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Friday, May 31, 2024

Stand Strong and Firm in His Righteousness

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.

—Ephesians 6:14 (NKJV)



Girding your life with the truth of God’s Word is the first piece of armor you put on. The other pieces of your spiritual armor receive their power from His truth. But God’s Word has no power in your life unless you believe it.


The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. 


You overcome the enemy with the truth that you are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is not enough to know in your mind that you are righteous because of the finished work of Christ. You must believe in your heart that you have received His righteousness and clothe yourself in it. What has happened inside of you must change what happens outside. Believing you are His righteousness protects your heart from the enemy’s deception. When you believe you have received His righteousness and it rules your life, you can freely come to God without being bound by feelings of unworthiness. You never come to God on anything you do. You have nothing to offer. You come to God on the righteousness Jesus gave you, and nothing stands in your way. You believe your prayers will be heard and answered even though the flesh comes against you (Ephesians 5:23-24, Romans 10:10, Hebrews 4:16).


The enemy reminds you constantly of the old person you were, and the Holy Spirit reminds you of the righteousness Jesus has given you. When you pray God’s will from the mindset of the righteousness that is yours in Christ, you believe your prayer is heard and answered (1 John 5:14-15). You believe Jesus has given you a relationship with God. He has given you His complete and perfect work of grace. He has presented you without fault to the Father. He has paid your debt in full, and you are reborn as a new creation by the Holy Spirit in His righteousness. You are now saved, healed, delivered, and sealed in the Holy Spirit (John 10:10, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21, Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 1:13).


When you believe you are righteous in Christ, you know that within your flesh, you are nothing but that in God, you have His power to stand against the flesh. You believe in your heart that His Word is the truth in your life. The righteousness of God has defeated evil. When you walk by faith in His righteousness, you put the power of His righteousness on. The lusts of your flesh are not fulfilled (Galatians 5:16). The righteous power of the new nature you walk in defeats the flesh that battles against you.


In a battle, the enemy reminds you of who you are in the flesh. He reminds you of your failures. You must remind the enemy that those lies and accusations are no longer valid. Jesus has given you His righteousness. You have to cast those lies and accusations down. Having done that, you stand (Revelations 12:10, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Ephesians 6:14).


God never answers your prayers because of anything you have done or will do. He answers your prayers only because you are standing in the righteousness of His beloved Son. He will not answer your prayers according to your holiness or your works but only because of the grace of Jesus. Because of Jesus, there is nothing held against you. You are accepted and loved because of His perfect sacrifice. 


When you look at yourself, it is hard to see Christ’s righteousness. You only see the imperfections of your flesh. But when you keep looking into the truth of your new nature in Christ, you begin to see yourself as His new person. You are renewed in your mind with His truth. As you grow spiritually, the flesh is overcome with His righteousness. Your flesh will not change itself. Changing your behavior with your mind instead of allowing Jesus to change you is only temporary. Only Jesus overcame the flesh once and for all. You are changed by His truth from the inside out. 


Do you remember that prayer—the one you prayed believing, and then time and the enemy came against you?  It is still powerful and answered in Jesus (Mark 11:24). 


Stand firm. You are unshakeable in Jesus. Let the Word renew your mind with God’s Truth (Romans 12:2). Stay focused on the new person Christ has made you, and rebuke the enemy's lies. If you believe the enemy, your heart will condemn you. But God is greater than your heart (1 John 3:20). The Holy Spirit constantly teaches you who you are in Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:13). Are you listening?


Listen to His truth, and yield your mind to the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). Submit yourself to God. Surrender your heart to the authority of God’s truth, and the enemy will flee from the righteousness of God that stands strongly in you (James 4:7).


"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).



Thursday, May 30, 2024

Gird Your Innermost Being


Sometimes, the answers to our prayers are seen immediately; sometimes, they take longer to see. The answers that aren’t seen immediately are the ones the enemy attacks. When you are praying and believing for your promise, remember…


“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth” (Ephesians 6:12-14a, NKJV).


You fight the enemy—not people. He comes against your faith and brings the battle to your mind. You will face discouragement quickly if you aren’t equipped to fight your battle. When you start to believe God’s Truth for something, that is when your battle begins. You don’t just stand against the enemy one time. You stand against him again and again and again. Standing on God’s Truth builds your faith to believe your battle is already won and your promise received.


When you are in a battle, you need to give attention to the armor of God. You can’t just assume that you will automatically have His armor working in you.  You must be proactive and deliberately use what God has given you.  


Ephesians 6:18 says that the purpose of God’s armor is to make your prayers effective. Your strength is found in your unity with Him—spirit to spirit. Your relationship with Him grows stronger from worshiping Him in spirit and Truth (John 4:23, Jude 1:20). Your intimate connection with the Holy Spirit in prayer empowers you to hold on believing in the promise God has given you. 


Paul uses the armor worn by a Roman soldier as an example of God’s armor. The girdle, or the belt, was the first piece of armor that a Roman soldier put on around his waist.  Everything in his armor connected to the belt. The first piece of God’s armor is His Truth. All the other pieces of His armor are connected to His Truth and empowered by His Truth. 


The enemy will tempt you to look at the facts and circumstances of your life instead of trusting “the unseen” of what God says is true. Don’t focus on your circumstances. Be sure you are standing in God’s Truth and not focused on your feelings and the emotions they evoke. Remember “we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). 


“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38, KJV). Life flows from your belly, gut, heart, or innermost being. God’s Truth is spirit and life. It is who you are. Believing God’s Truth girds your innermost being, protecting the fountain of your life in Him.


The enemy will also try to tell you that you will never understand God’s Truth. Don’t let what you don’t know keep you from believing what you do know. Believing in the Truth you do know will, over time, help you understand the Truth you don’t know. 


You shall know God’s Truth, and His Truth shall set you free from any lies you have believed. Those lies keep you from receiving the promises of God’s Truth.  Gird yourself with the Truth you do know, and stand firm. The Word is your authority. No lie can penetrate its Truth. 


The Word is your salvation. Why is the Word the last place so many believers go to in the heat of battle? Know the Word. Believe the Word. And receive its life-giving promises. 


“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord (Isaiah 54:17 NKJV).


God’s Truth overcomes everything that comes against it. It stands against any lie. No weapon shall prevail against it. You shall condemn anything that comes against His Truth in your life. This is your heritage. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).


Renew your mind daily with God’s Truth. His Word will transform how you think until your thoughts are God’s thoughts. Believe His thoughts in your heart (Romans 12:2, Romans 10:10). His Truth protects you from the lies and onslaught of the enemy who tries to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The Word is God’s abundant life working in you to bring forth what the enemy declares impossible (Ephesians 3:20). All things are possible for those who believe (Mark 9:23). 


Are you feeding on God’s Truth? You will reproduce what you feed on in your life. Whatever you feed on is going to come out of you. If you are feeding on the things that are seen in your life, you aren’t feeding on the unseen promises of God. God's Word is Truth, which abides in us and will be with us forever (2 John 2:1). Are you looking at things in your life as temporary and focusing on the eternal Truth of God's Word abiding in you? Are the things you think noble, true, pure, lovely, and worthy of good report (Philippians 4:8)? Look at the promises of God. Look at Jesus. Look at healing. Look at peace. Look at God’s provision. Look at the abundance of God. His paths drip with abundance (Psalm 65:11). At His right hand is joy evermore (Psalm 16:11). Meditate on these things. 


Gird your waist with God’s Truth! Feed on it. It becomes the joy of your heart (Jeremiah 15:16). Absorb it into your innermost being. Without God’s Truth, you have no power. You have no life.  But with it, you live in His Spirit and life (John 6:63). 


“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).




Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Exalting Jesus


Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

—Luke 9:23-24



Jesus instills in each Christian the desire to follow Him, but without denying yourself, you cannot follow Him. Jesus humbled Himself on our account and was obedient to the point of death. He instructs us to surrender our lives to Him. If we are going to experience the new life He has provided for us, we must die to ourselves.


The first step to dying to yourself is acknowledging that you can't save yourself by your own effort and that you cannot manage and direct your own life. You must rely on God and not on yourself. Making decisions without relying on God’s wisdom and direction is trusting your wisdom and ability. It is not putting faith in God. You must step out in faith daily, denying your reasoning and wisdom, and seeking God’s wisdom and direction for your life.


Self-denial is only good when it promotes Jesus and His will in your life. Some people make a religion out of self-denial. With false humility, they sacrifice themselves, but their self-denial leads to legalism and bondage and has no power over the flesh’s indulgence (Colossians 2:23). They find fulfillment in their self-denial rather than in Jesus being the Lord of their lives. In Luke 9:23, we are told not only to deny ourselves but to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.”


Jesus faced the cross. It was the largest “issue” of His life, and He willingly accepted it. There are issues in our lives that, like the cross of Jesus, allow us to die to ourselves each day. This is not an issue, such as sickness, for which Jesus Christ poured out His precious blood for our restoration (Isaiah 53:4-5, 2 Peter 1:24), but rather things like persecution for our faith and the constant war between our flesh and our new nature in our born-again spirit. The cross we must bear is to take God's Word (His will) and exalt it above our own will in each situation daily. 


In Luke 9:24, we are told to give up our lives for His sake. This is not referring to martyrdom as a requirement of our faith. This verse refers back to us denying ourselves and following Jesus. Many people have desired to follow Jesus but have been unwilling to let go of things standing between them and God. We are not fools to give up the things we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose.


Jesus was persecuted and suffered unjustly because of His love for His Father and us. We are to follow the example of Jesus. We should do what is right out of love for God and others (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus obeyed, even to the point of death, and God has exalted Him (Philippians 2:9-11). In the same way, those who are persecuted for honoring God in word and deed will receive a reward (Matthew 5:10-12).


My brother and sister in Christ, Jesus exalted you by humbling Himself to die for you. He gave everything for you. How can you not exalt Him by denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Him?



Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Receiving the Love of the Father


Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. “Your brother is back,” he was told, “and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return." The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, “All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet, when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!”

—Luke 15:25-30 NLT


The Parable of the Prodigal Son is told in Luke 15:11-32. Yesterday, we examined the father's love for the prodigal son who had returned home after sinfully squandering his father’s money. Today, we look at the older son’s relationship with his father.


The father loved his older son just as unconditionally as his younger son, who had returned home. But in the older brother’s mind, you only killed the fatted calf for those who deserved it. However, from the father’s perspective, the fatted calf needed to be killed for his younger son, who had been lost but was now found. The father saw his younger son as deserving of his love.


Grace makes no sense to the natural mind. Astonishingly, God became a man to give His life to the undeserving. That is exactly what the Lamb of God did. He died for those who didn’t deserve it. He died for us—the sinful, corrupt, immoral, ungodly! Even though we were undeserving, He saw us as deserving of His life.


The older brother was not like the younger brother. The younger brother came home believing he didn’t deserve the Father’s acceptance and love. The younger brother had nothing to give but everything to receive. The older brother worked hard to receive what his father would freely give him. He tried to earn what was already his instead of freely receiving the privileges of being his father’s son. While the younger brother received the love the father gave freely, his older brother was a slave to prove he was worthy of the father’s love. His striving produced jealousy, anger, bitterness, and resentment. 


The father wasn’t upset by the elder brother’s unforgiving heart. The father didn’t condemn him for his jealousy and anger, just like he didn’t condemn his younger son for his choices. Just as he had a heart of forgiveness for the younger son, he had a heart of forgiveness for the elder.  The father continued to reach out to the older son with love and grace.


This older brother condemned his younger brother just as the self-righteous condemn those who receive a relationship with the Father through faith instead of their works. He didn’t identify his brother as his brother but called him his father’s son. This reveals a very bad attitude on the older brother’s part. Those who are self-righteous say sinners aren’t worthy of a relationship with God. They are right. But neither are they worthy of God’s love. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our relationship with our Father is a gift, and we have to receive it freely as a gift (Romans 5:15-18).


Those who believe a relationship with the Father is comparable to their work for Him become upset when someone undeserving receives grace (Matthew 20:1-15). They think it isn’t fair. Well, it’s not fair. It’s grace. If the Lord gave us what we deserved, we would all go to hell. When self-righteous people see someone receiving grace they believe isn’t deserved, they see it as God rejecting the work they have done for Him.


The father had always been there for his eldest son. He could have enjoyed a relationship with his father at any time. But the eldest son wasn’t working for his father’s love. He was working for the things he could get from his father. Those who serve God only for what they can get will always be jealous of others who are blessed.


Proverbs 13:10 states that pride causes contention. If the elder brother hadn’t been self-centered but served his father out of love, he would have rejoiced to see his father’s happiness at the return of his son. But in the mind of this older brother, it was all about him and what he deserved. He didn’t want his brother to receive anything he thought belonged to him.


In the same way, people who only serve God because they believe their work earns their heavenly Father’s favor will be jealous of others whom God blesses. Instead of rejoicing at God's blessings for others, they will be upset and question why they didn’t receive that blessing.


Both sons had their father’s unconditional love. The younger son knew he was undeserving, while the elder thought he was deserving. It took the younger son’s sinful loss to bring him back to his father. The younger son was able to receive his father’s love freely. The older son’s attitude revealed the insecurity of a slave trying to earn a place of honor with his master. The father always honored his older son. But the older son had trouble receiving what was freely given by his father.


Are you God’s child who receives His love freely?  Or are you His child who strives to earn His love that is already yours? Your heavenly Father loves you. There is no list you must perform. There is nothing you must do to prove yourself to Him. He desires to fellowship with you. To experience the joy of your relationship with your Father, you must receive His love freely as His beloved child. 


Grace be with you, my friend. May you receive mercy and peace from God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in truth and love (2 John 2:3).




Monday, May 27, 2024

The Lavish Love of the Father


When I tell someone I love their heart, I am telling them I see the love of Jesus in them. How wonderful it is when the Father tells you He loves your heart! He tells you He sees His Son in you and has lavished everything He has on you. 


In Luke 15:11-31, the unrestrained love of our heavenly Father is shown to us in the parable of the prodigal son.  One definition of the adjective “prodigal” is “wastefully or recklessly extravagant.” Another definition is “giving and yielding profusely” or “being lavishly abundant.”


After wasting his life by throwing away his father’s wealth so freely bestowed on him, the prodigal son woke up to his disgusting state. He didn’t wake up to what he had done to his father. His concern was for himself and that he had nothing to eat but swine’s slop. He remembered the servants were well-fed at his father’s estate, so he decided to face his shame and headed home. He rehearsed what he would say to his father. 


“I will arise and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants’” (Luke 15:18-19).


The word “son” in this prepared speech to his father is the Greek word “huios,” which is defined as “having the same nature as the father” and “possessing a legal right to the father’s inheritance.” The prodigal son was planning to tell his father that he didn’t deserve to be his son and have a right to his inheritance. He was saying that he deserved to be treated as a slave. 


The father had always watched for his son to come home. When he saw him approaching, he ran to him and “fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).  With as much unrestraint as the son had wasted his father’s wealth, the father now lavished the son abundantly with compassion. The father profusely gave His love and yielded his heart unconditionally.


The Greek word for “fell” in this verse is “epipipto,” which means to be “embraced with affection.”  The same Greek word is used in Acts 10:44 when the Holy Spirit “fell” on those who had come to Cornelius’ house to hear Peter preach. The Holy Spirit affectionately embraced those who received the message of salvation. The Holy Spirit fell on them and loved them. In just the same way, the father rushed to fall upon and embrace his returning son. The son attempted to give his rehearsed speech, but the father refused to hear it. He told the servants to bring his best robe and put it on his son, to put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet.


The robe the father had the servants put his son on symbolizes Jesus’ robe of righteousness, which He freely gave to us as children of God. He has presented us without fault to the Father, who is now our Father. We have right standing and peace with our gracious and loving Father. We can come to Him without guilt or shame.


The ring the father told the servants to put on the son’s hand was a signet ring. The ring sealed the son as his own and certified that the son, who had been lost and was now found, was still the father’s son with a legal right to all he owned.  


The sandals that were put on his feet indicated the son was not a slave but a son who had the right to come into his father’s presence. 


God had commanded Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. In Moses’ time, a servant removed his sandals in the presence of his master, and a worshipper removed his sandals in the presence of God. By commanding Moses to take off his sandals in His presence, God made it clear to Moses that a chasm separated him from God’s holiness. 


What a great exchange Jesus has made for us! He took the sin that separated us from God and gave us the gift of righteousness. He destroyed the chasm standing between our humanity and God’s holiness. Jesus became God’s holiness in us. Like the prodigal son who came home and received his father’s unconditional love, we can approach our heavenly Father receiving His unconditional love. We can come to Him without fear, guilt, or shame at any time, for any reason.


The father joyously called for the fatted calf to be prepared to celebrate his son’s return. That calf was to be killed right in front of them where they all could see. This reminds us of the Lamb of God slain in plain sight. It reminds us that Jesus lavished His love on us and endured the cross for the joy set before Him. 


You can be saved and not have grown spiritually to have the revelation knowledge of the Father’s love for you. You may believe things in your life make Him not love and care for you. But your Father loves you because He is your Father and not because of anything you do or have done. He loves you because Jesus paid the price you had no way to pay.


Like the prodigal son, have you rehearsed what you will say to the Father? Perhaps you have planned what to say to Him to feel His love or make yourself feel better in His presence. The son came home because of his selfishness and not because of a truly repentant heart. But the father lavished his love on him, and the love of his father overcame the shame of his heart. He hungrily received his father’s love. In the same way, God’s love draws us to Him and overcomes the sin and shame that cannot remain in His presence. You receive all of the Father's love.


You are no longer a slave. You are God's son. Your loving Father doesn’t care what you plan to say to him. He doesn’t care about your explanation. He is SO GLAD you are there with Him. He has clothed you in the robe of His Son’s righteousness. He has put His signet ring on your finger, certifying and declaring that you are His child with full rights to your inheritance. He has put sandals on your feet to let you know nothing hinders you from coming freely, boldly, and without hesitation into His presence.




Holy Spirit, pour your love upon your child. Lavish him, Jesus, with your grace. Embrace his life with your compassion. Lord, defeat the doubt in his heart with your redeeming love, releasing him from guilt and shame. There is nothing for him to do to earn your love. Jesus, you earned your Father’s love for him. You, who had no sin, became his sin and gave yourself without any cost to him. Like the prodigal son, he has nothing to give but everything to receive. Holy Spirit, reveal your truth in his heart. Help him to receive the inheritance of your love that cost you everything.




Thursday, May 23, 2024

Allow His Love

Life is busy, overwhelming, and complicated. We often hurry through our days, missing the opportunities God sends us. However, God's unconditional love changes everything. It comes when least expected. I found this devotional from last spring. It may remind you as it reminded me not to miss the opportunities to love and give freely without expectation.




Yesterday afternoon, I went to the grocery store. I picked up a small carton of cherry tomatoes. It came open and spilled onto the floor. I was going to find someone to clean it up when I realized a young man with Down’s Syndrome was picking up the tomatoes carefully—one by one. 


I offered to help him, but his grandmother encouraged me to let him do it. He worked diligently, concentrating on his project. When finished, he stood up, threw his arms around my neck, and hugged me tightly. Over and over, he said he loved me. He didn’t want to let me go. And, honestly, I didn’t want to let him go either. 


His love was patient, and it was kind. He sought nothing in return. He didn’t seek a hug. He wanted to give one. He was not put out that tomatoes had fallen in his way. He didn’t see them as a problem but as an opportunity. He just wanted to help and to love. He had nothing in him that was capable of being bothered or offended. His love was genuine. It was giving. Uncluttered. Unhurried. Unconditional.  


Life has a way of making love difficult, but love is simple, like the love of this young man. We make it difficult. We allow jealousy and pride to get in the way. We think our way is best and take every chance to press our point. We hold on to things that have hurt us and allow unforgiveness to claim our hearts. 


God’s love is like the love of this precious young man. “It is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:5-7).


Without the simple faith of a child who believes beyond human reasoning, our love will be guarded and careful. We will judge if someone is worthy of receiving our love. Filled with doubts about our right standing with God, we won’t receive and freely share love. Our feelings will rule us. Our lives will be cluttered with fear, hurt, and bitterness. We will rush through life missing the opportunities to love unconditionally as we have been loved.


“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).


This young man might have been considered more of a child, but he was more of a man of understanding than most who are chronologically challenged. He freely believed and received all things. Nothing stood in his way.


It is time for us to grow up and allow the new person we have become in Christ to change us. Never frustrate the grace of Jesus. Freely love and give without expectation. Freely respond when others love you. Be free in the love that is yours in Christ. Allow His love to be who you are.



Wednesday, May 22, 2024

You Are His Masterpiece


For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready.


—Ephesians 2:8-10 AMP



Praise God for His wonderful compassion and favor on us! Jesus has delivered us from judgment for our sins and given us eternal life through His finished work of grace! We never could have saved ourselves. It is only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus that we are saved and not through our own efforts. It is only Christ within us who produces good works.


We are God’s masterpiece—His work of art! We were created in Jesus, reborn a new creation in Him, spiritually made new, and ready to be used for His good work. Our attempts to live a perfect life do not give us right standing with God. We are incapable of proving ourselves to Him. Only Christ receives all the credit for our salvation. We only receive right standing with God through faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work of grace. 


Before we were reborn as new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we had nothing to offer God.  We were spiritually bankrupt and totally dependent upon our own efforts. But when we were born again, we, who had been spiritually bankrupt and dependent upon ourselves, became the righteousness of God in Christ. We, who had been focused on our completely insufficient efforts to receive God’s righteousness, suddenly, when we were saved, received all the righteousness of God. We no longer had to prove ourselves to win God’s love through what we did. Christ had won God’s love for us by what He had done. 


When we are saved, we are “remade” new in Christ. No longer are we “self-made” people. Now that we are saved we should no longer continue to “remake” ourselves. We are born again as new creations in our spirits (John 3:6). We are His workmanship. Any good thing in us is a product of His grace. We can’t save ourselves. The role we play is either acceptance or rejection. We either surrender to His love or we refuse Him in our pride. Pride in our good works—boasting in our salvation by our good works—is as absurd as a work of art boasting that it has created itself.


Good works cannot create a new nature, but a new nature should create good works. There is a huge difference between being saved “by” good works and being saved “for” good works (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV). Our good works do not gain us salvation, and our good works do not keep us saved. But our good works do confirm that we have received salvation. 


“He has qualified us [making us sufficient] as ministers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not of the letter [of a written code] but of the Spirit; for the letter [of the Lawkills [by revealing sin and demanding obedience], but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6, AMP).


The letter of the law kills our faith in Christ. The law reveals sin and demands our efforts to make things right with God. But Jesus has justified us. He has made us right with God and presented us as new creations without fault to His Father (Ephesians 1:4). We have received the seal of the Holy Spirit, and our right standing is assured (Ephesians 1:13). We are no longer held captive by our own efforts to win God’s love. We are free to receive God’s love. 


If righteousness had come through the law, there would have been no need for Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (Galatians 2:21). There would have been no need for a “new” you. Your works would have made you righteous. But you were not made to save yourself. The “old” you had no chance without Jesus. The “new” you has no chance to be your identity when the “old” you still determines your life. 


You need to know this masterpiece—this newly reborn “you” Jesus has created. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind to know your new nature born in true righteousness and holiness. Put on your new identity (Ephesians 4:23-24). You have been crucified with Christ. It is not you who lives, but Christ who lives in you. You live this “new” person by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you and gave His life for you (Galatians 2:20, KJV). 


You do not need to prove you are God’s masterpiece. You already are His masterpiece. You are created in Christ Jesus, reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and ready to be used for good works that God has already prepared for you. 


The capacity for His good work is within you. Do you desire to be used for His good purpose? Have you surrendered your own efforts? Are you determined to take God's path and live the good life He has planned for you? 

Live by faith in Him. It is Christ who lives in you.



Tuesday, May 21, 2024

People of Faith



Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

—Hebrews 11:1


People who know who they are in Christ are people of faith. They never forget the unconditional love of Jesus that has set them free. Their identity isn’t based on the opinions of others or on circumstances that keep changing. Their identity is based on the redeeming and unchanging work of Christ.


People of faith know how God sees them—chosen to be His—redeemed and forgiven by Him—blameless and right with Him—loved and accepted by Him—abundantly blessed by Him—victorious in life and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. They know the Grace of Jesus has given them a wonderful inheritance of every spiritual blessing. They are confident that their lives will work according to God’s plan and purpose (Jeremiah 29:11-13, Ephesians 1:1-14). They know the truths of who they are in Christ and that His identity is theirs.


People who know who they are in Christ aren’t just satisfied with the status quo. They are hungry to understand the truths of everything Jesus finished for them. They know what God has for them is abundantly more than they ask. It is greater than they envision. They believe and walk by faith as if that vision is already accomplished (Ephesians 3:20).


People who know who they are in Christ are convinced of God’s unconditional love for them. They know He never leaves or forsakes them (Hebrews 13:5). They don’t live by their emotions. They praise Him for what they can’t see but believe. The peace of God holds them steady through the ups and downs of life (Philippians 4:6-7). Confidence in the faithfulness of God gives them the power to stand strong. The love of God abounds in their lives because they know God loved them first—even before they chose to receive His love (1 John 4:19). They receive God’s unconditional love without any hesitation and freely give as they have received (Matthew 10:8).


People who know who they are in Christ know God wants to reveal himself to them—that He has given them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17). They believe the Holy Spirit guides them into all truth, and He will tell them of things to come (John 16:13).


People who know their identity in Christ know how important it is for them to live by faith. Faith calls for our response (James 2:26). Faith without works has no life. Our work, born of faith in what Jesus has done for us, pleases God. And God rewards those who diligently seek to know who they are in Him (Hebrews 11:6). 


When you are a person of faith, you know God isn’t judging you on how well you perform. When Jesus is in your heart, Jesus is who God judges. God judges Jesus as righteous. Jesus has given you His righteousness. So when God sees you, He sees the righteousness of His Son in you. When you are a person of faith, you know you don’t have to earn the righteousness Christ has earned. Knowing who you are in Christ—believing the position He has given you with the Father, sets you free to believe anything is possible with God. 


People of faith are thankful for all Jesus has given them. When you appreciate what Jesus has given you, it keeps appreciating and flourishing in your life. You know the value of what He has done for you. 


People of faith believe and receive by faith what is theirs in Jesus Christ. From the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been receiving it (Matthew 11:12). People of faith don’t allow the enemy to rob them of God’s purpose and blessings. Satan has been stripped of all power and authority by the precious blood of Jesus. However, the enemy isn't going to give up deceiving and lying to you. His purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). People of faith forcefully stand against the enemy’s deception. They forcefully, determinedly, and unswervingly take by faith the victory the precious blood of Jesus purchased on their behalf.


When you seek who you are in Christ, then you begin to understand the resurrection power of the new life Christ has given you. What Christ accomplished became yours when you were born again. You see His work for you as finished. 


Faith is the substance of Jesus’ abundant life that you hope for. It is the evidence of what you have not yet seen. Learn who you are in Christ. Be renewed in your mind. Sow the truths of His identity in your heart until you believe they are the truths of who you are. And don’t walk as the world or anyone else defines you. Be a person of faith. Take what is yours in Christ. Walk by faith in who Jesus says you are.



No Longer An Outcast

    “For I will restore  heal th to you and  heal  you of your wounds,” says the  Lord , “because they called you an  outcast   saying:  “Th...