Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life as we know it...........

I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion when trying to understand how to live as a believer. We have known only the laws and rules mentality of christianity for so long. We have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and we know no other fruit. We say, "How then shall I live" and even books are written on the subject. Some include a bit of the old and a bit of the new, and we become confused. One minute we are grateful for grace and another we are trying hard to discipline ourselves to make our lives work. Then we get frustrated when our lives don't work. 
Well I say good then, go ahead get frustrated. Shouldn't life be natural? Shouldn't we know how to live because we know who we are? 
Think about it this way. I was born as a female. I started out as a baby girl that then grew into a woman. All my life I knew I was a girl and all my life nature dictated to me I was a girl. I don't recall stopping to think about how to act as a girl. I just learned to live from how I was created to live. Although I must admit, there were times I needed to understand things about being a girl, such as what was happening to my body as I matured.  I didn't start out mature as a woman. I grew into a woman, learning along the way.  I still will be maturing into the woman I will become. My identity is wrapped up in the fact that I am a woman and I live from that reality. 
So how does this relate to being a chrisitian you say?  My identity is how I live. I no longer live out of a mentality of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong to be secure in who I am. I live simply from who I already am. I am a new creation in Christ. I identify as Christ. 
But here's the trick. I think we get so hung up on understanding this and freely living out of our new identity because we aren't used to our new identity. 
Picture it this way. I am born into this world in Adam. Spiritually dead, and living out of the knowledge of good and evil instead of life. I live a significant portion of my life this way, then one day I experience a transformation when I believe in Jesus. This transformation takes away my old nature in Adam, that was spiritually dead and gives me a new life that is spiritually alive in Christ. So I go from being in Adam to in Christ, just by believing in Jesus. Wow! But, what happens when I go from one way of life, to a new way of life. Well, I wonder what now, how do I live? I went from depending on who I was to needing to realize who I now am. 
Life as I know it has completely shifted and I am now in the tricky place of learning to live out of my new life. But over time there is a shift, and I begin to learn to live from who I am. Oh, it's not without plenty of reminding myself of  the fact that I am a totally new person though. As time goes, my identity remains and I grow into the fullness of who I am. Just like as a little girl grows into a full grown woman. 
I am not sure if this analogy is the absolute best to portray my point, but perhaps you catch my drift.............You see as believers, life as we now know it is simply living out of who we have become in Christ. 


Matthew Campbell said...


I've referred before to Adam and Eve before the fall. Before sin entered, and their spirits were still alive to God, they didn't need to wake up everyday with a terrible weight on their shoulders, telling themselves, "I'm going to try very hard to obey God today."

Why didn't they? Because it was their very nature to obey him! They were, humanly speaking, slaves to righteousness. Righteousness is what they desired to do. They didn't need anyone to tell them what to do! The law didn't even come onto the scene until Moses, so obviously it wasn't the law that caused them to behave. It was a matter of the heart.

"The good man, out of his good treasure, brings forth good." Identity and action.

So then, spiritual re-birth is to be the answer to our sin problem! Not the law! The law only tells us what living people look like. It can't raise us from the dead.

But, Adam and Eve didn't have the flesh to contend with, so naturally, we'll have temptations and desires that they didn't. But you don't master sin by the flesh. God gives us the victory in Jesus and causes us to walk in His ways.

So then, we are now free from a life of ever looking at ourselves to make sure we're perfect in our behavior, trying to tame the desires of the flesh by the flesh!

God works in us to will and to do. It's nothing to do with what we can muster.

lydia said...

Man Matt you is preachin' it!!! Right on!!

I love that God works in us to will and to do, that is a profound truth right there!!

Jamie said...

Hmmmm, I'm going to stir the pot on this one. I disagree with Matt. Sorry, Boo. :)

Adam & Eve didn't wake up with PERFORMANCE on their mind. PERIOD. It wasn't a matter of behaving righteously but of living dependent and in union with God. They gave it no thought until Eve was deceived and convinced God was withholding something. Adam willingly chose death because of his love for Eve. Picture of Christ there.

And spiritual rebirth is NOT the answer to our sin problem! THE CROSS WAS FOR EVERYONE! WHAT SIN??? ALL DIED in Christ at the cross. If the cross was not the answer to SIN than why did God take on flesh and die?

Here is the deal: we aren't born again to become "MORAL" people. We aren't made New to create better living patterns. SIN isn't an issue nor is good behavior. LIFE IS!

We get so hung up on the RESULT of LIFE that we forget that LIFE is the issue with God. It's like getting married to just have children. That is insulting to your spouse. Children are a natural result of union and intimacy but the POINT of marriage is to be ONE FLESH not to become a parent.

I don't think righteousness is what Adam & Eve desired to DO! NO!!! They never gave it a thought! They loved & trusted God and lived from their awareness of His love & care for them.

God's gift of life is NOT ABOUT BEHAVIOR!


lydia said...

Indeed is certainly is not about behavior. It was for freedom we were set free, not for behavior we were set free!!

I hear the distinction you are making Jamie and I agree. I think I also hear Matt's point as well. It's how we identify now, and out of our identity every thing else flows. I think A & E were only conscious of life and God's goodness and out of that knowledge flowed their consciouness of HIM, not sin, which is the awareness of self improvement or self -righteousness, obtaining favor from God by actions, trying to become perfected by their flesh instead of trusting in His goodness to them,and when they already had everything in Him!!

Life is the main issue indeed and we are all very confident in understanding who we have become- but let me ask this question, why is Christ in me and you???

Jamie said...

Because without His life, we would be dead.

Because God wanted to tabernacle with His people, thus we became His temple.

Because we are the City set on a hill for the world to see and flow into.

Because UNION was God's ultimate heart toward His creation: The Circular Dance we are invited to join.



lydia said...

YES! It's because we ARE the hope of glory!!! His glory, spread into all the world!!! (Paul Walsh is rubbing off on me!!)

Union, intimacy, relationship!! He is a LOVER!! He must not be able to contain his love huh!!!

Jamie said...

LOL!! The Circular Dance will come up during the Conference; I was being SNEAKY!!!


Matthew Campbell said...

I didn't mean that they focused on what they did, I was making the point that they didn't focus on doing.

I've tried making this message of Christ in me about behavior change as well and that doesn't work either. I tried to use the Holy Spirit to do what I wanted him to do so that I could be righteous by my works.

So we don't disagree on that. However, I'm not sure about ALL dying with Christ as in unbelievers. I believe it's ALL who are IN Christ. Maybe I'm wrong and I need to look at this more, but I haven't seen that yet.

But, you are the older and wiser. You may be right.

Jamie said...

14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 2 Cor. 5:14.

This is how we know that all are reconciled, Matt. Read the passage 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. MY FAVORITE!

I'm most definitely OLDER, not necessarily wiser!! :)

Phil said...

Hi Jamie. Maybe you can help me out here. I can see that all died in Christ and that everything is done objectively in reconciling the world. But I struggle to grasp God's demenour to folks concerning their position before him until they believe. Cos they're only justified the moment they receive the merits of the cross and God thus reckons them to them, I thought. But that in itself I find a bit confusing cos it seems like faith is making the difference rather than the cross itself. Faith being that which sees it's the cross itself..but then if all are reconciled then why does God say that the unbeliever is condemned already and is yet an heir of wrath? To justify means no more possible condemnation ever..Hope you can shed some light for me

Jamie said...

Hi, Phil!

Ummm, my understanding...OK?

I don't believe Christ could have resurrected were we not justified. He became all that we were thereby taking all death and sin into Himself. We became righteous. He suffered the wrath, the judgement, and death of all. The consequences of all sin was put upon Him. So that we don't have to live with that. All that God's justice demanded, Christ paid. Thai is a FINISHED WORK. Then having reconciled and justified all men, He was resurrected as the First of Many. That is why He then SAT DOWN at God's right hand. Jesus isn't dying anew or forgiving again every time someone repents or asks for forgiveness.

Because of this message of reconciliation, many people espouse universalism. I believe that our belief appropriates not forgiveness of sin but LIFE. I believe that God sees all men as reconciled but still dead because He gives us the choice of accepting Christ's life. I do not think sin is an issue between man & God. I do think men will be condemned due to their unbelief. It is not a matter of our offenses or trespasses; it is a matter of being spiritually dead. All men are born in Adam spiritually dead. All men are reconciled in Christ by the cross. But all men are not BORN AGAIN. I do believe in repentence: the need to come to the realization that in our dead state we need a Savior; we need His life.

I am NO THEOLOGIAN. Please forgive my humble attempts to articulate my belief. I'm sure there are many who could explain MUCH better than I can! Let me direct you to a web page where you can read a series I've been posting on crucified, died, buried, quickened, raised, seated by Gary Garner. There are also some good messages by Scotty Todd & Lynn Hiles on there. These are the men from whom I first heard the Finished Work message.

I hope this helps. :)

Grace & blessings.

silent wings said...

I haven't had time to read the other comments yet so I'll come back, but I have a quick question:

Does mentoring and community have anything to do with how this new life can learned to be lived out naturally? As for your example about growing in womanhood...I really actually struggle with "being" a woman. I did not grow up surrounded with women, nor did I have my mother demonstrate or mentor me in the beauty and strength of womanhood (including motherhood and married life),so that in itself is not natural to me and I wonder sometimes....

lydia said...

Cirra ~ What great thoughts you have here!! I think it does for sure. I think the natural element is important to emphasize because people don't understand how to trust christ's life in them, and go back to trying to live self sufficiently, BUT, that said I think your thoughts are important ones to talk about as well.
I remember how much I learned from other mothers who had kids older than mine just by observing their lives and seeing in action what they had gleaned through the years.
So I think spending time in fellowship and community is important in helping us mature as women and in helping us find our way sometimes. In Titus 2 it talks about how the older women are to teach the younger woman. (Though to what extent you take this verse it can be a bit much, just ask Julie what I mean, but anyway.......)
My good girlfriend and I were just discussing how wonderful it can be to have an older generation in our lives - such as a mother or mother in law, and how helpful and practical that can be!!
Anyway, those are just the thoughts that came to me just now. I certainly do appreciate and learn alot from my sisters in Christ of every age!!!

silent wings said...

I know this - the community here has been very helpful, and I long to flesh this out with others.

As Jamie said, LIFE is the key. And learning to live out of His life rather than the self life...the way of the the journey.

Good thing we are BORN again and get to grow into this! :)

Phil said...

Ta, Jamie. I'm really feeling that despite a history of discussing much theology with folks I really don't have any life. And I'm really tired. Either that or I'm just long time confused in a hard place and head space. I certainly feel more this way the more tired/unwell I feel..speakin' the way it feels.

Jamie said...

Hmmmm, my take, again. Simple childlike faith. Pure & simple. I do not intend to denigrate the study of the written Word, but an intimate knowledge of the Living Word must go hand in hand with theology, so that when we go to the Bible the Holy Spirit can speak to us and give revelation. To read the Word simply to obtain knowledge or to somehow please God is missing the point. The written Word is bread to our Spirit. It is feeding on Lamb, on Christ. It is as real and alive as a prophetic Word spoken to us by God. The written Word is God's love letter to us. Head knowledge doesn't necessarily mean heart knowledge.

Phil, I'm not sure why you're tired or unwell but I will pray for you. You contain LIFE on the inside of you and I will believe for that supernatural life to manifest in your body. Here is the BEST advice someone used to always give me: Just rest, Beloved. Let Jesus love on you. You don't have to prove anything or perform anything or figure everything out. Someone much bigger than you has you in His grip making your grip on Him unnecessary; you can let go and rest in His unfailing love & care.

Phil, sometimes, we would all agree, our circumstances can look pretty darn crappy. I want to encourage you to have faith in the fact that your life is not your circumstances. Your life is hidden in Christ. You are IN REALITY seated with Him in heavenly places and He is actually abiding in you. Our enemy seeks to get our focus off of spiritual truth and onto our situation. Don't be deceived. You're not more than a conqueror because you go out and whup Satanic ass everyday; you are MORE THAN because you get the benefit of the conquering without ever doing ANYTHING but believing and resting in the Conquerors love. Jesus died and defeated every sickness and every consequence of sin. He suffered that for us. Your flesh might be a lying dog but your spirit is the REAL YOU. Live out of who you are. That's crazy talk, huh? The kind that makes the blind see and people walk on water. Don't put God in the box of your will only experience Him as BIG as you believe Him. UNCONTAINABLE.

If you need anything, we are ALL here for you. This is what we do; we love and encourage each other. We are The Body.

Blessings, my brother. And peace, real peace, to your soul.

Phil said...

Thanks Jamie. I felt loved reading that..What I feel is that I'm still really trying to shed works-righteousness and all its mess..and I feel a whole load of oppression inside and out. I do indeed need the heart knowledge. Abundance flowing is what I want.

lydia said...

Hang in there Phil!! Jamie and I have a motto, 'One day at a time!!'
You are coming out of a lot of oppressive teaching, as are we all and it takes a toll on one to go through that. Julie calls it detox when someone comes out of law and into grace! That said, hang in there and like Jamie said, just lean back in His arms and rest!! Shalom peace to you my brother!!!

sparrow girl said...

This whole conversation really ministered to me, especially the advice to relax and let Jesus love on you.. and forget trying to understand everything for awhile..nice to know we don't have to have all our questions answered to be able to enjoy Him. I also liked the idea of the main purpose of God's bringing us to Him not being about behavior but instead relationship. It seems the less we think about behavior and the more we enjoy Him and just 'be' in our new identity, the more Real Life we enjoy. Thanks to all...