Life In Christ

new_creationIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Usually I like to post little snippets on Facebook every day as I feel lead by the Holy Spirit, but today I’m going to dive a little deeper into what I feel is one of the least talked about, but also one of the most important topics in our relationship with God.

This topic is about being in Christ. It is my hope and prayer that you’re about to find out how far this rabbit hole really goes today ๐Ÿ™‚

After reading this post I sincerely believe that you won’t read certain Scriptures in your Bible the same way again. How’s that for a goal?

Let’s begin with the fact that Christians didn’t call themselves Christians.

The world did.

Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

They were actually called “followers of the Way”.

Paul tells us this in Acts.

Acts 22:4 And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison.

What an interesting name, “Followers of the Way”. It appears they were more concerned about Who they were following instead of only what they were believing. Scripture is not showing us how to argue over our little principles. It’s actually about equipping us and inviting us into following after the Spirit of Truth/Christ.

This doesn’t mean we don’t listen to other people because Paul says:

Phil 3:17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

Did Paul really just say keep your eyes on people? No way!

We keep our eyes on Scripture Paul!

What is he thinking???

1 Co 11:1 You are to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

You see this is exactly what the Pharisees tripped over, they had their nice little sayings, their cute little principles, but their lives were nothing like Christ.

The power of the gospel transforms us to living like Christ.

But of course, we need to follow the Way.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, โ€œI am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Not sure what direction to go? Follow Him. He takes us into the upward call of Christ.
Not sure what is true? Ask Him. He is the Person called Truth.
Desire eternal life? He’s a Person.

Now if you’re following me this Scripture will make much more sense. And hopefully also the 100+ Scriptures that talk about in Christ or we could say in the Way.

This by the way is Paul sharing the gospel:

Acts 17:28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

If you read Acts 17 it might shock you to what Paul considers the gospel, but that’s another topic for another day.

Here’s where I’m going with this…

In Christ. It’s not just a cute little saying, it’s a reality. It’s being in the Way. It’s being in the Truth. And it’s being in the Life. Because it’s in Him.

Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

You are crucified THROUGH the cross. And you are reborn IN Christ.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If you’re still trying to get TO Christ, have you really accepted you are IN Christ? And if you’re not in Him how will you ever come before the Father?

John 17:20โ€œI do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

So you see in Christ is not just a fancy way of saying, I’m a believer, but it’s a reality to those who are in Him. It starts by dying to yourself and being reborn in Him. Being like little children you enter in to the Kingdom.

Now hopefully that you see the importance of being in Christ. You now understand this Scripture and I hope it becomes crystal clear to you what has happened…

1 John 4:3 And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Jesus name means: God is our Salvation.
Christ means: Anointed One.
Christians means: little anointed ones.
Holy Spirit is the anointing of God.

What do you think the spirit of the antichrist is now? Anti-anointing.

Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Our life is now in Christ. He is the Way to the Father. He is the Life. And Holy Spirit is teaching us who we are in Him.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Holy Spirit is the anointing of God. The Christos of God if you will:

1 John 2:26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lieโ€”just as it has taught you, abide in him. 28And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

So you’re not just a believer, you’re in Christ, you and Him have been joined together, made one. He is the way, truth, and life. And Holy Spirit is showing you who you now are in Him. He is your teacher.

What I say doesn’t matter one bit if Holy Spirit isn’t bringing life to it.

Because at the end of the day it’s just between you and God. But He is faithful to guide you.

Ask Him today what it means to be in Him. And how this reality changes everything in your life. Because you died and you were reborn in Him.

You’re not the old you. You’re the new you. His glorious representation and image on the Earth. You were created as His light.

I’ll let Holy Spirit breathe life into these concepts before we go deeper.

Until next time friends,
Christopher

Sonship vs Orphanism

One of the lies of the world is that you have to work hard to be something. But we see in the life of Adam that the life of struggle is working the ground yourself. And in the life of Adam that the life of faith is letting God be your reward. In this teaching, I share how to identity performance based orphanism vs obedience based sonship. Don’t be a Martha! Be a Mary ๐Ÿ™‚ And this teaching will reveal some revelations on what that looks like…

Comments appreciated.

What’s This Renewing Mind Thing About, Anyway?

I firmly believe the truth of repentance and renewing of the mind have been hidden away from many believers. And because of this many still struggle to have REAL permanent change that Christ sacrifice allows us to walk in. In today’s training taken from my IMPACT discipleship class we discuss the differences between good fruit and bad fruit. And good trees and bad trees. And why these 2 things are so important for us to have real, lasting, permanent change that disciples the nations. Leave comments below!

 

Does God Exist?

Great question. But the real question to ask yourself is why do you think so hard for the answer to be anything, but yes He does? Why do you accept ANY answer as long as it doesn’t equal God?

If it’s because of something you don’t like in the Bible well that’s probably a given. Considering if you agreed and knew everything you would be God. And you’re not. So there’s probably somethings that He knows and understands considering He created everything. Wouldn’t it be more honest to simply say God exists and I just don’t agree with Him? Of course then you would be left with the decision of what you’re going to do with Him…

And most people don’t want to be left with that question. So you continue to find some argument – any argument – that concludes there is no God so you’re not left with the choice. Will you accept His offer for righteousness or be held accountable to your own? Even to the point of believing there is a multi-verse, aliens, or an eternal universe which is the reason why we are here because those answers don’t have the personal responsibility that God does.

But my friends you will have to choose this answer one day. Either now when you have the option to receive His righteousness or later when you have only the option to look at your own. And your question of why does evil exist today will be answered… because He allowed you to. And one day He won’t let evil in His Kingdom. And that’s when you won’t be either. Unless you decide today that you want to receive His gift.

Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up?

Many people believe that we need to have a righteousness independent of Christ. And that quite simply is not true. It is because of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS that we now walk differently.

Here’s the REAL GOSPEL:

Our righteousness is from Him. And He changes us into people who do works of righteousness.

Let me show you…

First let’s go to Ephesians 4 and see how Paul explains the Gospel to uncover the question of what His righteousness looks like in our life…

Ephesians 4:17Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

Notice that Paul says here that we no longer walk as Gentiles, I think we are both sides are in agreement here that we must no longer walk in the futility of the world’s ways. By the way futility means: pointlessness or uselessness.

The point Paul is making is that the Gentiles way is useless, empty, vain. Sin is the way of destruction and death. Why would we want it when we understand a better way in Christ? We wouldn’t. The problem is RENEWING of the mind. Which Paul continues into…

18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

Notice they are darkened in their understanding, they don’t KNOW better, and because of this they are ALIENATED (or SEPARATED) from the LIFE of God. God’s ways are life, freedom, love, liberty, and joy. These are the things we truly want, but have been lead (conformed by the world) to believe we need to sin to have. This is a big point. Sin is a lie that doesn’t satisfy.

19They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

Callous meaning: showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others. We see this in the life of the Pharisees it is a life devoid of love. And because of this, they feel they have to love themselves, take care of themselves through sensuality and greed. Pride is believing our way is better than His way. But once again this doesn’t truly satisfy or lead to life.

And here is what Paul is driving at… He says to the believers… look the way of the Gentiles… who DON’T know better is not the way you are to walk!!!

20But that is not the way you learned Christ!โ€” 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus

Paul is stressing in verse 20 if you have truly been taught about Christ as He really is… which unfortunately my friend is the biggest issue (IMO) that the Church faces… which I will get into in just a minute….

22to put off your old self,f which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

Put off your old self. This is the key if you will to RENEWING of minds. It is the understanding that you are NOT the old man, but you are the new man. A new creation (2 Co 5:17). So anything that belongs to the former manner and is corrupt is not who we are now in Christ. We are new creations. Reborn. New trees that bear good fruit (Matthew 7:17) UNLIKE the Gentiles who do not know better because they are still bad trees. They haven’t been changed by Christ yet.

But Paul explains who we are now…

24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

So we put off the old man (the lies) of who we once were, but are no longer. And we put on the new self. And what is this new self? It is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. The tree is changed, so the fruit is changed.

The problem is that people don’t have their mind’s renewed to who they NOW are in Christ. So they are still trying to DO to BECOME, but this doesn’t work. Because every thing you are told to DO to BE is simply an obstacle to receiving what Christ has done.

So while I agree that we are clothed in Christ righteousness. It is because of His righteousness that we no longer live, but Christ does in us. And we in Him. That now we naturally do the things of God. This is why it’s called fruit of the Spirit.

The main driving point of Scripture is to look at your fruit to determine your root. And I agree. But also there is a place for knowing who we are in Christ. And who Christ is in us. That’s why we see Scripture writers continually exhort believers to walk as Christ. Not because they weren’t saved, but because they didn’t understand who they now were. And that is still the problem in the church today.

I believe people will always choose God when their mind is renewed to His goodness and kindness. The problem is the lies they are believing about Christ and themselves. That’s why renewing of the mind is what causes transformation. And yes He prepares the works for us to walk in. We are simply obedient. But not because we “have to be” but because we “get to be”.

He is a heart God. He wants true obedience from a place of understanding how good He is. Not how good you’re trying to be. Once we accept we are eternally saved – we are off the treadmill of trying to earn our salvation – and we begin to walk in a place of right relationship out of love for Him and His people.

Here’s today’s main point. Don’t read Scripture for what you must do, but for who you now are. Through the lens of promise in Christ. Because of His righteousness in you. And then you will be free to be loved and be love to the world.

Living Out of Understanding

I believe one of the stumbling blocks of teaching is the belief that we need more and more teaching instead of allowing our current understanding to be catalyzed. We live out of the heart of our understanding. To know something in Scripture was to do it. If you didn’t do it, you didn’t know it.

Towards the beginning of my Christian growth I used to read Scripture quite often and especially other people’s opinions and interpretations of Scripture. I found as I read other people’s insights that I could quite easily argue opposite opinions using a number of Scriptures for and against many positions.

This caused me to question my own understanding…

So I decided to stop reading Scripture “widely” and instead focused on Scripture in “depth”. And as I did this Scriptures that at first glance seemed unrelated started to come alive.

Why? I believe this is because the Scriptures that I chose to go deep on started to become life to my heart. And my “lens of perception” changed so that I began to see other Scriptures through these lenses.

I spent a year (if not more) just on focusing Scriptures of love. And as I did this Holy Spirit started to teach me out of the platform that I brought to Him. These Scriptures catalyzed my relationship with Him and also brought life to my understanding. Shortly afterward I noticed my life started to change.

Not because I was trying to be something different, but because I started to see God differently. And we are made in His image. So as we know Him clearer, we begin to see ourselves clearer.

I currently believe this process of truly “becoming” what we are discovering has been cast aside for “doing” which is reading many different Scriptures with very little intention. Obviously each has their place, but I feel right now in the Body of Christ there is an awful lot of head knowledge and plenty of room for growth in heart knowledge. Proverbs 4:23

If we look upon our life and we see many issues that keep coming up, especially in our character, this is a clear sign that God is enhancing our heart understanding in this area. And the teachings we listen to under Holy Spirit filtering will give us the truth to replace those strongholds built by lies.

What Overcomes Sin?

REPENTANCE: To turn away from one thing to another. In Kingdom terms, to turn away from a lie and see the truth. Why do Christians believe other Christians desire sin? If you don’t desire sin, why do you think another does? I believe one of the most effective ways to help people through “sin” is not to focus on who they are not, but to focus on who they truly are. Sin at its core root is selfishness. But selfishness is not overcome by our effort because that leads to religious performance. Selfishness is overcome by knowing the kindness and goodness of God. It is knowing His ways are better than our ways. That His promises are better than any illegal promise the enemy can cook up. 2 Peter 1:4

Let’s take this to a popular used Scripture: 1 Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteousb will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,c 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

This Scripture is quoted often in telling people what they should not do. And rightfully so. However we miss the full impact of this Scripture if we stop at verse 10. Here’s why:

1 Cor 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Notice in verse 11 it’s not focusing on behavior anymore, but identity! As such WERE some of you. It doesn’t say TRY to be something different. Paul is telling the Corinthians this ISN’T who you are anymore! Paul isn’t jealous of their sin. He isn’t cutting them with Scripture and putting them in condemnation. He is saying, look my children this isn’t who you are. You have been washed. You have been sanctified (not BEING sanctified), and you were JUSTIFIED. But Christians are so scared to say that other Christians are made righteous and justified in the sight of God because of FEAR that they might sin if they know they “can”. But God did NOT give us a Spirit of Fear. So those who are entrenched in this fear are completely disregarding the POWER of God who alone can change a man. And who has already DONE so.

As a result they end up creating what they fear most. I have seen sin conscious preaching might tickle the ears, but it rarely changes hearts. Behavior modification works for a temporary time, but identity modification works permanently. We see this in the Old Testament vs New Testament realities. One says what you can’t do. And the other says who you now are by the sacrifice of Christ. He alone can change the tree. Are we not branches who rest peacefully in the Vine’s finished work?

The Pharisees were quick to see what was wrong with everyone else. But had forgotten the more weightier matters of the law which is to love one another. And it is in our love for one another that the world will see who belongs to Christ. And it is this same love that will break the back of selfishness. It is this love that will allow others to feel safe and secure in their Father’s arms. And it is this love that will not fail 1 Cor 13. So let’s remember who we are. And if a brother falls in sin, restore him gently. Reminding him of the goodness and kindness of God, seeking out the lie that has caused him to fall, and showing him who he now is in Christ. Picking a fight with the spirit trying to control him, but not the beloved brother who has forgotten who he is in Christ.

If YOU can’t see the good in someone, the reality of what Christ paid for them to walk in, and know how much God loves them. You don’t have a vested interest in their life. Nor the knowledge nor right to speak correction into their life. As a result you are nothing, but a clanging symbol. Or do you think the Scriptures were written for you to go around correcting people forgetting that it is the Master who is well able to make His servants stand or fall? Have you gone to Scripture to be cut yourself? Does your life show the fruit of what the pruning words of Scripture do? Has your love caused people to feel safe, to feel loved, and to trust that you hear from the Spirit? Repent yourself and others will desire your repentance and their own. This in my opinion is true Kingdom repentance. And it overcomes sin. Because Christ already did.

The Truth Has Been Hidden From Us

The truth in Scripture has been hidden away. I don’t know why it happened, but I do know that repentance, renewing of the mind, and “in Christ” are the sign-posts that point to the new you.

For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why Holy Spirit kept telling me about “new creation”. It’s not all over the Scriptures, it’s only a few of them that allude to it really, but He just kept telling me it over and over. I see now why. The NT is about YOU in Christ. And Christ in YOU.

Don’t skip over this.

Many times we read something and we think it already has life in us, so we move past it, but consider this… You died to the lie of separation. And now you are rebirthed in Christ who CAN never be separated from God.

Repentance (Change of Mind) is the understanding of who you are in Christ. It’s identity not performance. If your identity is wrong, your performance will always be out of place of religion, which is steeped in pride and lust, it is self-gain for illegal desire outside of relationship.

Renewing of the Mind (Change of Mind) is the understanding of who you are in Christ! See the pattern? Come on now! Scripture says transformation comes from renewing the mind. Notice here it’s not from a LOT of effort, but it’s from continually RE-newing (hence always making it new) to the REALITY of who you are in Christ. The battle is believing in who you really are in Christ as this battle is won the fruit comes naturally.

But this is the biggest hidden truth…

“In Christ” is talking about YOU. Scriptures (and there are TON) that reference in Christ, by Christ, through Christ are YOU. They are YOU! This is so freakin’ big. How do you know what to repent? How do you know what to renew your mind to? Go find some In Christ Scriptures!

When you wrap your mind to this reality of who YOU ARE because of the GOODNESS and the KINDNESS of God you will be lead to such a place of true repentance, that you might even weep (I know I do at times). And people will think you’re truly a freak of nature.

Why? Because your love and devotion for Christ can not be replicated by any performance minded people. For them, it will be a chore. It will be something they “have to do”. Not something they “get to do”. And it will freak them out so much they will think you’re NOT real. Ring any bells? Haha! I love it! You love God this much??? You can’t be real dude you must have some hidden sin, agenda, etc… LOL. This is a religious broken mindset. And it is NOT a renewed mind.

My brothers and sisters this is OUR exceeding great joy. That we are one with Him and He is one with us. He is our reward. He is our blessing. He is the rock upon which we build. He is our true friend, our true Lover, our Father, Mentor, and Brother. He is what our hearts have craved!

If you don’t know the Love of the Father you will seek the love of the world. Let me put it like this, our love for Him is a Earth to Heaven reality. His love for us is a Heaven to Earth reality. This is one of the first places we can begin to see Heaven coming to Earth. His love in us. His love in you.

I’ll end with this thought: If you want to have something for the dying, hurting, lost people around you, discover what you have been given by knowing who you are in Christ. And you will always have something to freely give.

Lies, Lies, and More Lies!

Lies, lies, and more lies. Make no mistake the goal of the enemy is to try to get you to see your identity through lies. You are a new creation. And you partake in that divine reality through the promises of God (2 Peter 1:4). But the enemy whispers in your ear just like he did to Adam & Eve. Did God really say….? Did He really say you were a new creation? If you are why are you doubting His words? And here comes the deceiver!

With many words he tries to get you to REACT out of a place of fear instead of RESPONDING in a place of faith (Matthew 4:3). A strong-hold is when we take credit for his thoughts. As soon as a strong-hold is formed the enemy (familiar spirit) comes in and begins whispering. And now if we see our identity through this lie, we will think it is from us, and that’s when we let it blur our heart perception (Proverbs 4:23). We can tell this is the case by listening to speech because out of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 15:18).

This is why the Bible says to RENEW your mind and cast out thoughts that try to exalt themselves above the knowledge of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Because when you agree with God’s truth about you – you will begin to flow from a Heaven to Earth reality. Why? Because Earth will no longer be where you get your identity from. And you will begin to see yourself as a Son/Daughter with a Father who has already lavished great and wonderful promises on you. In fact, He has equipped you with every good thing and every good work. (2 Peter 1:3). And we simply give the AMEN (So be it, I am fully persuaded 2 Corinthians 1:20).

Fruit vs Works

Fruit vs Works. Fruit comes from new trees (thats you). Works come from fleshly performance (that’s not you). As we grow in the knowledge of Christ in us how we naturally respond will be in accordance to the Spirit in us. The battle is not for us to BECOME new creations. The battle is in us believing we are new creations.

But God has given us secret weapons. First, we have His Spirit in us. And His Spirit is telling us who we are in Christ. Next, we have Scripture and it is loaded with promises of who we are in Him. And He has given us the people around us. And the Spirit in them is telling us who we are in Christ. Its seems pretty simple right!

As we know the TREE we get to partake in the fruit.

The problems occur if we believe the lies about ourselves. Suddenly, like Adam and Eve we are trying to be like God and reacting in FEAR to the lies of the enemy. And worse still now we begin to see other people through this same lens. And like the Pharisees we give them all kinds of rules that they need to DO to BECOME.

But this is carnal wisdom! Yes I said it. Because it detracts from what Christ has already done! It is not peaceable, no it’s far from it! It puts the focus squarely on me and takes my eyes off Christ. Suddenly like Peter we find ourselves sinking in circumstances we were walking on. And as we cry out Jesus says, why did you doubt?

You are a new creation! You are blessed! You are a child of the Living God! And the greatness of His power is pouring out of you! Everywhere you go is ministry because YOU are ministry. You are One with Him and He is One with you. You are light and darkness can’t stand you. We don’t have to love people, we get to love them. Because He loves you sooooo much that you can’t help, but love on people because it just overflows out of you! You’re so cram packed with His Spirit that signs and wonders follow you everywhere you go. Do you believe it? Do you receive it? If so you’ll see it.