Dying To Live
ARE YOU ON A SPIRITUAL ROLLER-COASTER?
The heinous clicking noise pounded away as the roller coaster slowly worked its way up the first hill. As the cars reached the top of the 250-foot hill, its occupants prepare for the inevitable. Suddenly, the roller coaster began its rapid descent and the thrill-seekers plunged toward Earth at 70 m.p.h.. The cold metal tracks guided the cars through their reign of terror. Its solid grip subjected its occupants to pressures as great as three G’s (three times the force of gravity).
Roller coasters at the amusement parks are great, but they are less than desirable in your spiritual life. The spiritual roller-coaster ride that plagues many Christians causes an enormous amount of frustration, guilt and discouragement. It produces a feeling of helplessness similar to that of being thrown about in a small sailboat by the mighty ocean waves. Disillusionment begins to surface. Guilt overwhelms us and our lack of answered prayers seems to indicate that something must be wrong in our lives.
Being victorious is not a result of being a "super" Christian or specially "touched" by God. Rather, it comes from an understanding of our true position in Christ. This understanding is similar to that of a loving and mature married couple. This couple has developed a deep trust and understanding of each other. They do not hope they can trust the judgment of the other, they know they can. When circumstances seem to say otherwise, their trust in each other will carry them through until they can talk it out.
- GETTING OFF THE SPIRITUAL ROLLER-COASTER MEANS : A CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT (6:1-2)
- The first step towards living the Christian life is to realize that there has been a change in management.
i. Bob Munford’s classic book “Christ Heart, My Home”
1. Munford uses the analogy of the home to bring across the principle of Lordship.
2. When Christ enters our hearts, we are called upon to transfer ownership to Him.
ii. The old has gone the new has arrived.
1. “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has gone the new has come”
iii. One of the major reasons for defeat in Christian Life.
1. Not recognizing the change in management/who’s calling the shots.
2. This is why we struggle with sinful attitudes and behaviors. Because we don’t recognize and act upon the change in management.
3. It is no longer “YOU” in charge but “Jesus” is in control. He’s calling the shots.
4. When Jesus died upon the cross and rose again, there was a powerful transaction taking place. His death became our death and His resurrection became our resurrection, our newness of life.
5. The sin nature that once ruled over us no longer has the power or authority to keep making directives in our lives.
6. When the urge to do wrong penetrates our radar screen, at that moment we have a choice. Who’s in control? Me or Jesus.
a. The decision rests with you alone. No person and no devil MAKES you to sin. No one puts a gun to your head. You need to admit that you sin of your own evil volition. Your own lust leads you to commit sin. Lust is not just speaking of whoredom--it's any depraved affection, evil propensity or unlawful carnal desire. It is to have an eager desire for the gratification of carnal appetites. Lust can also be irregular or inordinate desires
b. Realize that when temptation to sin comes your way you have a choice to make. You are not helpless. Jesus died to redeem you from the curse! There is victory in Jesus! Don't keep sinning and then asking God to deliver you. It is up to you to say, "No!"
Who, Me? Jealous?
Combatting the green-eyed monster at work
by Liz Curtis Higgs
I was a member of a prestigious professional association for all of two weeks when I showed up at their national convention in Atlanta. My name badge—unlike most others—didn't sport a single special ribbon or honorary designation. I was—horrors!--unknown. Unimportant.
My heart cried out, I'm nobody here, Lord!
People squinted at my barren name tag, then kept walking, looking through me like so much clear glass. I sat through one presentation after another, sinking lower and lower in my seat. Then, alone in my hotel room, I reviewed the day's notes and ended up weeping, feeling frustrated, inadequate, and overwhelmed. How could I ever hope to reach their level of expertise?
I kept telling myself I wasn't so much jealous as I was discouraged. It's not envy, Lord, I'm simply feeling left out ….
As the years passed, doors began to swing open. Soon I found myself dealing with a new set of unfamiliar, unpleasant feelings: How come she's moving along faster than I am, Lord? Why did they honor her instead of me?
I wasn't jealous, of course. Merely, uh … competitive.
The awful truth revealed itself one gray morning when I received an announcement from a colleague who'd been blessed with an opportunity I was convinced should have been mine. I tossed the letter across the room in an angry huff, whining, "It's not fair, Lord!"
He chose that moment to get my attention. Was the cross of Calvary fair, Liz? Have I called you to succeed—or surrender?
I was undone. Jealousy, envy, and strife were alive and well in my jade-green heart. After a time of weeping and confession, I knew what needed to happen next. I sent a heartfelt memo to more than sixty peers in writing and speaking, women who love and serve the Lord and who—here's the ugly truth in a nutshell—push my jealousy buttons without even knowing it. Included with my note was a brief survey that encouraged my sisters to help me—help all of us—deal with the seldom—discussed reality of professional jealousy.
Their candid answers began pouring in anonymously, as requested. I was especially touched by one role model who wrote, "I could be really spiritual, but I'll be truthful instead."
Just as I'd hoped, my anonymous contributors offered several specific suggestions for experiencing victory over Ol' Green Eyes.
Getting off the spiritual roller-coaster means we are not in control, our lives are now under new management. Along with this new management comes change.
- GETTING OFF THE SPIRITUAL ROLLER-COASTER MEANS: SOME THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES. (3-14) the mode of operation has changed for us, we no longer are slaves to our sinful nature and because of that truth we need to live up to that light. Question- how do we gain control over a sin nature that no longer has any authority over us and still tries to rule over us?
- What has changed? We have been set free from sin through Christ’s death and resurrection.
i. To understand this fact, we need to look at two images portrait for us in Romans 6:3,6,7
1. The first imagery is found in verse 3 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death?”
a. Paul’s purpose for this imagery of baptism was to dramatize verse 2 “our death to sin.”
b. When Paul uses the phrase in verse 3 “baptized into” it means to be “identified with” or “associated with.”
c. There has been a dramatic transformation taken place in our lives. There has been a change in identification.
d. If we are saved, born-again, our identification is no longer with sin but rather we have a newfound identification with Jesus Christ.
e. Look at verse 4 “therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too should walk in newness of life.”
f. In the mind of God, when Christ died and rose from the dead, we who have trusted in Christ died and rose with him. Look at verse 5
i. What does this look like?
ii. If we consider our old sinful nature dead and buried, we have a powerful motive to resist sin.
iii. We can consciously choose to treat the desires and temptations of the old nature as if were dead.
1. Desire to stretch the truth. DEAD AND BURIED
2. Temptation to loose our temper with our children. DEAD AND BURIED
3. Temptation to join in some juicy gossip. DEAD AND BURIED
iv. Then we can continue to enjoy our relationship with Jesus.
2. The second imagery is found in verse 6 “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him…”
a. Christ’s death on the cross covered our sin nature.
b. Sin no longer has any power over us as believers.
c. It has been made ineffective.
d. As a result we are “NOW FREE FROM SIN”
e. We have a choice each and everyday when we are tempted “will we choose sin or Jesus?”
f. A.W.Tozer Freedom; Christians: true freedom p.210
- What has changed? We need to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God i. Established fact: We have the resurrected life and power availed to us.
ii. What do we need to do in order to take advantage of this truth?
1. verses 11-12
2. The greek term “consider” means to calculate, take into account, figure”
3. Paul is encouraging us to take in account that sin no longer is our master, but Christ is.
4. Christ has freed us from the strangle hold of sin.
5. We have new life in Him and, through that life; we have the power to refuse sin’s commands forever.
6. verse 12
- What has changed? We need to present ourselves to God. (13-14) i. Up to this point Paul has been dealing mainly with the way we view ourselves. How to think about our self.
ii. But what must we do to put this truth into action?
1. Two steps must be taken
a. First one is negative v.13 “Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.”
b. This passage assumes that we can quite sinning.
c. No one can cause us to sin. Flip Wilson used to say “The devil made me do it, honey!”
d. Second step is positive v.13 “Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
e. The best defense is a good offense. What better offense against sin than a godly lifestyle.
f. Christ made it all possible by dying on the cross and rising from the dead for our sin.
g. When we accept that fact by faith, sin ceases to be our master and divine grace becomes the environment in which we live and grow.
- What is needed to get off the spiritual roller-coaster? A response from our will. i. John 8:34-36
ii. We are free
iii. We have a new master
iv. Stop enslaving yourself to the old master
v. Christ has broken the chains
vi. He has secured our emancipation
vii. It maybe difficult to cut loose old sinful habits
viii. We can do it by drawing upon Christ’s resurrected power that is made available to us by the Holy Spirit.
ix. BEGIN TODAY AND STOP RIGHT NOW LIVING AS SLAVES.
1. ALTAR CALL:
a. FREED FROM SMOKING
b. FREED FROM ALCOHOL
c. FREED FROM LUST
d. FREED FROM JEALOUSY
e. FREED FROM GREED
f. FREED FROM PRIDE
g. FREED FROM HURT
h. FREED FROM___________.