I think one of the biggest cons the enemy ever pulled off was to convince us to focus on outward behaviors instead of focusing on Christ living inside of us.
Religion masquerades as God and promises us an identity in its rules and rituals.
But when the religious structures inevitably change or break down, we’re left feeling abandoned and alone. But it’s time we are true to the Truth. It time for our to be our new creation selves!
Key scripture in this episode:
- 📕 Galatians 5
- 📕 Romans 6
Today, we are going to take a Posture of peace by being ourselves.
Posture is a short, audible fist bump to remind you God is with you in everything. Together, we’re going to be emboldened to take a daily Posture of perfect peace.
Oh, I’ve got so much good news today. Hope I can make it brief. Okay, let’s start in Galatians 5. It says in verse one, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” In last week’s episode, we talked about the heavy burden of self-protection, really, self-righteousness. And what is this burden that Paul’s talking about here? So let’s go down to verse four, where it says, “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ. You have fallen away from grace.” Interestingly enough, he’s not talking about a scandal here. He’s not talking about a behavioral misstep. He’s not even talking about a sin issue. He’s saying you and calling that a fall from grace, he’s saying you who have been justified, or trying to be justified by the law, you’re trying to find your righteousness somewhere outside of Christ himself, by doing something instead of being one with God, leaning on the finished work that Jesus did, you’ve fallen away from grace. You’ve alienated yourself from Christ.
Let’s go down to verse 16, where Paul says this. He says, “So I say, walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” So many of us, I get a lot of DMs about this, about the sin issue, my sin nature. You know, “Am I really no longer a sinner if I’ve been saved, if I’m following Jesus and I still sin? I just want to do the right thing.” I get all these types of messages, and that comes from a good heart, guys. There’s no mocking that. That’s not a bad thing. But the question that I often get is, “How do I start living this life that God promised? This life that I’ve been called to? How do I live from my identity in Christ?” This is what Paul says. “Walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” He doesn’t say, “Focus on not being this way, and you won’t be this way.” He says, “Focus on this instead, life in the spirit.”
Let’s go down to verse 22 so we can see what this life in the spirit looks like. It says, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh and its passions and desires. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit.” So much of this is spoken as it has been done already. We belong to Christ, so therefore we’ve crucified the flesh. And we live the spirit, so let’s let us keep in step with the spirit. This is the truth. Let’s be true to it. I think one of the biggest cons the enemy ever pulled was trying to get us to focus on external behaviors so that we would not be focused on the person of Jesus who is living on the inside of us.
Religion disciples us this way. Religion disciples us to high standards and complicated systems and wants us to believe that our security is found within organizational structures. And I’m not, I’m talking to all religion. I’m not just talking about Christianity. But the standards and the systems and the structures, they change, don’t they? They fluctuate as time goes on. Sometimes they split apart. Sometimes they completely break down, and then what? We feel duped. Many of us feel let down, we feel disillusioned. Many of us feel abandoned. And so then maybe I, you know, at best, we find another church or another religion or another denomination with an expression of faith that makes us feel safe again, that makes us feel at peace again.
But at worse, which I know that many of us are witnessing or maybe have experienced ourselves is we leave the faith altogether, we deconstruct, or we self-destruct. We walk away from God or we try to walk away from God, because we think he is the one who let us down and abandoned us. “God, I did what you told me to do. I reached the standards. I followed the systems. I lived within the structures, and it didn’t work. My life still sucks.” This is the cruelty of religion. It masquerades as God himself promising us things only God can give us. Protection, provision, it promises us an identity, if we just do what it says. But what it says, the rules, the rituals, it’s not what God required. And much of it is manmade to try to control behavior. Now, I know this is a lot, but guys, I told you at the beginning of season seven, I said we are going after this abandonment issue because it is a big issue. So many of us who love Jesus believe that we are always on the verge of being abandoned by father God. That we are one step away, we are one behavior away, we are one belief away from him completely leaving us behind.
I said at the beginning of season seven, we’re going to really focus on identity. Together we’re going to become more and more aware of who God actually is and who we actually are in him. Because there are so many things that we all want out of life here on Earth. I mean, maybe you came to this podcast because like me, you really wanted peace. You wanted stability in a chaotic world, like me. You wanted relief from the stress and the pressure and the burnout. You wanted rest from the hustle. Guys, I know, we want love. We want joy. We want patience. We want the fruit of God’s spirit, his nature, his character, him. We want him. It’s a deep desire that we all have in us, but we think we have to go find him. We have to figure him out. But if we come to his word, we will find again and again in scripture, we already have him because of who Jesus is, what Jesus did when he died and rose again. He made us one with God again. There is no separation. And we are now identified in Christ. And your identity in Christ is not fluid. It’s not a religious system or structure. It doesn’t come and go. It doesn’t change based on your behaviors, because it is fixed in Jesus.
Romans 6, “Did Christ die as you? Yes. When he died, did you die also on the cross? Yes. When Christ was buried, who was buried with him? You. And when he rose again to newness of life, you rose with him.” This is the gospel. The gospel is not, “Go follow these rules and you’ll be right with God.” The gospel is, “Christ died as you, ’cause he needed to die, and you rose as him.” So you’re not only right with God, you are now one with God. So why does that feel true one day and not the next? Why does it feel fluctuating and fluid? Why does my identity in Christ feel like it comes and goes day to day or moment to moment or circumstance to circumstance?
I think it’s because we don’t know what to do with this identity that we have been given. We have been given it. This new creation identity, it’s like we don’t know what to do with it. We don’t know how to be ourselves, because we are so used to earning every single thing. We’re so used to striving to be something, someone significant here on earth, through our work, our jobs, our relationship, our networks, our skillsets, our awards, our trophies, our ability to articulate ourselves, to communicate well, to show up in big places, doing big things. We are so used to our identities being defined by the way we think and feel and act. Or should I say this? We are so used to our identities being defined by how the world around us interprets or appreciates how we act, how we feel, how we think about things. We have let the world tell us who we are and who we are not.
Now, some of you maybe will relate to this illustration. Have you ever shown up in a social situation, maybe with new people you’ve never met before, and you just don’t know how to act because you’re trying so hard to navigate the newness. You’re trying to figure out people’s personalities, the cultural nuances, like what jokes they’ll appreciate, where, you know, where the humor boundaries lie, what the social etiquette is for the situation, and you you’re so busy reacting to it all, how you think that they want you to act, so you don’t know how to be yourself. Like you’re not even focused on who you are because you’re trying to be who you think they want you to be. I think for many of us new creations living here on earth, it’s like we don’t know how to be ourselves. We are so busy trying to react to the external circumstances, the people around us, the news that’s swirling, the things that are going on in the world events, instead of being activated by the word of God who resides inside of us, Jesus. You do not become a new creation by first changing your outward behavior. That’s not how you came into salvation. You simply believed on what Jesus did. So you don’t now live the lifestyle of new creation by trying to change your outward behavior. You discover the person you already are in Jesus and you act accordingly. You walk in that direction.
Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore, you have been buried with him through the baptism into death. That just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the father, even so, we also should walk in the newness of life.” And that word, walk, is the same word used in Galatians 5:16 that I read earlier, walk by the spirit, walk in newness of life. And I looked it up and in the Greek, it means this. It means to walk, to move, to live it. So how do we do that? What do we do with this identity? How do we start to be ourselves? How do we walk in it? Well, first we have to understand this, your spirit, which is one with God, has no limitations, no disabilities. Nothing is inhibiting your spirit from being one with Christ, nothing. Now, maybe you’re dealing right now with some physical disabilities that are inhibiting you from maybe feeling like you’re living in peace or joy.
For instance, maybe there’s an imbalance happening in your body. Maybe there’s things happening in your mind or even your soul, your mental health. Maybe there’s neural pathways happening in your brain that are locked in habits or in ways of thinking that you feel you cannot break no matter how hard you try. And I’m not here to deny any of those facts or pretend they aren’t real. I’m just saying that you are not subject to them. Even if your mind and your body are broken right now, your spirit is not. And this is good news. Because so often, we’re focused on the tangible. What’s happening in my body, what’s happening in my mind, what’s happening in my emotions, and we’re allowing those things to be the evidence for what the word of God says. Or, you know, it’s true or it’s not because I feel this way, I think this way, I’m experiencing this in my body, instead of being focused on what is happening in my spirit. What is happening in your spirit is the Godhead, father God, Jesus, the holy spirit, they are cultivating newness of life within you. And that newness of life is gradually taking over every area of your being as you agree to it, as you receive it. Everything in the kingdom is received, it can’t be earned.
Romans 6 says, “Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God.” Receive it. We agree to this. Now, here’s what’s frustrating. Often it’s happening one area at a time. And because we’re experiencing in one area over here and not in this area, we think it’s not real, or it’s not true, or it’s not my reality. But slow learning is great learning. And this is the beauty of practice, because practice makes permanent. So how do we practice this truth today? I want to give you something that I’m doing. Pick a fruit and walk in it. Allow who you are in Christ to rise. Just pick one fruit, one area today. Don’t try and do all the things. Allow the holy spirit to guide you in one of the things today. You don’t have to rush this process, because it is who you already are. You’re just becoming more and more aware to it.
So here’s some questions you can ask yourself today. Maybe the fruit you pick is love. What does love look like in this place of hurt? Maybe the fruit you pick is joy. What does joy look like in the middle of this conflict or in the middle of this diagnosis? Maybe it’s patience. How does patience act at this dinner table, at this board room meeting? Maybe it’s peace. How does peace feel when watching this news story or having this conversation with a friend? What does kindness say to this Facebook post? It’s not your behavior that makes it so, it’s who you already are because it’s who he is in you. You are just becoming aware, and aware, and you’re agreeing to it more and more. The practice today is being true to the truth that is already in you.