Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keeping It Real With Jesus

Too often as Christians we take the easy way out instead of standing in the character Jesus has given us, Too easily we say "I am only human" or "I am not perfect, only forgiven". We cop out of our new nature and responsibility to represent Jesus.  We leave a world confused as we say one thing and do another. We believe the holiness of God while failing to understand holiness for ourselves. Spiritually we are like bulls in a china shop, making a mess and expecting God to clean it up.

We need a better understanding of what Jesus has done for us. Let's re-visit this verse from a couple of days ago:

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ ... (Colossians 2:11)

That "putting off" is the same putting off of the foreskin in circumcision. Jesus literally cut away our sin nature, making it so that it is no longer part of us.

With the sin nature we have no choice put to sin. We were slaves to it. Jesus rescued us from that slavery, destroying the power our sin nature had over us. We became a new creation, without our sin nature. A lot of people do not believe this and continue to use their sin nature as an excuse to rebel against God. They use the little motto "not perfect, forgiven". Cop out.

Jesus cut our sin nature away but that does not mean we are unable to sin. Now it is simply a choice. Before we had no choice, we had to sin, being enslave to that nature, but now we have a choice. So when we sin in Jesus it is an act of our will, a decision we have made, something we have set our heart to do. No excuses! I sinned because I made the conscience choice to sin. Let's call it what it is.

Now some people will say they sin out of habit, it is only a learned behaviour that they are trying to break. It is like smoking. People just get use to the habit so that even when they break their dependency on the drug they still have the urge because of habit. They are use to taking that break for a smoke, to have something in their hands and in their mouth. Habits are powerful and can be hard to break, like the habit of lying or stealing. For this we need to understand the power that now possesses us:

... having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (v.12)

Our salvation is a result of our faith in the power of God to do exactly what he said he would do. Some of us have faith to see the Spirit manifested through us. We have faith for God's provision. Yet, we lack faith to believe that God is powerful enough to sustain us in temptation. That temptation is now only a thing that is playing on our will and on habit, it has no power over us any more. We can stand up under it by having faith in the power of God in the same way we had faith that he could save us. We need to allow the Spirit to re-train us and to develop new habits in us; habits that bring Jesus glory. Thankfully we live in an age of grace where when we do fail, and it is a failure, Jesus is there to pick us up, dust us off and start again.

Our problem is that we sometimes get so caught up in the big picture we forget the daily battles that have to be fought. We need to stay strong in Jesus so we can fulfil our responsibility in service, and we need to understand that sin weakens us. To win those daily battles we have to live in the moment and say to ourselves, "No, in this moment I choose to follow Jesus". Every time we are tempted to rebel, to do what we want, to cheat, to cut corners, to bend the rules, all we have to do is make a decision for Jesus and have faith that he has empowered us to walk away from temptation.

For a follower of Jesus sin is an act of the will. The excuse of our sin nature has been cut away and we now stand in our faith in the power of God to keep us and sustain us. No more excuses. Keep it real.

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