Actually there are several important messages, not just one, from Our Sponsor (Father God) I would like to share in this post. If you have been following along in this series that I now affectionately refer to as ‘Tiara Tilters and Abundance Drainers’ (and even if you haven’t, all of the following is still true for you too because God is awesome like that), I have been focusing on what reigning in life and abundant life DO NOT look like according to God’s Word and how it has played out in my personal experience.
So the first message from Our Sponsor is:
Romans 8:1 (NASB) “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
If you have personally identified with any of the ways I have lived a less than abundant life or recognize anyone that you know in my experience, know this, God is not here to condemn you about all the ways you’ve lived this Christian life wrong. If that were true I wouldn’t make it out of bed each day…oh wait, I’ve done that. But it was only a couple of times :), or three. Please don’t judge me.
Know this too, I am not sharing any of this from a position of self-condemnation. I am sharing as a woman on a journey. I am not where I want to be, but I am not where I was either. I used to live in that place of trying harder, fear, and self-sufficiency (and a hundred other things I will never have time to share and you would never want to read), but now I visit there less often. I still battle my flesh daily, but my automatic, go-to responses for dealing with life are not the same. So please don’t read this and think, “Poor Kim.” While I would prefer to have done this all right the first time around, I realize that our experiences, even the horrendous-don’t-want-to-even-talk-about-try-hard-to-forget ones are all part of the process.
The second message from Our Sponsor is (and I would highly recommend you memorize this because it is life changing):
YOUR FLESH IS NOT WHO YOU ARE!!!
Galatians 2:20 (HCSB) “…and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. “
Just in case I haven’t been clear about this, when I (or anyone else) function in the ways I described above and in previous posts, I am living out of my flesh, as opposed to being led by the Holy Spirit who dwells in me. Trying harder, fear, and self-sufficiency and all of their manifestations were simply coping mechanisms for dealing with the difficult things in life. And just to make it even more clear, EVERYONE does this to some extent. Life is hard. We are frail.
Our coping mechanisms or flesh patterns are what we do, they are not WHO WE ARE. It is very important that we get this distinction. It’s the difference between behavior and identity. As believers in Jesus Christ our identity is in Him.
As a funny/sad side note, about a year ago I really started getting a clear picture of my flesh and the scope of how it has impacted my life. I realized that if someone asked most of the people I knew to describe me that they would do so based on my coping mechanisms. I laughed and cried. I began asking God to show me who I am apart from my coping mechanisms because the truth is I didn’t know. I’ll let you know when I find out because He and I are still peeling that onion together.
The third and final message from Our Sponsor for this post iiiiiissssssss (can you hear the drum roll in the background, a big crescendo and a clash of cymbals?):
OUR FLESH WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO WORK, TO SUCCEED OR GET US THROUGH LIFE!
You know how I know this is true?
Romans 7:5(NASB) “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”
Romans 8:6 (NASB) “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”
John 6:63 (NASB) “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
The Father is all about giving us life. The efforts of our flesh (good flesh or bad flesh, it doesn’t matter) bear the fruit of death. And that my friends was one of the many ways I knew something was seriously wrong…I could smell the stench of rot in my life. Everything I was busy doing or not doing was yielding a whole lot of what I like to call Death Fruit. I dressed that fruit up, I made it look good, but I could never cover up the smell of rotting flesh.
So if you are confused, frustrated, noticing a bad smell following you around, asking God why you ever started reading this series or wondering where you go from here if it’s not supposed to work anyway, STAY TUNED! It gets so much better!
Father, thank You that because of Jesus Christ we don’t live under condemnation, even when we fail or live in ways less abundant than You designed. Thank You that we are not defined by what we do, but who we are in Christ. And thank You that You love us so much that You desire us to live in intimacy with You. I humbly ask that any area of my life where my flesh is propping me up that it would fail so that I can walk in deeper relationship with You.