April 8, 2013

Fight the Pull

Have you ever slept on a slanted mattress that, no matter how you tried to remain on one side, deposited you over and over to the middle? Considering I don't like to be touched when I'm sleeping, this is especially frustrating when I'm sharing a slanted mattress with my husband. We spend our entire restless sleep trying not to roll into one another.

My heart and my mind are so much like a slanted mattress. If I don't allow God's Word to daily transform me, I roll into the same old deceptions and self-driven thoughts, such as my legalistic tendencies or my belief that it's better to receive than to give or my doubting that God is good. A lesson learned is not always a lesson kept. The middle of the mattress has a strong pull.

The truth is that we aren't always safe people for ourselves. I am the most influential person in my own life, and you are the most influential person in your life because we speak to ourselves constantly, but we don't always speak truth to ourselves. We don't always think or feel things that are true. Our flesh has a strong pull in our lives.

I think this is why God constantly says to His people, "Remember." And it's why Paul says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1). Because we forget. Because we do get our hearts and minds tangled up again in confusion. Because we don't always fight well and because our flesh is weak.

For me, for some reason, these things are especially true regarding ministry. I forget truths about my identity in Christ and the joy of service so easily that every Sunday feels like the first one, like I haven't learn anything in all these years. I ask the Spirit to get in a fight with my flesh every Sunday morning because I tend to wake up cranky and dazed.

I figure if it happens to me, the middle of the mattress must have just as strong of a pull in your life, too.

The truth is our victory, is it not? When we walk in truth and grace and liberty, our ministries are full, yes, but also Spirit-infused and fruitful. Our steps are sure, our confidence in Christ. We have a weapon to beat back the fleshly pull.

Do you have fighter verses? There are a few truths that I fight with. Some are truths that I use to fight against lies and legalism. The others are those I use to fight for a pure heart in ministry. All are those that keep me from rolling to the middle of the mattress. Here they are:

  • I am a daughter of God through faith in Jesus Christ, therefore I am not an orphan and don't have to act like one. (Galatians 3:26)
  • God's grace has immeasurably exceeded my sin. There is nothing He hasn't forgiven. (Romans 5:20)
  • There is therefore now no condemnation for me because I am in Christ. (Romans 8:1)
  • I have died to the law so that I might live to God. I can't build the law again into my life. The life I now live, I live by faith in Christ. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if my righteousness comes through my works, Christ died in vain. (Galatians 2:18-21)
  • I will not grow or change through my own effort but only by the Spirit's work in me. (Galatians 3:3)
  • My sufficiency and my approval are in Christ. He is also who makes me sufficient as a minister. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
  • My goal is to please God, not to please people. If my goal is to please people, I cannot please God. (Galatians 1:10)
  • I have been set as a member in the Body of Christ just as God pleased. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
  • My labor for the Lord is never in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58, Hebrews 6:10)
  • I can depend on God for the strength I need to minister. (1 Peter 4:11) 
  • God has given me a spirit of power and love and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I can be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)
  • I don't have to anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:6)
  • I am loved by God. Nothing can separate me from Him. (1 John 3:1, Galatians 2:20, Romans 8:35)
  • God is good. God is faithful. (1 Thessalonians 5:24, Romans 8:28)

What are your fighter verses? Please share in the comment section below!

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway of The Church Planting Wife. The winner is Virginia Vann! Congratulations, Virginia.