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Showing posts with label Sanctification. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sanctification. Show all posts

Monday, March 11, 2024

Our Future Hope - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 23 - Purity 1296


 Our Future Hope - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 23 - Purity 1296

Purity 1296 03/11/2024 Purity 1296 Podcast

Purity 1296 on YouTube: 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of a blue sky ocean view comes to us from an unknown FB friend who originally shared this scene from the end of a dock or pier on social media on or around February 19, 2021. If this “crystal blue” vision is yours, give me a heads up and I’ll update the blog to give you the photo credit you so richly deserve.

Well, It’s Monday and I share scenes like today’s photo to encourage my friends to go out and enjoy their lives and to remember the moments of joy they had to help them make it through the times that weren’t so good.  When you are going through trials it’s good to remember moments of joy from our past for two reasons.  1.  They tell us that life hasn’t always been as bad as the problems we are currently experiencing. And 2. They give us the hope that someday in the future we can have similar joy-producing moments where our current problems are things we have overcome and left in the past. 

Similarly, and more importantly, when we are going through trials we can remember when God has helped us in the past and we can put our faith in His promises that assure us that He is working all things together for good and, if we are in Christ, regardless of the outcome of the particular situations we are moving through, we are assured of a “good end” in that we will one day experience what it means to live with God.   The promise we have for eternity is spoken of in:

Revelation 21:3-4 (NKJV) where we are assured:
3  … "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

No more, death, sorrow, crying, or pain…. Oh brother and sister -that’s our destiny. Let’s not forget that and rejoice right now because when we hold on to that truth nothing and no one can take away our hope for better days to come. We just have to keep on walking and talking with God until we get there.  

And what better time to draw close to the Lord than right now in the season of Lent? And speaking of Lent….

It’s the twenty-third day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 23

I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith.

Because holiness has begun and is growing daily, we await the time when our flesh will be put to death, will be buried with all its uncleanness, and will come forth gloriously and arise to complete and perfect holiness in a new, eternal life. Now, however, we remain only halfway pure and holy. The Holy Spirit must always work in us through the Word, granting us daily forgiveness until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness. In that life there will be only perfectly pure and holy people, full of integrity and righteousness, completely freed from sin, death, and all misfortune, living in new, immortal, and glorified bodies.

Biblical Wisdom

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 10-15 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       If, as Luther suggests, both the capacity to believe and the content of our faith are pure gifts of grace given by the Holy Spirit, what if any is the role of human effort in our relationship with God?

Although we are saved by the grace of God and given the ability to repent by the power of the Holy Spirit, the role of human effort in our relationship should not be dismissed. God brings us into his kingdom but after we are saved He invites us to do our part in our relationship with Him by actively renewing our minds with His word and making efforts to align our lives with His principles for living by repenting of our former ways and crucifying our flesh to abstain from sin and to do good works for His kingdom.  Any Christian knows that although they are given the joy of their salvation after putting their faith in Jesus, they still have free will and can still be led into temptation and sin. So it is our responsibility to make the daily decision to forsake our former ways of thinking and acting and choose to follow God with the way we live.  The degree to which we choose to follow is our decision and the more effort we put forth to know God and to represent the kingdom the more that God will teach us, bless us, and lead us into becoming the people He created us to be.  

·       Why is the daily forgiveness of sins so central to the work of the Holy Spirit?

The daily forgiveness of sins is so central to the work of the Holy Spirit because we are imperfect sons and daughters of God who still sin and we need the assurance of our forgiveness and the comfort that the Spirit brings to us so we will not condemn ourselves and instead will persist in our efforts to become more and more like Jesus, to grow progressively in our sanctification and in finding our purpose in Christ.

·       What does it mean to say that “the Holy Spirit must always work in us through the Word”?

The Holy Spirit must always work within us through the Word because it is by the wisdom of the Word of God that we learn what our new lives are supposed to look like. The word renews our minds by causing us to know the truth about who we are and how we are to live. The Holy Spirit illuminates the scriptures, so the word convicts us and enlightens us. The Holy Spirit encourages and empowers us to repent based on the wisdom of God’s word.

Psalm Fragment

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12.

Journal Reflections

·       Have you experienced a longing to be “perfectly pure and holy”? If so, describe the longing in your journal. How has this longing impacted your life? If not, Can you imagine what it might be like to have such a longing?

I have experienced the longing to be perfectly pure and holy. You don’t forsake sexual sin unless you have that desire and amazingly the Lord will bless your efforts to be pure and holy by giving you the power to overcome the sins of the flesh if you ask Him for help, lean on His strength, and follow Him into righteousness.  This longing has changed my life – can you honestly say, “no sexual sin in my life”? I can. And it is only by the grace and power of God that I can do so, While I have victory in that one area, there is still room to grow – food addiction is an ongoing struggle, frustration and it driving me into swearing is a real present concern, but I can imagine that if I continue to surrender to the Lord, He will help me to grow in these areas too.

·       How often do you read the Bible and spend time in prayer? Does it feel like enough time?

I would normally say I read the Bible every day because I normally do. Ironically, this 40 Da Journey with Martin Luther and my current “March Madness” as the Freedom in Christ Course I am leading is coming to a close has gotten in the way of my normal Bible study but in truth I am getting lots of scripture through that. As for my prayer life, I spend 15-20 minutes in dedicated prayer every morning and have an ongoing conversation with God throughout my days.  And no, I don’t think I will ever feel that I have enough time for these two spiritual disciplines.

·       Do your devotional practices sharpen both your sense of sin and your joy in God's forgiveness?

Yes, my devotional practices convict me in areas where I need to grow, and they cause me to rejoice over my relationship with God and the fact that I am forgiven and free in Christ.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that your congregation will faithfully preach Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that more will be called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified in the one true faith.

I pray that my church will faithfully preach Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that more will be called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified in the one true faith.  Show us the truth and lead us in holiness, O Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Prayer For Today

Come, Holy Spirit, enliven my faith today, show me the depth of my sins and the glory I receive in the forgiveness of my sins.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
19  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Today’s verses fall under the tenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

10. Do not lay up earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.

Today’s verses are the word of Jesus and He teaches us to value the things we do for the kingdom of God rather than the things of this world . This should impress upon us the importance of following the Lord with the way we live.  Although this world may judge us by the wealth we have and the things we own, God values the things we do for His kingdom. So let’s not be obsessed with the material things but concern ourselves with the spiritual treasures that come from the things we do for and with God.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

EVENING READING: LUKE 12

“Do not seek what you should eat or what you should
drink, nor have an anxious mind.”
– Luke 12:29

What a message for today! When men and nations in the world are very nearly beside themselves with anxiety.

“Do not seek,” said the Lord, “what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.” And previously, “Consider the ravens, they neither sow nor reap … and God feeds them… . Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass … how much more will He clothe you” (Luke 12:24-28)?

To live in anxiousness is a definite sin. For it is rank faithlessness and what is not of faith is sin.

Father, give me the faith of the raven and lily.
Amen.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Hey CHIEF, You Have BEEN Set Free! - Purity 1249

Hey CHIEF,  You Have BEEN Set Free! - Purity 1249

Purity 1249 01/16/2024 Purity 1249 Podcast

Purity 1249 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun setting on the horizon of a large unknown body of water comes to us from a similarly unknown Facebook friend who shared this serene scene on social media on or around June 22nd, 2023, causing me to save it for today’s use.  If this photo is yours, give me a heads up and I will give photo credit to where photo credit is due by updating the blog after the fact.  

Well, It’s Tuesday and I wanted to clean house by liberating another photo from my phone’s photo gallery, but can I tell you, it’s even more liberating to talk to my brothers and sisters in Christ about experiencing their freedom in Christ by sharing what the Lord has done for me.  

Last night, I hosted the second meeting of the Men’s Freedom in Christ course and although I was encouraged by the return of the faithful who showed up, we had three empty spots on our Zoom screen that were occupied last week.  While the NFL playoff games, busy schedules, and prior commitments could explain those empty spots, I have to wonder if their absences are the product of demonic interference that could subtly suggest that these men didn’t need the Freedom in Christ course, that it was a waste of time, or was something they just didn’t want to go through with.  

In my initial presentation, I didn’t hold back in declaring the full scope of the freedom that was possible when you follow the Lord. I gave testimony of how the Lord set me free from alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality, and food addiction (still fighting that one – and despite a weekend indulgence – I’m still winning) and I declared that what the Lord had done for me was possible for them.   

But change is hard and the idea of freedom and the reality of actually walking in freedom can be two different things, and sometimes the enemy will influence Christians to believe that purity or freedom are nice ideas but just aren’t possible in the “real world”.     

Yesterday, we went over the lesson on our identity in Christ, and I attempted to encourage the men to understand that the things on the Who I am in Christ list weren't just doctrinal or theological principles, they are spiritual realities that can manifest in the real world if they accept them in their hearts and minds and decide to live according to the truth.    As compelling as the material is in making the case that Christians are no longer sinners – but are saints, albeit who sometimes sin,  those ingrained beliefs about ourselves can be hard to throw off and even though I thought the lesson dealt with this issue adequately, I quickly learned that the renewing of the mind is a process and these new ideas may take some time to get used to.  

One of the men actually did a “Bill Clinton” on me, by asking about Paul’s statement in

1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV) where He said:
15  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

Although Bible scholars point out that Paul is likely referring to his past sins rather than a current degenerate lifestyle (he was spreading the gospel and building churches. He was in prison for his faith – not his sinful life – after all),  This man pointed out that “Paul didn’t say, I was a sinner, he said “I am” a sinner.  

This man’s question was a good one, but if we recall the enemy’s tactics in the garden of Eden (did God say?), I have to wonder where his heart is or where his head is because his question is the devil’s advocate for a permissive attitude toward sin.  

The logic goes like this. Well, Paul is the chief sinner – so sin is okay – or impossible to overcome.  This argument is usually backed up by the “sinners saved by grace crowd” with Romans 7, or

1 John 1:8 (NKJV) that says
8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 

But these same Bible verse cherry pickers ignore the fact that the whole counsel of the word of God encourages us to repent and to say no to sin and to become more and more like Jesus – who didn’t sin.  Right?  

Oh and Paul, The Chief Sinner right?  He also said:

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NKJV)
3  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;

Not only does Paul clearly say that God’s will for us is to be sanctified – to be holy – stop sinning – he is specific to include the sin that trips most people up – sexual immorality.  

Instead of see the big picture of trying to follow Jesus’ sinless example into a lifestyle of progressive sanctification (it progressive for us – we need to walk and grow into it – only Jesus was sinless), this man’s question was about the verb tense of the original Greek word that somehow would create a loophole through which we could be a Chief Sinner -  Nonsense! 

And that’s what happens, when we refuse to FOLLOW the Lord – when we refuse to see our sin as something that needs to stop – or that gets overly concerned with arguments over doctrine. 

“What if someone points this verse out and says they don’t have to stop sinning?”

Well, point to the rest of the book, maybe? Maybe?  Point to Jesus, maybe – the one who was without sin?   Oh and remember, even though we are trying to walk in His footsteps WE ARE NOT JESUS  - so did Paul sin, yes – but nothing from scripture indicates that he was walking in darkness.  This is a big problem amongst Christians – we think we have to be perfect – when we can’t be – that’s why we need Jesus – our best efforts won’t be good enough, ever.  Try as we might but we will sin – either by doing something or failing to do the good we could – which is also sin.   

But gross sins – like sexual immorality and drunkenness – a couple of my favorites -  those can be overcome – they can be repented of, and you can be set free from them, by the Lord’s power in your life.   

So don’t get it twisted and look at verb tenses to excuse your failure to trust in the Lord to help you to repent.   Instead walk in the power of a close personal relationship with God where your motivation to be cleansed from sin comes from the love that you have for the One who was sinless and gave up His life so you could live, not in the darkness of sin and shame, but in the light of life that is pure and peaceful.  

So keep on walking and talking with God and follow the Lord into the progressive life of goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, peace, joy, love, and self-control that you will find from walking in the Spirit.

 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Comfort.

Isaiah 40:10-11 (NLT2)
10  Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11  He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

Today’s verses fall under the 19th point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Comfort.

19.     The Lord tends his flock like a shepherd.

 

Today’s verses encourage us that the Lord is coming in power and He will rule and reign like a shepherd who lovingly provides and cares for His flock.  

These are messianic verses, pointing to Jesus’ millennial reign where he will rule forever and ever, Hallelujah!  

God will punish evil, but He will carry those of us who put their faith in Jesus with love and will lead us in the way we should go.  So until He picks us up, let’s follow the Good Shepherd’s voice that is heard in our spirit and written in the word of God.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MATTHEW 9

“It was never seen like this.” – Matthew 9:33

What a difference the presence and power of the Lord Jesus makes! This chapter, in itself, contains a remarkable record of Christ's miraculous power:

       He cured one sick of the palsy.

       He cured the bloody issue.

       He raised Jairus' daughter.

       He gave sight to the two blind men.

       He cast the Devil out of the dumb man.

This amazing demonstration of power called forth, from the marveling multitudes, the very true statement and testimony: “It was never seen like this.” And yet, there is no limit to the power of the Lord Jesus. It is beyond man's finite comprehension. What He did in each of these five cases recorded here, He can do in the life of any man. In fact, to use the words of another, “It is yet to be seen what God can do with the man … wholly surrendered to Him.”

 

What joy the promise of my Savior:
“You will see greater things than these” (John 1:50).[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course - Lesson 5 - Ascension

 I have decided to launch the next lesson of the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course.  As I stated previously:  "I developed the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course in 2020 as part of my master’s thesis in Christian Counseling to “fill in the gaps” of the Christian Twelve Step/Celebrate Recovery – Teaching Curriculums by introducing concepts of Christian Discipleship that I found important in my walk of faith and in my recovery over alcohol, drugs, sex addiction, and food addiction."

We hope it encourages you to follow Jesus and to overcome any hurts, habits, and hang-ups that still persist in your lives. 

God Bless You All,

M.T. Clark


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Listen to the podcast: Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course - Lesson 5- Ascension Podcast

Or Watch it on YouTube: 



CFDC Lesson 5:  Ascension 

Discipleship Principle 5 – After having won a victory in one area of our lives in our recovery, we will seek to take back more enemy territory as we surrender more to the Lord to be cleansed and hope to claim new freedom and healing, by faith.

Galatians 5:1, 5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage… 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 

 

Part of our spiritual journey of recovery, or discipleship, includes monitoring ourselves and changing our behavior and thoughts as we see our old patterns threaten to re-emerge through old triggers that still want to get a response.  Whether these triggers are just the flesh or are a temptation from the enemy, our tactic is to resist temptation by asking God for help, standing on the truth of His word, remembering who we are in Christ, and by choosing to walk out the freedom that Christ has won for us by faith. 

2 Thessalonians 2:13  says that…”God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

However although we have gained a measure of victory over a stronghold of addiction or other hang-up or hurt that sent us to recovery, we begin to realize that the primary stronghold we have overcome may have only been a symptom of a larger problem or just a part of a whole host of problems.  So, since we have victory over one stronghold that was a major problem in our lives, what should we do with the other issues that remain? 

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Twelve-step groups recognize this issue and encourage their participants to continually use their framework to progressively break these additional strongholds. For the Christian, the decision to progressively seek more freedom can transform one’s life but our efforts have to be empowered by our faith and the two things that only the Christian has – The Holy Spirit and the Mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:12,14, 16 (NLT2)
12  And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 14  But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them, and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 16  ….But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

This lesson is an expansion on the concept that we are to keep “working the Steps” but it focuses on our faith and how we can grow through the renewing of our mind with the word of God and how the Lord blesses our decision to trust and follow Him.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Scripture states that we are to surrender our bodies and minds to the Lord and as we do, we will progressively know God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will for our lives.

 So what Truths can our “Mind of Christ” and the Holy Spirit help us to understand and to be transformed into Victors rather than Victims,  to be the people God created us to be?

Ascension – The Upward Call  

The key to a spiritual solution to any problem is that we must have faith in the process and in the power, authority, and willingness of God to change us. If God decrees it, we must obey His commands. If He said, “It is finished.”, we must believe that it has been done.  He gave us victory in one area. We must have faith to maintain that victory and use His help to win more and become the people He made us to be.================================================================

Christian Recovery: Changed or Cured?

As Christians, our solution goes beyond the flesh and mind. Our solution is empowered by the Holy Spirit, and results in eternal life. Christ is the Healer. We have the ultimate victory in Christ, and we can have progressive victory over sin and negative states of mind in our lives. Christians have been given new life, so we need to choose to believe it, pursue it, and live it out.

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christian disciples are not in recovery, they died. Through their death and resurrection with Christ, they are cured but they need to have more faith in God than in their addiction or old narratives of dysfunction.  They have been given the power to overcome by faith. They need to choose to believe the truth about their freedom.  

Sanctification by Faith Christians need to stand in what we believe.  God leads us not into temptation, the enemy does. We “fight” temptation with our faith that says our old stronghold no longer has a hold on us.  We “fight” depression, anger, anxiety, and low self-esteem with the truth of our identity in Christ.  Our battles are won in the mind of Christ and through the Spirit. It is faith in Christ’s finished work and our acceptance of our new identity rather than effort that brings victory. 

Acts 15:8-9 (NKJV)  So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Spiritual Warfare – The Truth will Set You Free – Three Steps to Freedom Over Sin

As for our freedom over sin, we prove this easily by saying “no” just one time to sin. We have all done this but the most effective means of our continual victory over our sin is through knowing the truth about sin, knowing who we are in Christ, and having love for God.  

So, we need to change how we think about our sin to make sinning unnatural and undesirable to us and thus easier to say no to, but we must also accept the identity of one who has been set free and who is in love with God, who set him free.

1.    First, we need to honestly look at our sins, by looking at the negative consequences and the emotions that result from falling back into them. One strategy I heard that someone at AA used was to ask the question, “What then?”, whenever he was tempted to drink. He would imagine all the bad consequences that taking a drink could result in and would see logically that drinking was not what he wanted to do.  He saw the truth that getting drunk was not a good thing and he could choose to say no to drinking.

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2.. Finally, we need to think about our relationship with God. We must continually talk to and thank God for saving us and changing us. We need to thank Christ for dying for us. We need to pray to God for strength to not give in. We must think of sin as a betrayal of the One who gave us everything and refuse to do it.

We need to place our relationship with God above any sin and value Him more than our old selfish desires.

We need to love God so much that the thought of falling into sin is unthinkable. 

3. Finally, we need to think about our relationship with God. We must continually talk to and thank God for saving us and changing us. We need to thank Christ for dying for us. We need to pray to God for strength to not give in. We must think of sin as a betrayal of the One who gave us everything and refuse to do it.

We need to place our relationship with God above any sin and value Him more than our old selfish desires.

We need to love God so much that the thought of falling into sin is unthinkable. 

The Three Steps to Freedom Over Sin is not just positive thinking. This three-step process is speaking the truth.  It exposes the truth of sin, the truth of who we are in Christ, and the truth of our love for God. This is the application of the truth against our hurts, habits, and hang-ups to set us free indeed.  This is the truth that leads us out of the darkness never to return.

Spiritual Warfare – A World War Campaign

In our daily inventory, rather than maintaining our hold over the ground we have conquered. It is time to take new ground and let the Lord heal the underlying issues that led to our habits and hang-ups.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The more we come to live our identity in Christ, the more negative mental states fall away.

·       Fear is conquered with the knowledge of our victory over death and our security with God.

·       Anger is wiped away by the revelation of the spiritual state of the world and our call to pass on the forgiveness that we have received. 

·       Depression is erased by His presence, promises, and love.

·       Our self-worth is determined by the One who gave us the priceless gifts of sonship, forgiveness, and freedom. 

·       His good work in us changes our behaviors but also brings the growth of all the fruit of the Spirit. 

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Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
13  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, l
14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The Christian life should never be boring. There is a self-improvement project every day and the best way to improve is to let go of the troubled self we so desperately wish to improve and embrace the new life that is defined by our identity in Christ. 

Ascension is merely a commitment to the upward call of Christ and the plan of Christ for progressive sanctification. The process is happening. Let’s agree with it and work with it rather than deny and resist it.  Our relationship with God is cooperative. We trust and obey, and He leads in the way we should go. This is our relationship with God: surrendering ourselves to Him and inviting God to renew more and more of us continually. 

1 John 3:6-9 (NKJV) 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

Our walk with God is not for an hour at church service, our walk is to be continuous. If we want a life with His blessing of a peace that goes beyond understanding we must continually seek Him, abide with Him, and obey Him. We do these things not out of duty or obligation or for reward. We do these out of love for the One who first loved us.

The Upward Call – Ascending to Your Purpose

Exodus 31:3 (NKJV) says of some filled with the Holy Spirit
 “And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,”

Forsaking sins and breaking strongholds are only one aspect of ascension. We are also called to grow. Learning new things and developing new skills is another form of your personal ascension process.  

Ephesians 4:7-8 (NKJV) tells us that we receive gifts from God for our purpose:
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

God has called us all to a purpose. He supplies gifts for His purposes but the cooperative nature of our relationship with God requires action and development on our part.

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Learning new things does not necessarily mean hobbies. As we seek to put away childish things, we are to seek the Lord’s will for our lives and stretch to the potential He knows we can fulfill. Your plan could mean possibly going back to school, learning a new language, going for promotion by pursuing specialized training or starting a new career.  Study of the word and prayer are some of the best personal development tools we can use for growth. All of these are things we can work on that may contribute to our purpose and development.

These are all in the spirit of ascension – exploring life, ourselves, and service to the kingdom to grow closer to God and our purpose. The plan does not always have to be known; we go forward in faith. 

Wrap Up

Christians have been saved by faith in Jesus and given freedom over sin and death. Christ calls us to follow Him. He called us to life. He called us out of the darkness. As we follow Him, we can experience the freedom over sin that He has won for us through our faith and our life’s expression of that faith: obedience. 

When we win a victory over a stronghold, we should rejoice but continue the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We can use the Twelve Step framework to bring another hurt, habit, or hang up to the Lord and have progressive victory and freedom in life.

 We should also ascend further in our growth as Christians by seeking to develop ourselves for the purpose that God has for our lives.

We also seek to adopt our identity in Christ and grow in our relationship with God, so our subsequent sanctification projects are acquired through our faith and not by the sweat of our brow. We seek to renew our minds so that sin is defeated with a three-pronged attack of the truth about sin, who we are in Christ, and who God is.

So, let’s go up but don’t rush because what God accomplished in a moment may take us some time to grasp and to walk in.  We may not do it perfectly, but we will go forward at our pace, one day at a time, and one victory at a time, growing increasingly closer to God and His purpose for our lives.

 

Review and Examine.

1.    What areas has God helped you to experience freedom or victory in?

2.    What areas do you want the Lord to help you to be free in?  

3.    Do You Believe that God can Help You Experience More Freedom?

4.    What Problem Do You Feel the Lord is Calling You To Take on next?

5.    How Can the Celebrate Freedom Growth Group Help You?

6.    What purpose do you think the Lord may be calling you to?

 

 ------Join us next week for the next Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course Lesson----

or

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, and "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship