“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.  But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles?  Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?  You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!  I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.” ~ Galatians 4:8-11

I stumbled on this passage tonight.  In it, Paul is warning to the Galatians about returning to the practice of obey the laws and rules demanded by their previous religion and the worship of false gods.  But, as I was reading it God impressed something on my heart.  In the day when those words were written the culture around the Galatian Christians was worshipping all of these false gods.  What was happening was that these Christians were returning to their old ways.  They were beginning to look more like the culture around them and less like Jesus Christ. 

As I read this tonight, God didn’t speak to me about worshipping false gods, he spoke to me about thinking and returning to my old self.  He gently reminded me that I should look different than the culture around me.  Before I was a slave to a lot of things: work, stress, anxiety, lust, laziness, selfishness, pride, and materialism.  But now I know God, or at least he knows me.  Why do I continue to embrace these miserable principles?  Do I want to be enslaved to them again? 

Jesus Christ is victorious over all of those things that I let enslave me!  His power, the very power that raised Jesus from the dead, is in me!  If I live in Christ I have victory in these things.  I must claim it.  Praise God. 

Jesus, I claim your victory over my sinful inclinations, over stress and anxiety.  May I live through your power tomorrow, for your purpose.  Amen.

“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism.  And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.  Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.  We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. . . So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” ~ Romans 6:4-7, 11

Advertisements

This past year (2007) God has worked amazingly in my life.  I have grown by leaps and bounds in my walk with Him.   I praise God that I am not who I was a year ago. 

That being said I start this new year knowing that this is going to be a tremendous year for what God is going to do through me.  I believe this because of the journey He has taken me through in the last couple of months.  He has slowly and steadily broken me down and helped me surrender so much of myself to His will.  For the first time in my life I feel I can honestly say that He is the center of my daily life.  When I wake up in the morning, He is the first thing I think about. 

For the past 2 months I have been struggling, praying, and yearning to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit so that I can actually be effective in service to Him.  I have been so ineffective on my own up to this point.  I am so fed up and frustrated with trying and failing as a missionary for Him.  Last year God helped me to realize that I was failing because I was doing it from my power and not His.    This started the journey of self-searching and surrender that led me through complete frustration and feeling like this quest would never end. 

 Then a couple of days ago (January 8th) while I was praying and reading a book called They Found the Secret“,God revealed something to me.  I was reading the chapter on W. Ian Thomas and God showed me through the words of that great man of faith that He had already given me the Holy Spirit, I just had to believe Him and choose to live in the power that I already had at work within me. 

I got down on my knees and prayed to God, “Jesus, I believe that you have given me your Holy Spirit and I choose here, today, to walk from here on out in your power and not mine.  Tomorrow, may you speak and act through me in what I do.  Help me to always be an example of the triumph we have in Christ Jesus”. 

I claimed 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be unto God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and makes manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place. ” 

For me it was the act of faith that I was lacking previously.  I had to accept this fact unwaveringly and step out with it.  After I prayed this prayer I didn’t feel anything differently.  I just believed that something had changed. 

 The next morning I woke up and had my daily quiet time, like usual.  There was no great sense of closeness or feeling of power.  But, as I  went to work I believed that I was now filled with the power of God.  I found myself taking risks I normally would have done and inviting people to our weekly bible study.  And there did seem to be something different in the responses I got.  No one came to the bible study the next night.  But genuiene interest was expressed, and one person mentioned the next day that she regretted not going. 

I know that this is just the beginning of what God will do if I continue to fully yield to Him and let Him work through me.  If I stop trying to do it myself, I believe He can and will use me to do great things for His kingdom this year.  I will keep you updated on what He does!

Praise and glory to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith!