Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Abiding In Victory

by Donna L. Watkins

When we accept Christ as our Savior we now there's something different inside because God's spirit has been quickened within us as we had an implant of the DNA of the Creator of the Universe. Our spirit is now resting in all the joy it was designed to have. We want to know all about God and the Bible and Jesus and how to please Him.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Psalm 139:10
God Will Uphold Us With HIs Victorious Right Hand
Well ... that is we do if we've not only mentally accepted Christ from a fearful message about salvation being the way to avoid Hell. There are many churches that preach God's love and desire to bless us without mentioning our love towards Him which creates a relationship to receive those blessings.

God loves us no matter what we look like or what we've done and that love caused Him to be willing to sacrifice His Son who was part of Him, so I picture it that God gave us part of Himself, His very life, to come to earth and rescue us from this sin-driven world that the Bible says is ruled by Satan (John 12:31). That's a love that takes a lot of pondering to absorb into the heart, so as not to be satisfied with it being just a mental fact.

Our spirit desires to grow and learn how to once again control the soul and body while we live on this earth in the flesh. In the Garden, Adam and Eve's spirits controlled their thoughts and actions. Our body doesn't make a move without our mind having a thought first. That's a good thing since you wouldn't want to climb over a balcony rail on the 50th floor and drop to the sidewalk below before you could convince your body not to do that. We may be out of control in some areas of life like I was with chocolate.

I wanted to stop eating chocolate because the sugar gave me mood swings and the caffeine factor played with my energy and brain. I tried all kinds of ways to quit chocolate, but the fact was that I desired it more than I wanted to quit. I didn't take captive any thoughts about chocolate (2 Cor. 10:5) . Actually one thought took my mind right down the same road it always went until I purchased chocolate. I didn't keep chocolate in the house, but I never changed my mind about it. My mind believed I wanted chocolate and my body complied.

That's not how God made us to be, but the Fall allowed sin (not being spirit-led, but soul-led) to enter into all mankind because Eve and Adam allowed pride to be in control that day when they walked outside of God's commandment to them. The result was that they died spiritually. What finally got me free of chocolate in 1998 was making a choice that my soul did not like. You can read that story in the referenced article below.

We have free will and only we can choose to allow our spirit up to have control over our soul (mind, will and emotions) so that what we do and where our bodies go are determined by God's desire for us. We truly must die daily as Jesus said:

Mark 8:34-35 - "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Brookgreen Gardens, SC
Christ never told his disciples to make converts; His command was that they make disciples (Matt. 28:19). Taking up our own cross is to place our soul structure on a cross and sacrifice it, just as Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. To keep from living in sin daily, this is what we must do. Jesus' death has provided us with forgiveness of all our sin, but Paul tells us we don't continue to sin just because grace abounds to forgive us (Romans 6:2). Disciples are disciplined ones. mentions a definition of "any follower of Christ" and/or "a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another."

To be a follower of Christ or adhere to His doctrines, we have to know them. We have to dig into the Bible and get a good concordance to understand the deeper meaning and get to know the Truth that sets you free. Many churches are providing all kinds of topic small groups with books and theoretical discussions, but only the Word offers lasting change. Jesus said, "If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" (John 15:7). I guess that sounds a bit too simple because it's not being promoted in many realms of Christianity these days.

Let me share a story from Dutch Sheet's book, Becoming Who You Are - Embracing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

He was talking about the rewards of abiding in the Word and he began to think of all those he knew who were clearly bearing fruit in certain areas of their lives. He says,

"I thought of a young man who had been horribly scarred by drugs. He'd used so many that his mind was "fried" - damaged. He gave his heart to Christ and immediately began to immerse himself in God's Word. And I do mean immerse - he spent hours every day reading, meditating upon, memorizing, and speaking Scripture. Sure enough, after a few months, not only was this young man completely free of any temptation toward drugs, his mind was completely healed. In fact, I'd say he was brilliant."

How about another story from Dutch?

"I recalled another young man who'd come out of a lot of bad "stuff" - he was a really good sinner. Not only did he get free of the sin strongholds in his life through abiding in God's Word, but he experienced a freedom of a completely different kind: He was set free from a poverty mentality. Coming from an extremely poor background, he firmly believed he would always be poor. And he was proving it. He couldn't keep a job, was always lacking money, never had anything nice - you get the picture.

Then he heard a man speak on true prosperity, being blessed by God to be a blessing. So he found several Scriptures on God's provision, sowing and reaping, etc., and began to feed and meditate on them. He did this for days, then weeks and months. You guessed it. Before long that stronghold was broken and in its place was an incredible faith for finances. He became one of the most prosperous men I know ... and one of the biggest givers."

I could relate to that a lot since I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country where poor seemed to be equated with spirituality living among the Mennonites and Amish. We always lived in an apartment and the family members I was close to were very frugal, although I didn't know if we were poor since I didn't do without anything or I simply didn't know that I was supposed to have it.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
I do believe being frugal in many ways is linked to spirituality because waste was never in Jesus' mentality. I marvel at how he had the disciples gather up the crumbs of bread after feeding the crowd from the five loaves of bread and two fish. Here's the Son of God that can make food appear at will, yet He left this example for us as a model.

We made it a household rule to never wasted food in our home and when people say, "what's the big deal, it's not like you can send it to starving children," I would say, "Yes, you can feed starving children if you don't waste." You pay for what is wasted and if it wasn't wasted you could have the funds to sponsor starving children or give to organizations that work in that field.

My husband's family spoke a lot about growing up in poverty so when we heard about a "poverty mentality" we thought it warranted some study. For the same reason as the man above, we got excited about wanting to be able to give more and truly make a difference for "our neighbor" as Jesus called everybody else. Over the years the combined effort of being frugal and soaking in the Word about money, we were also able to make our dreams come true in the areas of giving.

The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil (I Tim. 6:10) and I have wondered if we can remain in poverty because of the fear of a love of money. The rich young ruler that came to Jesus and went away sad at not being able to obey His Words (Mark 10:17-27) is an example that would feed that fear. I often wonder what the world would look like if all Christians could manage finances well enough to be able to have a world without starvation.

Such dreams are surely also the dreams of God. I know that Jesus wants us to live victorious lives because He has paid the price to win the victory. Our part is to stand in it by abiding in Him and His Word abiding in us. The only thing that allows us to make a spirit choice is to abide in His Words. Have you asked yourself lately what you're abiding in? How much time do you meditate on the Word?

When you have a problem, do you find a Scripture to write down, meditate on, memorize and instill into your soul to rewrite a belief that is not based on Truth? Why are there so many people walking around with stacks of self-help books? Have they forgotten that Christ said He would leave us with the Helper (John 14:26)?

Read and absorb John 15. If you're running to shop or overeat, read the entire book of John over and over again until you fully comprehend the love that God has for you, then nothing else will satisfy. I pray peace and joy to flow in and through you at all times. Take the victory won for you and stand in it!

Related Article:
My No-Chocolate Anniversary (this was written two years ago)

Related Websites:
The Frugal Life
The Frugal Life News

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