greatly impacted by Satan’s agenda. We shouldn’t be surprised, though. He never misses an opportunity to present sin as pleasurable—all the while concealing the bondage and misery it always brings. The devil has found fertile ground in mankind through the frailties of human nature. It has allowed him to develop powerful tools for manipulation in his pursuit of destroying us. Let’s face it, he’s had plenty of time to figure us out.
Godliness? How could I ever be thought of as being godly? We often get godliness confused with God’s acceptance. Godliness is a mindset of pursuit—a quest which keeps us constantly engaged in living to please God. But by doing so, are we trying to earn God’s favor? Frankly, yes, that is if it’s His acceptance we’re after. This pitfall can only be avoided by recognizing that it’s impossible to please Him in our own strength.
We must instead entrust ourselves to God’s grace, building on the righteousness which He has already imparted. It’s true that we are commanded to pursue godliness, but this should never stem from trying to become acceptable to God. Rather, it’s a sincere commitment to a walk with Him—rooted, sustained, and perfected through all that He has provided. It’s something we now do because of who we now are.
Standing in our rock-solid hope of God’s amazing grace carries with it the danger of breeding complacency: “Now that I’ve got my ticket to heaven, what more do I need?” Sadly, this is how many Christians view God and His purpose for their life. It’s a self-centered mind-set, since it boils down to little more than making a better life for ourselves here on earth, with the added bonus of a fabulous heavenly life later.
Well, saved is wonderful, but our reconciliation with God encompasses a whole lot more than merely our initial regeneration. Rather, the primary reason for God doing all He has through Christ Jesus is to pave the way for godliness to become the standard of our life in Him. Salvation is merely the starting point. Through redemption, we are provided the framework of choice. And choice by faith is the very heart of our life—and growth in that life—as Christians.
A constant theme in Paul’s writings is freedom from law. But this truth isn’t easy to accept because we instinctively feel the need to work for God’s grace. So time and again we see Christians falling back into works in an attempt to ensure their standing with God. But doesn’t it eem a bit silly that, once being saved, we would willingly abandon our life of liberty?
Think back to what your life was like when Jesus rescued you from your sin. In and of ourselves, could any of us have achieved righteousness in God’s eyes? Of course not! Each and every one of us had to rely totally on Jesus to clean up the mess we’d made of our lives. How, then, could we think that now we might somehow be capable of building relationship with God by our own efforts? Needless to say, it’s impossible in our own strength.