Staring Through Bars (Part 4)

My Hood-Oakland, CA Two - 187

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:5,6)

Within the song “At the Foot of the Cross”  there is a line that speaks volumes about what Christ can do if we only allow him: ‘Ashes to beauty’ it says… In the Bible, the book of Genesis explains how God created man, in his image, from dust (earth). He scooped up the earth and spoke life over it. Then, after we die, our bodies return to the earth. Simple. The question I ask is, how do our lives become so complicated that it takes another act of God to fix things: How do we go from conception to confusion?

By an act of God I do not mean our literal death, rather death of our flesh; dying to the world and to sin. In the scripture reference above ‘our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed‘ lays out what should happen once we accept Jesus as our Lord and savior: Should, being the operative wordWhen Christ died on the cross, he took upon himself all the sins of the world: then and for all the years to come. This included yours, your children’s and your mom’s, sin. That was one point of His life and death: to rid the earth of all iniquity. So, why then do humans struggle with sin? It may not necessarily be why you think.

Ponder the passage below:

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:11-13)

You’ve heard of Satan, right? Well, he’s not only wicked, he knows your weaknesses and plays with them. Our sin is usually a result of our weaknesses, which are usually brought upon us by circumstance. Our circumstance is usually (unfortunately) a result of someone else’s sin, in which we are a participant (willing or not)…it’s a vicious, vicious cycle and the only way to put a stop to it is through salvation and sanctification; by which the Lord Jesus will equip you with the ‘whole armour’ of God: Spiritual tools with which you take into combat against a dark force.

Have you ever stopped to consider why it’s so difficult to walk away from a lifestyle in which you don’t feel comfortable? Take alcoholism as an example: It starts innocently enough (most of the time) but what it does, over time, is numb you to reality. (As does any sin, whether it feels good at the moment, or not.) Alcohol consumption is addictive, it gets into your system and if you’re not careful, one day you wake up only to discover it has consumed your life: You look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself. The urge for a drink trumps even the desire for food. There are stories about you being told that you don’t remember participating in. Life has become a haze.

That is what the struggle between principalities is like: it is a thought, an action (or inaction), a habit, or likewise, that you struggle to overcome, yet find you cannot do so on your own. No amount of family support, self-help or therapy can get you back to where you started from. But Jesus can. Jesus can take away all unhealthy worldly desires that turn your spirit into ash. Through the renewing of your mind, as you walk through the Word with him, Jesus, can and will scoop up the remnants of your life – the ash you have become – and breath new life into it. He can turn it into something so unexpectedly beautiful, you won’t recognize that old person (the one who struggled) any longer; nor will you desire too.

The world in which we live is convoluted, however, our lives do not have to take that form. God, through Jesus, offers us a life very different from what we see before, and around us. He bestows a life abundant in true joy and unshakable peace. Walking this path is not always easy and if your convictions are not strong, you may not make it, at least not on your own. But praise the Lord, we have the ability to lean on, and find our strength in a place, outside of ourselves! We are never alone, ever. Even when literally staring down the barrel of a gun or a glass, Jesus is there to take it from our hand, lay it on the table and assure us that His promises are true:

He can deliver and heal us from our pain, suffering and torment, only if we resign ourselves to Him…for when we do, there is nothing God can’t restore: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

Christ died and rose again. For those who proclaim their love for, and trust in him, He fills them with The Comforter: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells within you? “(1 Corinthians 3:16) 

There is nothing like experiencing the indwelling of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit)…it’s unexplainable, but in those moments one gets a true sense of just how much God loves you. It’s the most healing love imaginable; it takes you to a place higher than the highs of any drug, any amount of sex or morsel of food, that one might use to fill that God shaped hole in their heart.

In this short clip, Dr. David Platt gives a paints a great picture of what a life IN Christ should be like:

The Call of the Cross – Dr. David Platt

 

In case you missed it, here is  Part 3

 

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