When I first came to Christ I did not fully realize or know all of what God in Christ had accomplished for me and in me. I knew that I was forgiven and Christ was now part of my life. At that time I was taught that you could have Christ in your life but it was up to me to make Him number one. I also was taught that Christ could be present in my life but I had to make Him president. As a result of this teaching I always considered the “Real Me” as separated from Christ. I felt it was up to me to somehow make Christ the lord of my life.
For over 40 years I attempted to live the Christian life by applying the teachings of Christ to my life. When I became I Christian I was determined to be “A GOOD CHRISTIAN” so I studied much. I went to church every time it was open and listened many messages by respected leaders.
Most of my time was spent on putting forth much effort to do good things while avoiding bad things. I was always involved with some form of behavior modification or sin maintenance program to please God. None of this brought the victory I so longed for. Some of you may be attempting to do this now but you will only find complete failure and defeat like I did.
I confessed my sins daily but found out this did not give me any victory over them. I prayed to God many times thanking Him for his forgiveness but I wanted more than just forgiveness. I wanted to be free from the domain from sin. I did not see much good in the fact that I was forgiven if I had to continue living in sin. I had NO desire to continue sinning and prayed for complete freedom
I read in the bible that I was free in Christ but when I looked at myself I felt that I was desperately wicked, and totally corrupt. I felt that I had indwelling sin. During this time I was taught that I had two natures within me. I am sure you know this teaching - that these two natures are like a white good dog and a black bad dog both living inside me fighting against each other. Now I was told the dog that wins is the one you feed the most.
Well I spend much time reading the bible, praying, witnessing while avoiding anything I thought might feed the bad black dog. I rebuked the devil, put on the armor of God but still continued to fail and sin every single day. I confessed and confessed. I repented and repented. I rededicated my life over and over again to God. I hated my sins and truly wanted to be free but nothing ”THAT I WAS DOING” worked at all. The truth was it only made me worse.
So now I asked over and over again - what was wrong with me?
Some of you may be in this situation at this time so I am hoping that this will help you see the truth. My problem was that I saw myself as an "independent" person and I acted from that belief. This is a total lie from Satan. When I was born again I was paced in union with God. It is Satan who initiated this false divided outlook. This was my sin of unbelief - unbelief about who God says who I really am.
The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see that this was something that God had already done for me and in me. I saw it was ONLY by HIS doing that I was in Christ. 1 Cor. 1:30 New American Standard Bible (©1995) "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption."
God has said that He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17). He has also said that He is the vine and believers are the branches. He is their owner, and believers are His bond slaves. Our Body is His Temple and He is the deity who lives and abides in that temple. We, the believers, are the temple to manifest and display Him. He is the husband, furnishing the seed to the productive wife. Believers are the wife, wedded to this One. He is the treasure, and we, the believers, are the vessels that contain Him.
The branch, the vessel, the temple, the wife - all are dependent. The branch is dependent upon the vine, the vessel upon the contents, the temple upon the deity, and the wife upon the husband. The analogy of the owner and the slave shows that the master is the one who owns the slave, and as in Romans 6:17, the slave is never his own owner or his own operator.
So, if you are a believer, to even "see" yourself as a “separated - I” or an "alone - I" who has the ability to operate by himself - even that seeing is sin.
Here was the root of my real problem. Look what I wrote in my first paragraph. I always considered the “Real Me” as separated from Christ. I felt it was up to me to somehow make Christ the lord of my life. Yes I fell for Satan’s lie and spent 40 years attempting to do what God had already accomplished in me and for me.
Are you struggling with sin or trying to get faith?
Basically, many Christians are trying to get what they already have in Christ. They are trying to get into a room that they are already in. Christians are striving to improve themselves instead of resting in the power of His resurrection life. If we understood what the Bible declares to be true, then there is no self to improve. For a "dead man" can't be improved. "You are dead, and Christ is your life..." (Col. 3:3-4). God doesn't want improved nor recommitted people. He wants dead people. Why? You can't be raised with Christ if you are not dead.
The way for the Spirit's transforming power to be activated in us is by simply believing what God says instead of striving to become who we already are. Once we lay hold of the truth, the Truth (Jesus) will lay hold of us and by His Holy Spirit transform us into the new persons we already are, thereby causing us to spontaneously manifest righteousness.
We need a change of minds renewed to the sanctifying truths of the Gospel. Our carnal minds are polluted with lies from the Fall. Deep in our consciousness, redeemed man is still wearing the grave clothes from his former owner. We are like Lazarus coming alive out of the tomb. He was alive, but after four days, Lazarus's grave clothes stunk with death. As long as we live from these lies, we too are living with the stench of dead grave clothes. Take off your stinking grave clothes and put on Christ, who is your sanctification, your righteousness, and your glory.
Are you trying to add Jesus Christ to your life? Are you trying to apply His teachings to your life?
This is NOT TRUE CHRISTIANITY!
You do not apply Him or His teachings to your life at all. You have died and you have His LIFE.
He applies HIS Life to you and in you - it was a total exchange. You died - He lives. You no longer have a life - He is your LIFE!
Gal. 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Now look at this part, "yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." the I was replaced with the person of Christ.
If you think that you are separated from Christ or think that you are independent from him - you need to repent.
Satan's temptations are not primarily to make us do something particularly sinful, but merely to cause us to act in our own energy;, and as soon as we step out of our hiding-place to do some thing on that basis, he has gained the victory over us. If we do not move, if we do not come out of the cover of Christ into the realm of the flesh, then he cannot get us.
The Divine way of victory does not permit of our doing anything at all-anything, that is to say, outside of Christ. This is because as soon as we move we run into danger, for our natural inclinations take us in the wrong direction. Where, then, are we to look for help? Turn now to Galatians 5.17: "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh ". In other words, the flesh does not fight against us but against the Holy Spirit, "for these are contrary the one to the other ", and it is He, not we, who meets and deals with the flesh. What is the result? "That ye may not do the things that ye would."
I think we have often understood that last clause of this verse in a wrong sense. Let us consider what it means. What 'would we do' naturally? We would move off on some course of action dictated by our own instincts and apart from the will of God. The effect then of our refusal to act out from ourselves is that the Holy Spirit is free to meet and deal with the flesh in us, with the result that we shall not do what we naturally would do; that is, we shall not act according to our natural inclinations; we shall not go off on a course and plan of our own: but shall find instead our satisfaction in His perfect plan.
Hence we have the principle: "Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5.16). If we live in the Spirit, if we walk by faith in the risen Christ, we can truly 'stand aside' while the Spirit gains new victories over the flesh every day. He has been given to us to take charge of this business. Our victory lies in hiding in Christ, and in counting in simple trust upon His Holy Spirit to overcome in us our fleshly lusts with His own new desires. The Cross has been given to procure salvation for us: the Spirit has been given to produce salvation in us. Christ risen and ascended is the basis of our salvation: Christ in our hearts by the Spirit is its power.