Renewing Your Mind Day 6 – Changing My Mind About Spiritual Adulthood

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Renewing Your Mind In 30 Days

(Galatians 5:1) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Do you remember when you were a child how you learned not to do certain things? What happened if you talked back to your parents or tracked mud all over the living room floor? Things probably didn’t go so well, did they? We learned as children by living under a performance-based system. If we did the right thing, we were rewarded (or at least not punished!) And if we did the wrong thing, part of our anatomy may have been tanner than the other parts!  

Children are not given total freedom to make choices. Did your parents tell you what to do and when to do it or did they give you total autonomy over your life? If you lived in a house like mine, you knew what was expected and when. Freedom was doing what was commanded.

Living based on performance and commandments means choices in life are severely limited. Even in the “land of the free,” parents who love their children will place them under a performance-based system – to teach them. But this is not how adults live their lives in true freedom. Yet how often do we insist on being treated as children by placing ourselves back under a performance-based system of religion?

Spiritual liberty was purchased by the blood of Christ.. Believers are not designed to live under the Law performance system but under grace. God grants spiritual adulthood status the moment of salvation. Freedom in Christ gives the confidence to “stand fast.”

We live on a spiritual superhighway with many lanes. Some lanes are faster than others. There is always the danger of colliding with another driver. The road has twists and turns. But if we are on this spiritual superhighway together, we will each ultimately reach the same destination. God’s concern isn’t necessarily with which lane in which we drive. He is concerned with that we understand the rules of the road and make good adult choices. Some of us will blow a tire and need to be towed to our destination. Some of us will race as fast as we can to the end. Some of us will take our time and enjoy the journey. But the beauty of this grace in which we stand is that we all have the freedom to choose how we will travel down this road.

Renewed Thought – Lord, thank you for this grace in which I stand. Give me the wisdom to make the choices today that will please and glorify You.

Unload The Callous

If you play the guitar you know what a “callous” is. It’s the hardening of the skin on the tips of your fingers. Until the skin hardens through playing, every note and chord causes a little pain. After a while though, it stops hurting. Your skin is desensitized and you can play without feeling the impression of the strings on the nerves in your fingertips. Those who reject God do not understand Him because they continually make a conscious effort to harden their heart and walk in blindness. They choose not to respond to God. They walk in darkness because their heart has been desensitized to the revelation of God.

The word “blindness” in this verse is the same word translated “hardness” in Mark 3:5

“And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

But don’t mistake the context of this verse in Ephesians. A lot of times this verse is preached to describe the spiritual anatomy of unbelievers. But that isn’t what this verse is about. It is a verse of comparison…and warning to Christians! We are told in verse 17 that we should “henceforth not walk as other Gentiles.” In other words, our life should not match who we were without Christ. Our life should reflect someone who has spiritual understanding. Our life should reflect someone who found existence worthwhile and centered in the life of God. Our life should reflect someone who has a spiritual sensitivity to right and wrong resulting from a spiritual sensitivity to God. This is how life in Christ is designed.

Some Christians are so upset by so-called emotionalism in Christianity that they completely oppose emotion in the Christian experience at any level. But taking all feeling out of this life in Christ does as much damage if not more as those propagating the false doctrine of emotionalism. When we do this, we become the equivalent of a “Christian Stoic.” We no longer have any feelings in our spiritual life and in fact we become desensitized to all feelings stirred in the spirit. It is a rejection of the fact that God designed our emotions. He designed our emotions to be responders. As we interact with Him, we are designed to have an emotional reaction. We are designed to be sensitive to the life of God. It is okay to be overcome with joy when worshipping the Lord. It is okay to be overcome with sadness when realizing the need to repent. (Yes, it is okay to repent!)

If you find yourself in this boat, give yourself permission to respond to God with your feelings today. You will first have a sense of relief. It is a giant burden to stuff down the emotional result of connecting with God. You will be relieved of unloading the legalism that comes with walking in stoicism. The callous will be removed and you will be free.

Renewed Thought – Lord, let me respond in my soul and spirit to who You are today. Let me walk in the freedom of understanding who You are today. Let me worship without bounds today.

Freedom Is Not Free

I hope you had a great Memorial Day.  At 10am yesterday morning our house was rattled by the roar of fighter jets on their way to a fly-by at the local veteran’s cemetery.  During one of the graduation parties I attended over the weekend I had the privilege of talking to a soldier who spent 3.5 out of the last 8 eight years deployed to a war zone.  The loud rumble of the fighter jets reminded me that freedom isn’t free.  The soldier told me about some of his experiences and how he missed watching his children grow up.  I am in awe and so thankful for those who have sacrificed or are sacrificing by risking their lives in service to our great country.  They are heroes.    Whether it’s the freedom we experience in our land or the freedom we experience in our spirit, a price was paid.  Our servicemen and servicewomen have given us the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ has given us the freedom from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and one day the presence of sin.  Whenever you see a soldier, take time to thank them.  Remember the price paid for your soul and take time to thank the Lord.  Freedom isn’t free.  Let that dwell in your thoughts this week.

I’ll be resuming our Ephesians posts Tuesday morning.   See you then.