One Small Change – Walk in the Spirit - Purity 535
Purity 535 09/28/2021 Purity 535 Podcast
Today’s photo of a sunrise over the Atlantic comes to us from a friend’s recent weekend getaway to an undisclosed location on the Maine Coastline where they were able to “unwind and regenerate”. While this photo is of a sunrise with the promise of a new day, I can’t help but feel a melancholy feeling for the loss of summer when I look at this beach scene. We have entered Autumn and not only that but if you haven’t been keeping track we are only a few days away from October!
I didn’t go to the stores this weekend, but I would imagine that the seasonal merchandise is shifting and while Halloween stuff has already been on the shelves I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Thanksgiving and Christmas items are creeping there ways on to the shelves.
The rapidity of the changing months and seasons make it clear to me that we must be intentional in terms of what our goals are and what direction we want to go.
A friend recently shared an article on social media that said in effect that if we want to make a change in our lives, we have to change it. The simple advice was pointing out that although we can desire certain things or conditions in our lives if we don’t take action to procure them we will never experience or obtain them.
The article indicated that wanting change or wishing for change wasn’t enough. The author suggested enacting a plan of action by choosing to choose one new habit or one new change that you could introduce to your life on a daily basis that would contribute to an overall goal of a changed life.
Some of the suggested habits the article mentioned were:
Waking up early.
Giving up alcohol.
Watching less television.
Writing in a daily journal
Cleaning and organizing your home.
And developing a keeping a budget.
As someone who always wanted to make positive changes in my life I know that the advice to add one new change to your life and to do it every day is a good one. After so about 4 weeks of doing a new activity it becomes ingrained in our routine as a habit and we can “keep the change”. So adding a new activity and being diligent about it is important. Your new choice can gradually improve the quality of your life experience and the results and benefits of your choice will be compounded over time.
However, as follower of Jesus Christ on the path of Christian Discipleship, I would recommend that the one habit you introduce to effect change in your life is to establish and develop your relationship with God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ.
I had tried unsuccessfully throughout my life to give up alcohol and to eat healthy and exercise. In the past I would establish a habit in each of these areas and had periods in my life where I enjoyed success but inevitably my mind, will, and emotions would be directed to the unhealthy ways that I had emerged from.
The benefits of the changes I had made were not enough to “change me”. In my mind, I “knew” that I was a person that loved my old ways and even though I had success I had a feeling that I was “living a lie”. I wasn’t a sober person or a healthy person. I really liked to get drunk, overeat, and be lazy. If I wanted to be “true to myself” and be “happy”, I would eventually have to go back to my indulgent ways because that’s who I was.
All my life it was like that, with ups and downs and no stability and no peace.
Well, after I put my faith in Christ, I found the supernatural peace and power that comes from being aligned with the Creator of All things but there is a catch. We can only experience His peace and power if we believe and agree with what the Word of God says in regard to who we are in Christ and how we are to live our lives.
The process of renewing your mind to believe what the Bible says about our identity and changing our behaviors to coincide with our identity in Christ is often called “walking in the Spirit”. When we “walk in the Spirit” we choose to make a new habit of believing what the word of God says about us.
One of the first things that stands out in my experience of the “renewing of my mind” was when I read Romans 8:1 which says:
Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
My mental dialog in the past was filled with condemning thoughts when I indulged the desires of my flesh. While I found pleasure in becoming intoxicated from drinking alcohol or overeating in the moment, I always condemned myself when I felt the pain of withdrawal or the stress of carrying too much weight. The fact that I was powerless to change even though I could see and experience how I was suffering only resulted in more condemning thoughts where I would think of myself as “a drunk”, “stupid”, “weak”, or “bad”. I thought those adjectives described who I was as a person.
But the Holy Spirit revealed to me in Romans 8:1, that while those things may have been true for most of my life, something had changed. I had heard a gospel message and sincerely surrendered to God and put my faith in Jesus Christ. So I was “in Christ” now and this verse and the Holy Spirit in me told me that there was “no condemnation” for me.
Those condemning thoughts were not longer true about me because I had been given a new spiritual life when I placed my faith in Jesus!
But this verse also told me that in order to experience this “no condemnation” I had to “walk in the Spirit” – by believing I had been changed in an instant at my salvation and by living according to the word of God and my identity in Christ.
By simply adding this “one new habit” of agreeing that there was “no condemnation” for me, the Holy Spirit empowered me to walk away from my lifelong dependence on alcohol, my indulgences in sexual immorality, and now has empowered me to transform my body through exercise and changing the way I eat.
So if you want to change your life, you have to change your life. But there is no greater way to change your life than by giving your life to God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and living according to who you are in Christ.
Walking in the Spirit leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit which includes peace, joy, love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control. If you want a change in your life make Christ your Lord and Savior and walk in the Spirit.
Making this one small change will not only lead to benefits to your physical and emotional health. Walking and talking with God in a harmonious relationship that is established with faith in Jesus gives you a new spiritual life that gives you the peace that goes beyond all understanding that results from being forgiven of all your sins, being assured of life eternal in God’s kingdom, and being given the power and purpose to leave behind the condemnation that was inherent in our lives when we walked in the flesh.
So make that one change of turning to God and do it every day. The path of Christian Discipleship may not be an easy road to travel but it leads to the abundant life of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health that God made us to experience.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Proverbs 27:9 (NKJV)
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Today’s verse speaks of the power of friendship to delight us when we receive hearty counsel.
Solomon asked God for wisdom and God made him the wisest man on the earth. Solomon wrote a book. Actually he wrote two: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and they are two of the three books that are considered by Bible scholars to be the “wisdom literature” In the Bible.
While some can look at the book of proverbs and state that it is filled with “common sense”, there really is nothing “common” about it because the source of Solomon’s wisdom was God.
So while today’s verse seems to be a general statement on the value of friendship that is characterized by one in which good counsel is given because of its divine source we should also consider it an instruction that teaches us that we are created to be in relationships with others and that we are to be discerning in choosing friends that give “hearty counsel”.
The word translated “hearty” in Hebrew is “nep̄eš” (neh-fesh) which means: “soul, self, or life,” with the secondary meaning being “that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man”.
So the hearty counsel mentioned in this verse was “soul counsel” – counsel “that breathes” “life” into the “soul”, the inner being of man.
So the friends that we should seek out are the ones who give us the counsel that will breathe life into us, the counsel that is based on the word of God.
So be wise like Solomon and seek out friends that you delight in because your relationship is built on counsel that will breathe life into one another by encouraging one another with the divine wisdom of the word of God.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:
H. How to Communicate Boundary Changes
Following the Rosie Ruiz scandal, numerous racing offiicials have made boundary changes with marathon runners to better ensure ethical behavior on the race course.
Besides increased video surveillance, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Race Timing Systems track where runners are for certain checkpoints. A transponder is attached to the athlete and emits a unique digital code that is picked up by radio receivers along the race course.
Transponders are available in various sizes and shapes and can operate at many different frequencies.
Stronger boundaries are established . . . to foster sure victories.
Scripture directs that honesty and integrity should characterize all that we do. . . .
"For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man."
Life is made up of different seasons that sometimes require transitional conversations in order to ease the discomfort that change often creates. When grown children leave home, and especially when they get married, they are entering into a new season of life that not only impacts them but their parents as well.
It is during these times that relationships necessarily change and therefore need to be redefined. Having loving conversations with parents regarding boundary changes during these periods can be extremely helpful and meaningful, encouraging growth and solidifying the relationship.
Our roles are changing, and we want to proceed with sensitivity and a tender heart. Pick your battles. Show respect and honor.
If you realize that you have not made the separation from your family of origin to your new family, you may need to communicate your boundaries.
your new relationship:
"Mom and dad, I love each of you. I am thankful to have you as my parents. I am thankful that I was raised by you. Now that I am married, I am making a new family. We will communicate with you, visit you, and always love you. But there will be some changes in traditions because I am establishing traditions with my new family."
what is acceptable and what is not:
"It is not acceptable for you to talk with me in that tone of voice." Or, "It is not acceptable for you to talk with my family if you use unkind words or speak in that tone of voice. If you choose to cross this boundary, the repercussion is that we will leave."
from your family of origin:
"I realize this is the way we always did things growing up. We share great memories, and I want many of those same ways for my family. I am married now, and we are creating some of our own ways of doing things that work for our family."
In Your Marriage
Marriage is the union of two people . . . "and the two will become as one flesh" (Mark 10:8). Boundaries are about defining your respective selves.
Marriage can become a fertile ground for boundary issues to sprout and grow if not properly addressed. A healthy marriage consists of two complete people who together create a place of love.
They do not need each other to be complete, but they share a complete love and union between themselves.
what you need:
"I love you and love our time together, but I also need time to be by myself and explore interests of my own."
boundaries about how you will be treated:
"I love you and want our marriage to work, but if you choose to treat me in this way, there will be consequences. If you __________________, I will __________________."
how you want to be talked to:
"I will not be talked to in this hateful way, especially in front of the children. If you choose to speak to me disrespectfully, I will ask you to leave our home until you can speak in a kind voice."
"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband."
In Your Friendships
"I am glad we have so much in common, especially our love of scrapbooking and our faith in Christ."
"It's great that we can get together once a month to share dinner and scrapbooking ideas at each other's home. Let's meet at my house next Thursday."
"I'm sorry you can't meet this week, but Thursday evening is the only time I have available."
"I truly can't meet another day this week, so let's get together at our regular time next month."
"A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17)
In Your Parenting
"You may use your inside voice when you play in our home and your outside voice when you play in the yard."
"You have chosen to __________________, and the consequence is __________________."
for delayed gratification:
"I know you want this toy now, but you will have to wait until you have saved up enough money from doing chores."
"In our home we use our hands to help and love; we do not hit."
"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord (Psalm 127:3 NASB)
In Your Workplace
within the parameters of your job description:
"I was hired to do this job description. I am being asked to do things that are not a part of this job description. I understand when occasional things come up, but it is becoming the >"norm>" and not the exception. If I cannot do my job as defined in my job description, I will need to contact the Human Resources Department."
your work space:
"This is the office area where I need to work. If you would like to come in, please set up an appointment or knock. It's important that you not just walk in because I have much work to do and must finish it when I'm here. Thank you for respecting this boundary so we can work together as team players."
within the boundaries of your hours:
"First, I want you to know how grateful I am for all that I have learned since I've been here and for the opportunity to contribute to (company). I would like to mention an item for your consideration. (State request.) I was hired to work 'X' number of hours per week. I understand when there are occasional emergencies or deadlines. I want to be a team player, but four out of the last six weeks I've worked overtime. I want to keep the boundaries of my work time and family time. I need you to respect this boundary."
"Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation" (Romans 4:4).
Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.
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