Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Dose of Encouragement

Although I consider myself an "encourager" I often fall into the trap of emphasizing law over grace. Today, I want to offer up a healthy serving of hope as it pertains to our victory in Christ.

"So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." -Romans 6:11-14

When people talk about their 'struggles' in life, they often refer to a moment in time when they had 'victory' over their struggle. I have used this language too, only to find out later that I really didn't have complete victory over whatever struggle it was. For example, I've said before that I've had "victory" over my struggle with overexercising... which is true, but at the same time not. As I grow in sanctification and my relationship with the Lord, I find that I am more sensitive to certain areas of life - perhaps ones that I haven't completely surrendered to the Lord and need to. And as I continue to 'struggle' on in this life, with what issues still hold me captive, I realize that I will not [in this life] have complete and total victory. I think that this is a hard pill to swallow. Yes, I recognize that there are those stories of people who have all their life battled addictions and have come to know the Lord, and no longer battle them - they are just gone; they are free from the addiction. But for the majority of us, we will continue as long as we are in flesh to wage war against our flesh.. feeling oftentimes like we aren't getting anywhere.

Here is the hope though. If you are in Christ, a born-again Christian, and you have new life in the Spirit, then you indeed do have complete victory in Jesus Christ. Though you still fail to 'conquer' areas in your life, your status is completely changed: forever. You are no longer considered a slave to sin, but you are "alive to God in Christ Jesus". On the cross, Jesus Christ, bore own sin and shame, and won the victory for us over death. "Oh death where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting?... But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. " (1 Cor. 15:55, 57) I find great encouragement in that. I am one who tends to condemn myself for not conquering the areas in my life that need conquering. When I fail, I hang my head and sulk in my own inability. Instead, let us take a cue from the apostle Paul who says with excitement, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" !!! [exclamation points added for emphasis]

If that is not encouraging, motivating, exhilarating, and monumental - then I don't know what is! Today, if you are 'tempted' to think the thought: "I can never do this.. I will never have victory over _____" , please remember that our ultimate victory is won in Christ. In Him we are conquerors--not only in this life, but also in the life to come!

May the Lord bless you as your contemplate these great truths.

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