What Have You Been Settling For?

A LONG TIME COMING!

Settling- it’s what we do as Christians.  We hide it under the blanket of being content.  Being Satisfied.  I hear it all the time.   “That’s how God made me”.   “That’s what I have been given so I need to just deal with it.”   “That’s not what I’m good at.”   and the list of excuses goes on and on and on.

We settle for mistreatment by others under the disguise of love.

we can settle for our attitudes towards other people because we have a justifiable reason for anger or vengeance

We live in anger bitterness and malice.

we say “Oh that part of the Bible is outdated.  We can live however we want to these days.”

We justify addictions and idolatry.

For almost 2 years this blog post has been rolling around my heart and mind.   I have addressed this topic in both our Ladies Bible Study at church AND through last year’s influence blog posts.   And for two years I have suffered from an uneasy heart and a major case of writer’s block. U have prayed, I have journaled. I have read and I have avoided blogging because of this nagging sense of not knowing what to write.  I have deep burdens in this area.   So today HERE is my heart.

IDENTITY

For the last 3 or 4 years, God and I have been on a back and forth mission about what real Identity in Christ looks like.   It’s something we are not often taught about.    For me, it began with my review book “I Am” by Michele   Cushatt.   You can find the review here.  Through this book, God impressed upon my hear that befoe I can figure out who I am I must first understand who God is.  Then the same year I read that book I also read a book by Renee Swope called a confident Heart.   In the very beginning of the book, she talks about how as we go through various changes and traumas in. our lives we need to re-learn who God created to be AND sometimes (my addition we need to re-learn who God is (That’s my addition)

Once we have a firm grip on who God is, and who we are in Christ we gain confidence (HMMMMM pretty sure that was my word for 2017!).  AND as we gain confidence in who we are in Christ our influence shifts (HMMMMcan you say the word for 2018).  AND when we live within those parameters we are filled within abundant JOY! (YEP THAT”S 2019_. I really didn’t plan it that way.

However, over time our identity can get skewed by little things that we let creep into our lives.  Matt Little, President of New Brunswick Bible Institute (NBBI for short)  in reference to Psalm 73- A Psalm of Asaph “when our faith loses its own reality.”   We need to spend time with God so He can realign our sight.

How I got here. A Little backtracking.

For months now God has been stirring in my heart to get back to this but I have all sorts of excuses.  Busyness being at the forefront. But at the beginning of the summer, I was really praying that God would give me his words to say.  I knew bits and pieces but the words just didn’t come.  Oftentimes I would just sit and stare at a blank screen praying…and yet nothing.   Then we came to our camper at the end of June and within 3 days of being here God released me of the busyness and by that I mean I got hurt.  Sometimes God has to take drastic measure to get our attention I sat in a chair for 3 days with my food up. I was on crutches.  I was stuck…or was I.  See there is this book that has been calling my name since the beginning of the year.  It’s a skinny little thing and despite the nagging feeling to read the book I put it off till camp.  and I read it in just a few days.  I thought it was gonna be an easy read, but the heart work  God did showed me that I really need to take this message to people.    The one thing I didn’t do as I read through the book is the study questions. By the end of the three weeks away, God was convicting me that I needed to head back into the book and do the questions.  I have been taking my time really soaking it all in and then last night I came to Chapter 3 entitled CHILD: LOVED BY THE FATHER written by Courtney Doctor.  I glanced through the chapter refreshing my memory of the topic and settled into the questions. and then I finished  question three.   I was then prompted to go read 1 John 3:1-10

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not lovetheir brother and sister.

Pay specific attention to a couple of verses:

verse 4-6  Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

When we are linked to Christ we have this desire not to sin.  we are broken by it.  Yes, we slip up and make mistakes but we have the ability to choose not to sin.    when our lives are gripped by sin we have to start asking ourselves some super hard questions.

Am I really a Christ emulator is top on the list because as Matt Little Said in his message you cannot have one foot on the land and one in the water.  You cannot live as the world lives and be a Christ-follower.

And then there is verses 7-9-Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are

Pay very close attention to what 8 and 9 days

*those who do what is sinful is of the devil (yes we all sin but this is a life defined by sin

And  “no one who is born of God will continue to sin.  meaning they will not actively pursue it- they will not continue it, they will turn away from it.    They won’t justify it and they will no be ok with it.

They will actively seek help and truly repent. and change.  It takes an insane amount of work BUT they are willing to do because of two things.

  • they were to be like Jesus
  • And they want to glorify God in all they say and do

Matt Little said in his message when of the most important things we can do as a Christian is to say NO.  Now, this isn’t about The Best Yes- This is about sin. So let’s define what the Bible says sin is.

SIN

Mark 7:21-22-For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

Matthew 15:19 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

But you say Mary: that was then and this is now.   The culture is in a  different place.  And remember I’m not speaking to unbelievers here THIS IS WHAT YOU SIGNED ON FOR WHEN YOU ACCEPTED Christis.  You gave your life to him.  you denied yourself and your desires: It’s not about your rights, what you think, how you feel about something.  You became a Christ emulator.

And Hebrews 13: 8 says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

AND WHO IS THE WORD? John 1:1 says it’s JESUS

This morning’s Eyeopener

So that was last night’s, then I woke up this morning and hit Chapter 4 SAINT: REDEEMED BY THE SON.

YIKES, it was hitting me where we sometimes wallow…in our struggles. I had to read Romans 7:15-8:11. But for the purpose of the blog post, I am going to camp in Romans 8:1-11 which is what struck the deepest chord for me.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sinand death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b]God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

Let’s hone in on a couple of verses:
verse 2 The law of the  Spirit has freed you from the law of sin
Verses 5-8
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
The flesh is our sinful desires- what we want.  It’s selfish. IT IS SETTLING FOR SECOND. not even best.
it says here that if your mind is controlled by the flesh it is death….you are destined to die but the mind governed by the spirit is life and peace.  It’s not rooted in anger and bitterness and hatred.    It doesn’t hold grudges.
Moses wasn’t settling for his best
Sometimes we have a choice that looks great for us.   AND yet that very decision is detrimental to our faith.  The message this morning was all about a decision Moses had to make.
He could stay in Egypt and very likely could be next in line for Pharoah. That’s great for him.  He would live a life of wealth, comfort and prestige.  AND  yet He made the unpopular decision and refused to be called the Son of Pharoah’s daughter. HMMMM Then Matt said something that I hope sticks with me FOREVER.
“we makes our choices and then our choices make us”. 
It also makes me think of another old saying “we make our bed to we must lie in it”
It means that there are consequences for every sin.  You Lie so know people don’t trust you.  You cheat on your spouse- so you get a divorce.  You do the crime you do the time.   in short, we are a product of the choices we make and who we hang out with,  The glorious thing is at any point we can change
Another thing Matt discussed was how it’s ok to own things But it’s not ok when those things own us.    WHO or WHAT is it that we can’t live without?
here are somethings I’ve heard in my lifetime that people can’t live without.
MY phone
the internet
my computer
my spouse
my children
chocolate
my dog
my home
my friends
my boyfriend/girlfriend
That’s just to name a few.
Moses was saying he was refusing to have Egypt own him.
You can not serve two Masters.  It’s either God or something else. and if you pick something else-it’s idolatry. (Matthew 6:24)
And the last two things that Matt said that really hit home for me was this
“When you say NO to the things that are wrong (AKA sinful)  you clear the way for  God’s amazing blessings- but you can’t have those until you say no.”
AND
 ” God can teach us but we are responsible to learn it”.
This one really struck a chord with me because as a parent I teach my kids all the time.   BUT if they don’t embrace the teaching and learn it for themselves we will have a recurring problem.
So are you settling for a package Satan has set before you?   One that seems like it’s the best? One that you think is the best? OR are you choosing  God’s best?   If you are settling for the first one are you prepared to deal with that choice for the rest of your life?  Are you prepared to have that choice be detrimental to your faith?  What is really most important to you?
Remember we are told in Romans 12: 2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(All verses and Passages are taken from the NIV)
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