Recently I decided to read through the New Testament for a couple of reasons. First, I have had this burning desire to know exactly who I am in Christ. Truth sets you free and I think, as a whole, we don't know who we are as Christians these days. Our insecurity on this topic affects how we impact the world around us. Several years ago, I spent about 18 months in Psalms and wrote down everything those Psalms said about God. It was eye opening, and it deepened my relationship with God because I saw who He was so much more clearly. The second part of that, though, is to know who I am in Christ, and to learn to stand on that truth rather than just my feelings. (which now that I seem to be approaching menopause are not all that reliable! lol)
The second reason is because I have been in the Old Testament for a couple years now. I thought it might be time to switch over and get a different perspective.
So, I read through Acts which was very interesting. It was exciting to read about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the huge difference that made in the lives of the apostles. It was amazing to see 12 men change the course of history and make a tremendous difference in their world. I also didn't realize how very specifically salvation and the Holy Spirit was brought to the Gentiles. I guess I just thought that Christ died, was resurrected and that was it, but it was so much more intentional and specific.
As I got ready to read Romans, I was a bit intimidated. I'm not a Bible scholar by any stretch, so I sent up a plea to God to help me to understand the deep truths embedded into this book. I love reading God's Word. I am constantly amazed by the way God seems to speak directly to ME through the Scriptures even though they were written centuries ago.
But I have been so blessed by reading Romans because it has shown me what a true GIFT salvation is to us. I mean, I knew that in my head, but growing up in a Christian home and surrounded by church and believers and spiritual things, it is so easy to take the hugeness of that gift for granted.
Every day I read a chapter and savor it. And every day it seems I end my time in tears of thankfulness for the huge thing that God did for me by giving me the gift of salvation. Not just a "get out hell free" pass, but a relationship that makes a daily difference in my life, that changes who I am at a foundational level that I could never accomplish by myself, no matter how many self-help books I read or how many Oprah shows I watched.
I was in Romans 6 & 7 yesterday, and one verse just seemed to leap out at me. It was Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace." I don't have to be a slave to sin anymore. Because of Christ and my salvation in Him, I have the Holy Spirit, and now I have a choice about whether I will live under the yoke of sin. Before salvation, I didn't really have a choice. In my own power, I can't avoid sin or just decide to do better or turn over a new leaf. That is why there are so many self-help books - nobody has the true answer because the answer doesn't lie within ourselves.
This verse to me was a battle cry, a victory slogan. Yes, I know in chapter 7, Paul goes on to say that his flesh is weak and that he does the things he doesn't want to do, and doesn't do the things he does want to do. But that is just it - in his flesh. When he would try to avoid sin in his body or flesh, it was impossible. We don't have that kind of will power. However, when we live in the Spirit, we can be overcomers. We can be victorious over sin - not in our strength or power - but in Christ who lives in us.
I have said this numerous times in my Sunday school class in the past year - I am so tired of the defeatedness of most believers. This attitude of I'm just a sinner saved by grace. While this is true, it's not the whole truth. Once we are saved we become saints, saints that can turn the world around us upside down if we allow God to work through us. After salvation, the Scriptures do not refer to believers as sinners, but we are referred to many times as saints.
Isn't it time we start living as victors instead of losers?
~ Blessings, Bronte