HOW CAN I BELIEVE THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR VICTORY OVER SIN
(By: Mike Quarles, http://freedfrom.wordpress.com)
(The following writing has been edited somewhat from it's original presentation to give it greater usefulness for our AWESOME Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. - Norm Rasmussen, Director, Precious Testimonies)
"How can I believe the Truth about our victory over sin - over addictions?" This is the question that I get in my ministry over and over. My ministry is to teach, train, equip and provide resources that show people how to find true and lasting freedom from addictions - from all sin.
My message is very simple. In a nutshell, it is:
Your old self was crucified with Christ and you are dead to sin (which includes dead to addictions); freed from it and you no longer live, but Christ lives in you and the life you now live you are living by the faith of God who loved you and gave Himself for you. (See: Rom. 6:6, 7; Gal. 2:20).
Once we agree with God that we are spiritually dead (powerless over sin and our ability to obey God) in and of ourselves and the only way we can be spiritually alive with power over sin - power over addictions - is to let Christ (GOD) live His limitless resurrection - creative - overcoming power through us ... we will never walk in the fullness of victory over sin - over addictions - obedience to obey and fully please Him - that is available to us.
I have learned over many years of monitoring results that when people believe Galatians 2:20 ... they find true and lasting freedom. I think a large part of the problem of Christians being unable to grasp fully what God is saying in Galatians 2:20 is that it seems either too simple, or it's possibly a mistranslation (NOT!), or that they are not "worthy enough" to believe it for themselves. Bottom line: Unbelief holds them imprisoned.
As a virus will seize up your physical computer, unbelief will seize up your mental computer.
Faith anti-virus software is FREE from God for all who truly desire to honor Him in accordance with Truth.
This I'm absolutely convinced of -- it is a fact that Satan fights so hard to keep Christians from getting a grasp on. So many Christians have no clue how hard Satan works to keep them from being able to fully realize what the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ has accomplished for them (though that's changing, thank you Holy Spirit!). The power of God resides in every born again Christian who is in Christ Jesus to walk in victory over addictions -- to walk in victory over sin - to walk as a vessel useful to the Master to execute miracles as the Holy Spirit directs. They just need to learn how to BELIEVE it so they can appropriate it, and God surely wants them to ... but Satan DOESN'T, and therein lies the battle in our minds, between good and evil every one of us are daily engaged in whether we like it or not as Ephesians 6:12 tells us we are.
However, most really struggle with this truth and ask the question, 'How can I believe the truth'? That really isn't their question. They are really asking, 'How can I get a feeling or an awareness that this is true'? Of course the answer is, "You cannot, or if you do it won't last and you will be right back where you were asking the question again." I'm not putting down anyone or accusing anyone as I have asked the question many times myself. Faith in God's promises to us in His Word will NEVER take firm hold in us and honor Him the way He desires we do until we put to DEATH our confusion between sight, feelings and faith. The kind of faith God honors never has been, nor ever will be ... what we can see, feel, smell, hear, or our human feelings.
When God says something in His Word and we beg to differ with Him, (assuming of course we are accurately dividing His Word of Truth), let us not become dismayed that our prayers seem to be going NOWHERE, and our personal relationship with Him is about as lively as week old road kill.
What if on a bright, sunny day in Atlanta with the temperature hovering near 100 someone walks up to you, wipes the sweat off his brow and says, 'How can I believe the truth that the sun is shining; do I need to pray longer, read my bible more memorize scripture, get counseling, etc., etc." I am confronted with that question in many different forms, not about the sun shining, but believing the truth of their being dead to sin, freed from it and their oneness with Christ.
The answer is: You will never believe if you must have visible proof, an awareness, or a feeling.
Scripture is clear that it is only by faith that we receive and appropriate truth. What is faith? It is looking to, depending on, trusting in, receiving and believing what you cannot see. It is a transaction done by the Spirit and cannot be confirmed physically and materially. It is helpful to me to know that I am not a physical being who has received a Spirit, but a spiritual being who lives in a body. My body is not who I am and one of these days my body is going to give out and die, but I will live on eternally. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (See: 2 Cor. 5:8).
Faith according to Merriam Webster is 'firm belief in something for which there is no proof'. I think they mean no physical proof. The bible says 'Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen'. (Hebrews 11:1 - Various Bible Translations)
Abraham is called the 'Father of Faith'. He believed in God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things which do not exist (Rom. 4:17). WOW! There is the Key! He believed God. He believed what He said and what He would do. He believed God could raise the dead and by His word speak the creation into existence. WOW! What you and I are called to do is to believe what He has done. IT IS FINISHED! It is a done deal that we are in Christ and He is in us and He is our life (John 14:20, Col. 3:4).
When Jesus cursed the fig tree and Peter pointed out to Him, that it was withered, He said, 'Have faith in God' (Matt. 11:22). When Jesus was on the way to Jairus house to heal his daughter, who was dying some people came from his home and said to Jesus, 'Don't bother the teacher anymore, your daughter is dead. Ignoring what they said, Jesus said, 'Don't be afraid, just believe' (Mark 5:36 ). To have faith in God and to believe Him, you must ignore everything else and accept His Word as fact - as the Truth it is. You need to ignore the circumstances, your feelings, what others say (including most Christians).
When we ask that question, 'How can I believe the truth', we are really making a statement of unbelief and saying we don't believe the truth that we are dead to sin and freed from it and Christ is our life, because I don't have a sign, a feeling, an awareness or any visible proof. To look for this visible proof is unbelief and as long as you look for it you will never get it. Unfortunately that is where most Christians live. They wouldn't dare declare that, but their lives demonstrate that is what they believe. As my friend and pastor says, they live like practical atheists. But it is true whether you and I believe it or not.
We cannot get any more free than we already are (Gal. 5:1, John 8:36). We cannot get any more complete than we already are (Col. 2:10 ). We cannot get any more righteous than we already are. If Christ is in me and I am in Him and He is living my life, then what else do I need? Do I really need more than Christ. I have it all.
When I learned the truth of Gal. 2:20 twenty-five years ago and was freed from my alcoholism, I wrote a little pamphlet called, The Key to the Victorious Christian Life and put a tombstone on the front of it, with 'Here lies the Old' Born in Adam 'Died in Christ' with the verses of Gal. 2:20 and Rom. 6:6, 7). I've distributed thousands of them.
It is the truth that you are dead to sin, freed from it and the old self you were was crucified with Christ and you no longer live, but Christ lives in you and the life you live, you live by the faith of the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you. It is true whether you believe it, feel it, act like it, look like it or not. Truth is what God says, regardless of how you feel.
I am no different than you. I hardly ever feel dead to sin and freed from it and that I am one with Christ. In fact hardly a day passes that I don't feel insecure, inadequate and inferior. BUT, I don't have to let my feelings define who I am. I don't have to let my feelings determine my actions and you don't either. We can choose to say "Lord, I don't feel dead to sin, freed from it and one with you, but it is true and I am going to choose to believe it, regardless of my feelings."
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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)