Are You in a Battle?

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Are you in a battle for your health, your life, your encouragement, or your positivity today? Don’t sit around and wait until you have no doubts. You have to choose to believe God’s word. It’s a daily choice. You are never going to live this life without any doubts at all until you are in heaven.

We battle. We battle our minds. We battle our flesh. That is why the Lord tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Him. That’s why we are supposed to be a living sacrifice. Sacrifice that is living continually wants to walk, get up, and move up to the altar and take up its own agenda.

We have a battle. There is a raging battle between the flesh and the spirit all the time. To assume you are not going to have any doubts is just deceiving yourself. It’s okay. Just choose to believe God’s word. Put the doubts down. Take the thought captive. Refuse to dwell on them; think about them, but focus more on God’s promises than on your doubts.

You are not being a hypocrite when you choose to believe God’s word when you are in the middle of a struggle. You are actually deciding who you really are. “Am I really this person in the flesh who is in the middle of a battle between my doubts and my faith, or am I who God says I am?” Do you think the real you is your natural mind—your carnal mind? Or do you believe your spirit man is your true self? You must decide who your true self is and begin to live it.

I know the flesh is powerful. It feels like the real you. The doubts are the real you. But the Bible says you become a new creation. You are born again. You’re now a child of God, an alien in this world. You have crossed over out of death and into life. Who is the real you? You have to decide: “This is the real me.”

“The new you on the inside is perfect and has the mind of Christ,” says 1 Corinthians 2:16. Colossians 3:10 says we have been renewed in the knowledge and the image that created us. 1 John 2:1 says we know all things. It’s not talking about what’s in our mind. It’s talking about what’s in your spirit. We are just too carnal. Instead of tapping into God’s power and unlimited knowledge, we believe we are limited by what we know and our knowledge.We limit God’s ability to work in our lives and our ability to agree with Him when we agree with our thoughts, our own understanding.

The new you on the inside is righteous, holy, and pure. If you believe the real you has been truly born again, is a new creation, and you are who God says you are, then you are a hypocrite for agreeing with your fleshly doubts. If you consider being a hypocrite as speaking the word of God and believing you are the righteousness of Christ, then you think the real you is the emotional, physical you and not the spiritual one that has been born again.

It’s time to find out who you are in Christ and change your identity—to have that identity of who you are in Him. Be more true than what you look like, what you feel like, what your emotions say, what has happened to you, and the circumstances around you, so you would truly know who God says you are and agree with that more than anything else. It would be greater and larger than anything that comes against you. You would not be faithless in challenges if you would simply believe God.

My Faith Is Weak—I Need More Faith

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We all have the faith of Jesus Christ. That’s what Scripture says. You cannot come to God without Him. He actually gives you the faith to believe in Him. The faith you have isn’t your own. You didn’t muster it up. You’re not some great person of faith. Yes, sometimes He gives people a spiritual gift of faith, but it’s still from Him. He is the author of it.

If you and I have the same faith because God gave it to us so we could know Him and love Him, then how do we make our faith work more effectually? Some people have more effective faith than I do. I look at them and think, “How is that? How is that possible?” I believe it comes from their relationship with God. They’re seeking Him and pursuing Him. They’re reading His Word, chomping it up, ingesting it, and believing what it says with childlike faith. It stirs them up.

I received a gift from a friend of mine. It’s a candle. I don’t burn candles in my home. I haven’t burned them since I had kids. I don’t want to risk the accidental knocking over and fire or wax in the carpet. It was a gift my friend gave to me, but it’s never really been used. It just sits there. I think that’s what faith is like. God gives it to you, and you either light it and use it, or you don’t and it just sits there.

So how do we light the candle of our faith? I believe the answer is in Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). I believe hope is the fire for your faith. Hope is your part, and faith is God’s part. God gave you the faith; now, can you keep up your hope? Can you keep yourself focused on the promises of God? Can you keep yourself focused on this amazing promise: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV)?

Jesus also said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1 NIV). He wouldn’t give you a command you could not keep. I believe that when you let your heart be troubled, you lose your hope, and it’s not there to spark your faith. We need to learn, remember, and put our hope in the promises of God. 

“Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP)

I keep my eyes on this truth. It keeps stirring me up. It builds up my hope. It makes my hope grow and become active and alive so it can light the candle of my faith—the faith that God has deposited in me. It’s not really my faith, so I cannot boast in it! I refer to it as my faith, but it’s really not. It was a gift given to me by God. It’s His. He deposited it. When I place my hope in Him, it lights and connects. The faith He has given me ignites, and sparks fly!

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Jump into your Bible. As you read, your hope in the Lord will grow and SOAR! 


Top 3 Beauty Tips

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Are any of you addicted to reading about beauty tips and secrets? Do you regularly scan through websites and blog posts, looking for ways to become skinnier and more beautiful?

If you do, don’t worry; I used to be just like you. I have always wanted to be skinnier. Every time I saw an article about weight loss or dieting, I pored through it, trying to figure out the new tips and suggestions. I tried most of the workout routines I found. It was a terrible feeling to discover that the newest fad, tip, or secret wasn’t working.

After doing this for years, I realized that most programs were more about making money than actually helping people meet their goals.

The rest of what I discovered I made into my top 3 beauty tips.

3. Our bodies are the temple of Christ.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)

Our bodies are temples of Christ. We need to respect this by respecting ourselves and our bodies. This means we need to take care of our bodies. We need to learn self-control so we can regulate our eating and exercise habits. We also need to respect ourselves so we don’t abuse our bodies in any way. Take care of the body God knit together for you. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV)

2. Inner beauty vs. outward beauty

Your inner beauty has more importance than you may realize. Scripture has this to say about inner beauty:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

I suggest that you live each day trying to make the inner you more beautiful! Start by making sure you show the fruits of the Spirit in all you do.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Use these to guide your ways, and your inner beauty will shine the light of Jesus in the darkest of places!

This leads me to the most important beauty tip:

1. God looks at the heart.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

When God is looking down on us, He does not see us the way the people of the world see each other. He sees each one of His creations as beautiful!


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)

I pray that each of you realizes how special and beautiful you are. I pray that you discover and live the way God views you. I pray that you share your joy with others as you discover all the wonderful works of Jesus!

Thank you so much to all of you who have been reading my blogs!

Emotions — 3 Practical Steps to Change

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Today, we are going to look at the Word, God’s word. It is sharp; it will penetrate your heart and change you!

The Bible gives us truths and tools to train our soul (our mind, will, and emotions) to agree with the Spirit of God.

Read one or all of these passages:
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
2 Corinthians 10:5
Matthew 6:33
1 Samuel 16:1
1 Samuel 30:6
1 Samuel 31:13 
Galatians 5:24-26
Colossians 3 
Isaiah 26:3
Isaiah 54:17
1 Peter 1:8
Proverbs 23:7
Deuteronomy 30:19
Romans 8:6
Romans 10:17
Zechariah 4:6

1. From these verses, make a list of practical things the Bible teaches that you can do to make your emotions submit to the Spirit.

2. Take time to write down any emotions and thoughts that spiral you down into places that are set against God’s truth. For example:

  • “I’m insecure”
  • “I’m unlovable”
  • “I’m alone”

3. Take these lies captive and make them obedient to God’s truth. Write down the truth next to your negative thoughts. For example:

  • “I’m secure!”
  • “I’m loved!”
  • “I’m in Christ, and Christ is in me!”

Work on your list all week. What lies did you identify? What truths did you replace them with? What questions do you have?

The Key to Overcoming Offense

I used to be easily offended. Everything hurt me. Over the years, I have slowly allowed God to heal those painful places where I could be easily gotten. However, I still get hurt. I can still be offended, especially by the people I love the most, the ones closest to me. It is a full-on fight to throw down the offense and stand up in truth and love! How about you?

Knowing who we are in Christ makes all the difference in the world because once you know who you are, you suddenly begin to see others as who they are in Christ. It makes it easier to forgive and get over your stupid offense! 

What belongs to us when we are made a new creation through Christ? Do you know?
Stop. Do you really know? Maybe you know in your mind, but do you know in your heart, deep down in your soul?
Are you bothered when others challenge you or call you out on your behavior? Are you defensive? Are you easily hurt or offended?
We spend most of our lives being told by our parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and friends what they think of us. They might say good things, like “You are so smart” or ” You are so much fun to be around,” or they might say bad things, like “You are stupid” or “I wish you were never born.”
These comments shape us. Somewhere along the journey, because of a certain behavior or trait or something you did once, you might have been given a nickname. I was Motor Mouth (my softball team put it on my shirt!). I was also short stuff and hollow leg (because I could eat anything and not gain a pound—wish that were still true!). My stepdad called me stupid.
Faith comes from hearing, and I heard all of these bad and silly things about myself for so long that they truly began to shape my identity.
When I became a Christ follower, I still lived out of my old identity. Quite frankly, I had a really hard time believing that I could be completely new in Christ. I still felt stupid and insignificant and insecure. I had a serious case of identity confusion!
Discovering our identity in Christ is a journey of tearing down the false ID and rebuilding our true identity. It takes a lot of time and trust in the Lord. As you grow near to Him and steep yourself in the things He says about you, you will be transformed into your true identity and be more confident than you have ever known! 

Do you want this? 

Are you hungry for the truth? 

Because if you are not, this journey will not be very fruitful. You have to want it! You have to want it like you want air to breathe! It can be so hard to accept the wonderful person that you are in Christ, and if you don’t want it, you will be likely to waste your time. It is a lifelong journey. 

So decide now: Will you spend your life seeking to know your true identity, your true self, in Christ Himself?
Who’s in? Raise your hand!

One Key to Happiness: Family

Everyone’s searching to belong. We search to belong to a family, a friend circle, or some other sort of group.

I’ve recently started taking back my health. I joined a gym and signed up with a coach. There are like a hundred of us fighting to take back our health. What is incredible is the community and the fellowship with like-minded people. It is ridiculous. We’re all fighting, we’re all standing, and we all encourage each other because we are in the same race. It is awesome.

When people become Christians, they start searching for where they fit within the community of believers. They wonder, “Where do I fit in? Where is the place of community for me? Where am I going to be encouraged and loved? Who will hold up my arms when I’m about to fall into temptation?” We’re striving for the kind of community I have at my gym.

“May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.” (Genesis 28:3 NIV) 

I think we can find what we’re searching for within our own families. The problem today is that families are dysfunctional. Parents don’t stick together. They get a divorce. Strife steps in and tears down the bonds in marriage and families. It tears mother from daughter, father from son, sibling from sibling, and families splinter.

Even in school, what do we do? We promote segregation of the family. You go into your grade, and your siblings go into their grades. You don’t see each other all day long. When you do, the older one probably looks down on the younger ones because they are not the same age. School categorizes everyone by age.

I believe the ultimate community we are all searching for is provided through the family. A family doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be united. I think God set it right there in front of us: “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3 NIV). Ask people from big families. They have built-in friendships and bonds that small families may not experience.
Pray with me:

I pray today, Father, that the walls we have built up in our families and close friendships would be torn down and we would choose unity over having our own way. I pray that we would be like-minded, that we would be one as Christ is one with God. I pray that we would choose to lay down our life over taking up our platform or grievance against each other. I pray that we would no longer be easily offended by one another and that we would encourage each other every single day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus’ Name and the Authority to Use It

In 2003, I didn’t have a clue that Jesus’ name was literally above every other name that could be named on earth. I had no clue that it was a name that had power in it or that it was for my use in my life to speak over mountains so they would be cast into the sea. I had no idea that I could use it in my family’s life while praying over them or for them. I had no idea I could share it with strangers at the grocery store and see them be healed.

In 2003, I was blind. I knew there was a God who loved me, but I wasn’t convinced that He was for me. I had no idea that He had left me with the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

From August of 2003 until about November of 2005, I dug into the word of God daily, searching and striving, hungrily devouring every page and every word. I would be in awe of who God is, who Jesus is. Hebrews says that Jesus is the exact representation of God.

I had an idea of who God was from the Old Testament and what I had been told by my church. I had an idea of who God was. I thought He was a God who was on a throne, dictating and controlling. He was kind of our puppeteer, if you will. Yet how could He be controlling a stepdad who was abusing his daughter? How could He be controlling my behavior? How could He be willing to put me through all of that? I’ll tell you how. He wasn’t. He was not. 

He is a God who is sitting on a throne and sent His Son, who loves me so much, to bail me out. He sent His Son through every temptation that I would ever walk through. He left His Son on the cross to die. When Jesus ascended to be with God, He sent His Holy Spirit to come and live inside of me. He sent a piece of Himself to live with me, inside of me. It is a deposit guaranteeing my inheritance. Once He puts it in, He is not taking it back until He returns. It’s fully mine. I have full ownership of it. It’s part of who I am. I am in Him, and He is in me. 

When you look at the attributes of what comes with the Holy Spirit, you see power. It is delegated power from God. It is like the alien mother ship sent me down as an alien, part of His kingdom, to take back this world. Hello? Yes. 

He didn’t do it so I could spend every single day suffering and worrying about myself and taking care of myself. He gave me the same power that raised Christ from the dead and the name of Jesus Christ, which is a name above every other name, and the authority to use that name so that I could live life to the full and share it with others. How do people know we are His disciples? They know by our love. Amazing! Oh my goodness. I had no idea. 

I was not taught in church that Jesus’ name was above every other name and God had given me the authority to use it. It’s not my name. It’s the name of Jesus. It’s what He did for us. It’s the finished work He already completed. I have it. I have the opportunity to exercise it. I can have a trial come into my face—a sickness, a doctor’s report, bills, strife, teenage rebellion—but it cannot contain me. It cannot take me.

If I pull out the weapon of Jesus, whose name is above every other name, the giant must fall. The mountain will be reduced to dust because it is just a molehill under the name of Jesus Christ. I have the power to use that. It’s true that I have the power to complain. I have the power to agree with all the turmoil and all the trials that come in my direction. I also have the power to choose to stand in the name of Jesus Christ, in His name and His authority and His finished work.

I once was blind, but now I see. Scripture says that it’s for lack of knowledge that we perish. I once didn’t know, but now I do know. I have the knowledge. I have the relational knowledge of knowing God intimately and deeply. I know that I have access to the name of Jesus Christ, a name above every other name. 

No Condemnation, yet Condemned

It’s almost impossible not to live in condemnation when the world is constantly evaluating you, correcting you, and telling you how to be better. There is a sense you need to be perfect. How many people do you know who would say, “Well, I thought you were a Christian,” because they expect that once you become a Christian, you become perfect? 

That’s not actually true. Once you become a Christian, your weaknesses are made perfect in His perfection. It means, “Hey, I’m not perfect, so I need someone to complete me.” It doesn’t mean, “I’m perfect. I’m holier than thou. I’m righteous.” It means, “I need someone’s righteousness and perfection to fill up my gap. I was a zero. I need someone to make me one hundred.” I think some people view Christians like, “Oh, well, you don’t drink, smoke, or chew, so you must be holding yourself out as perfect, trying to show me how perfect you are and judging me in the process.”

I think we need to be careful not to put people into the law, and instead we need to keep them in grace, because the law makes people want to break it. But grace makes people want to celebrate and live in freedom. How can our kids not think there is such an expectation from God to be perfect if we are constantly expecting it? When they fail, every time, they keep condemnation on themselves because they think we expect them to be perfect. 

What about your boss? I know I do this: “Can you do this with more excellence? Can you do this better? Do this with excellence as if you are serving the Lord.” But where is the work coming from? Is it coming from their heart? Is it coming as if they’re serving the Lord? Maybe it’s not perfect, maybe it’s not exactly as you wanted, but if their heart is right, that is what should matter. But our world doesn’t do this. We live in such a different age. It’s like, “Your heart was right, but your work sucks, so you’re fired.” That isn’t reflecting the love of God.

We have all these leadership talks, and I would personally put them all and say, “Let’s start being the hands and feet of Christ.” If people are quick to obey, if they give their all, if their heart is steadfast on the Lord, and if He is their master and not man, then they are worthy of their keep. They are worth keeping. They are worth investing in. You cannot replace that easily. You can always find somebody who wants to work a bit harder because their identity is in what they do.

But how can we, as men, be condemning when the Bible says there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus? It’s so confusing.

For one week, let us challenge ourselves to offer no condemnation but only encouragement. Hebrews 3:13 says, “Encourage each other daily for as long as it is today so that your hearts may not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Let’s encourage one another and not condemn for one week. I would love to hear what happens with your family.

Body, Soul, and Spirit

Maybe your parents always told you that you are the best and the brightest. You are the smartest and the sharpest. You are the best-looking and the kindest. Maybe they always told you that you did great things. Maybe you made tenth place in your athletic event, but your parents still went all-out with the praise: “Good job for trying! We’re so proud of you. You’re so awesome.” Maybe they always spoke positive and encouraging words, even when you failed. If you got an F on your test, they would say, “It’s okay. It’s no big deal. You’re still smart and sharp. You’re the sharpest and the brightest.” The truth, however, is that there’s a lack of understanding lurking underneath this kind of praise.

The truth is that we’re made up of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. In your spirit, all of that awesome and amazing stuff is true. In our spirits, we are perfect. We couldn’t be more perfect. Our spirits are seated at the right hand of Jesus Christ as finished works. Our spirits are perfect masterpieces, chosen, holy, blameless, and so loved. In the eyes of God, our sins are far removed from us. But while we are on this earth, our bodies and our souls, or our minds, are being renewed in the likeness of Jesus Christ every single day.

Our job on this earth is to tame and renew our minds so they come in line with the Holy Spirit. Our job is to train up the body to come in line with the spirit. Our job is to command the body to stop craving the desires of this world, like sexual immorality and quick fixes. Our job is to train ourselves not to be emotion-led but to be spirit-led. We need to understand that when our emotions flare, this tells us we have a trust issue with God. We need to pause and seek God and pray, “God, why am I so angry about this? Father, why am I so sad? Help me to align my emotions with You, God.”

Emotions are like a dashboard in a car. Sometimes a yellow light will show up on your dashboard and indicate “low fuel.” Everybody knows what to do when that happens: go to the gas station. No problem. Well, sometimes a light comes on and it’s a “check engine” warning. That may spark a panic attack in you or at least cause you some anxiety because you start worrying, “I don’t have the time or the money to go have my engine replaced. Am I going to have to replace my car?” Your mind automatically starts to churn through all of the terrible possibilities because car problems are expensive.

But that reaction is not what the car manufacturer intended. The purpose of the dashboard is to tell you there’s a problem. It lets you know not to continue on this trip any longer until you have this problem checked out, or else you may end up with a bigger problem. It’s a warning system to alert you, “Hey, you need to check the engine. There is a problem.” The car manufacturer didn’t put the system in place to frustrate you or cause you to have anxiety or a panic attack. It’s meant to help you.

God did the same thing with our emotions. He gave us a yellow light to tell us, “Wait a minute. There may be a problem here. Don’t go any further. Stop blabbing your mouth. Don’t tell someone off. Just stop and pause and check the engine.” Instead of an engine check, we need to do a heart check. Ask God, “Show me what I’m missing and help me to see why this is causing me to get so flared up.”

Our job on this earth is to work continuously on getting our emotions and our will in line with the Holy Spirit. God has work that He wants you to do. He has called you. He has chosen you. He pulled you out before you were born, plucked you right out, to do work. The truth is that you can say “no” or you can say “yes.” God sets out the option for you, and it’s your choice to make.

So, what is your decision? If we choose to love God, then every day we constantly have to conform our will to God’s. Think of Jonah. God told him to go to Nineveh, but he was like, “Whatever. I’m not going to line up my will with yours, God. I’m going to Tarshish instead. I’m going to do what I want to do.”

Our job on this earth is to stop and listen to God and say, “God, I want to do what You want me to do.” It’s like someone telling you to go to 7-Eleven, and you go right away to 7-Eleven. It’s like if someone tells you to turn left out of your neighborhood instead of right today, and you simply follow the directions. Maturity in the faith is learning to obey at the very moment God speaks and not to delay.

Our job is to reconcile our mind and our will to the Holy Spirit’s perfection continuously. We need to continue to say “yes” to the will of God. We need to continue to be refined by fire and to make the hard decisions. Even if we don’t want to do what God calls us to do, we need to choose to do it anyway simply because its what God wants. We need to get our flesh in line with the Holy Spirit.

It’s time to tell your body what’s what: “Body, you’re not going to sit here and lie to me and tell me what God says to do is wrong because you don’t feel like doing it. I command you to listen up and obey the Holy Spirit. I’m not going to be sexually impure anymore. I refuse to use my eyes for purposes for which they were not designed. I refuse to use my body for anything for which it was not designed by God. I refuse to allow pain to rule me and get in the way of my doing the work of God. I refuse. Body, you listen up to the voice of the Holy Spirit!”

The reality is that sometimes the human body and soul fail. That’s true of Christians, not just unbelievers. We make mistakes because we’re human and we’re being transformed. We’re in the process of being transformed. Because we’re being transformed and we’re still in the process, we’re going to fail.

If you were raised by parents who never let you see your failures or who caught you every time before you failed, they were doing you an injustice. If you are a parent who catches your kids before they fail or never lets them see their failures, you’re doing them a complete disservice because you’re not preparing them for the reality of living in this world as imperfect beings. Your children will hurt later when they fail. They won’t know how to respond to failure or how to handle negative criticism from an employer or spouse or their own children. They may get mad or fall apart or run away. Prepare your children with the truth so they will know how to handle life when they’re no longer under your protection.

The truth is that your spirit is perfect but your body and your soul are not. It’s your imperfection that reminds you how much you need the Savior to get through every day. Your failures help you to understand that you always need to say “yes” to God’s will over your own. It gives you a dependency on God when you know you fail without Him.

Failing doesn’t mean you are a failure. Instead, failing means you did something that missed the perfect mark of what God asked you to do. Failing means you did something without giving a hundred percent of your heart to the Lord and serving Him. Failing is doing life on your own, apart from God. Failing is leaning into your emotions and giving way to them; it’s yelling at your children or your spouse or your friends and taking out your anger and inadequacies on them. Failing is not recognizing that you are still human and you need to make the decisions God has asked you to make so you can be transformed into His likeness in every area and your body and soul can be brought into submission to the Holy Spirit.

You need to understand that you are made up of body, soul, and spirit. Your spirit is perfect in Christ. You are a masterpiece, God’s workmanship. When you know who you are and you stand firm in it, it’s way easier to bring your body and your soul into submission to God.

You can say, “Hey, soul, stop trying to go your own way. Stop trying to be emotion-led, because God is worthy and He has made me a masterpiece. I’m going to stand in my identity in Christ. I am a chosen, loved, holy, blameless person of God, and I am going to stand fully in that truth. I refuse to go my own way. I refuse to live out of my emotions. I refuse to let the sun go down on my anger tonight because my Father, who has named me and adopted me, is worthy. I refuse to allow my body to command me or lust to rule me or selfish ambition to take me places where God never intended for me to go.”

Pray every day, “Father, I want to stand in who You say I am. I want to bring my body and soul into submission to You. In Jesus’ name, I bind all these. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Know Your Identity in Christ

When you know your identity in Jesus Christ, it changes you. It changes everything. You realize that in Christ you are free. God has always given us the freedom of choice. He did not create us as robots. He has never forced us to love Him or obey Him. However, if we choose to follow Christ, we enjoy a new kind of freedom because “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2 NIV). 

In Christ, we are free from the control of our sinful nature and the death it brings. We are free to turn away from sin. When we are tempted, we have “a way out” (1 Cor. 10:13 NIV). We are free to choose love and let go of hatred. We are free to move beyond the pain and guilt of our past. We can live in freedom as a result of God’s grace and mercy.

Let’s examine mercy and grace. We are the objects of mercy when we are spared the punishment we deserve. We experience grace when we are offered a free gift we did not earn. It is difficult for us to comprehend grace fully because our society is work-oriented and proud. We have a hard time receiving gifts we haven’t earned. We believe we should put in our eight hours and then receive the pay we are due. 

Here’s the problem: God does not owe us anything good. God challenged Job, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me” (Job 41:11 NIV). We cannot give anything to God that does not already belong to Him. Therefore, God does not owe us any benefits, favors, gifts, or blessings.
In fact, what we are due from God is a sentence of death because the just penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:23 NIV). God sent His sinless Son as a sacrifice to suffer our punishment for us (Rom. 3:25; Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 5:2; 1 Peter 1:18–19 NIV). We deserve death, and God sent His Son so we could experience life: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23 NIV). We are no longer bound in slavery to death, thanks to God’s mercy.
God not only cancels our debts, He also gives us who put our faith in Christ life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV). We do not have to pay the price for our sins, and we also receive an additional gift: grace. We do not have to wait for our new blessed, eternal life. It begins as soon as we accept, through faith, Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our Savior. God places His Spirit within us, and we embark on a life of fellowship with Him (John 14:16–20, 23; Rom. 8:11; Titus 3:4–7 NIV). God offers us the gift of a personal relationship with Him. We enjoy the entirely undeserved privilege of conversation with the Lord God Almighty. He ministers to our hearts and maintains His hand in our lives to protect, bless, guide, and teach us. We never need to stand alone.
It is humbling to consider how we never can earn or deserve God’s great gift to us. Not one of us is good without Him. Paul wrote, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Rom. 7:18 NIV). Not a single hair on our heads, nor a cell in our bodies, is good apart from the Lord. If we could achieve salvation by our own efforts, there would be no need for God’s grace (Rom. 11:6; Gal. 2:21 NIV). We would not need a Savior, and our faith would be meaningless. In truth, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23–24 NIV). God “saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4–5 NIV).
There is actually freedom in the fact that God’s gift of reconciliation with Him is and must be free. Since the covenant is based on who God is and what He has done, we can rest in this understanding: our salvation is secure. We no longer need to be defined by our sins. We can move forward in grace, knowing we have been forgiven and restored completely. There is nothing in our past God is remembering and holding against us.
It can be difficult to believe we have been redeemed when we feel guilty over past sins and stuck in our sinful nature, incapable of being anything else. When our faith falters, we need simply to turn to God’s word, which is full of assurances. Paul asserted that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 NIV), for “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Cor. 5:19 NIV). Jesus Himself declared, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24 NIV).
This message of hope is not limited to the New Testament. God reveals the loving, compassionate, forgiving aspects of His nature in the Old Testament as well. Through the prophet Isaiah, God proclaimed, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25 NIV). God urges us “not [to] dwell on the past” (Isaiah 43:18 NIV). He separates us from our sin “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12 NIV). 

Our God “pardons sin” and “delight[s] to show mercy” (Micah 7:18 NIV). He “tread[s] our sins underfoot and hurl[s] all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19 NIV). Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34 NIV). God has compassion on us “[a]s a father has compassion on his children” (Psalm 103:13 NIV). His love for us is unshakable, and His “covenant of peace [will not] be removed” (Isaiah 54:10 NIV).
God does not view us as worthless disappointments. Instead, He cherishes us as His children. When we put our faith in Christ, God removes our sin and gives us a righteousness we never could earn (Rom. 3:21–25; Rom. 10:4 NIV). As Paul explained, in Christ we can “become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV). We are “clothed … with Christ” (Gal. 3:27 NIV), and Christ lives in us (John 14:20; John 17:22–23, 26; Gal. 2:20 NIV). When God looks at us, He sees Christ. He loves us as He loves Christ (John 17:23, 26 NIV).
We who believe in Christ have a new identity as beloved brothers of Christ and children of God (Rom. 8:14-17, 29; Gal. 3:26; Gal. 4:4–7; Titus 3:4–7 NIV). With that new identity comes a new way of worshipping God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23–24 NIV). We now “serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom. 7:6 NIV). In Christ, there are no boundaries, only opportunities, because in Christ we are free from the law (Rom. 6:14; Rom. 7:4–6; Rom. 8:2; Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:25; Gal. 5:18 NIV). That doesn’t mean the law is now valueless and we should simply ignore the whole first part of the Bible. The law still has purpose today. Through the law, we learn what sin is and become aware that we are guilty of it (Rom. 3:20; Rom. 7:7 NIV). The law exposes our inadequacy and so leads us to our Savior.
The difference in our new view of the law is the understanding that we cannot gain righteousness by obeying the law (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:15–16 NIV). No matter what we do, we cannot meet God’s standard (Rom. 3:23 NIV). Only God can meet God’s standard, which is why redemption, forgiveness, and righteousness must come by Christ (Rom. 8:3–4 NIV). We need to be careful never to be trapped by the false belief that we can meet God’s standard and achieve His glory by our own efforts (Gal. 5:1 NIV). It is important to God for us to walk in freedom by His Spirit (Gal. 5:1; 2 Cor. 3:17 NIV).
For people who are already saved, the law serves the further purpose of teaching us what matters to God so we can learn how to be more like Him. We are “dearly loved children” and have a deep desire to be like our Father, following Christ’s example (Eph. 5:1–2 NIV). The love of God explodes in our hearts, and we follow Him and obey Him out of this love. As Jesus told His disciples, people who love Him will obey Him (John 14:15, 21, 23 NIV). 

I don’t believe this means we obey God to prove we love Him. No, the love we have for Him because of what He has done for us is what creates a response of obedience to Him. Paul called it “the obedience that comes from faith” (Rom. 1:5 NIV). A life of loving God and loving people with our thoughts, words, and actions is the evidence of our faith (Gal. 5:6, 14; Matt. 22:35–40; John 13:34–35; John 15:17 NIV).
God’s love within us brings us freedom because we dont want to sin anymore. We dont want to be in bondage to pornography or envy or hatred. We dont want to be slaves to bitterness. Ive already done this. I have lived such a life, and its painful. Holding a grudge against someone eats at you from the inside out. Its like cancer in your soul. When we are new in Christ and filled with the Spirit of God, we don’t want this kind of life anymore. We turn away from destructive ways. We know we belong to God, and we want to do His work (Rom. 7:4; Phil. 3:12–14 NIV). We want to love as He loves. We want to walk with Him and dwell in His presence forever.
God considered a personal relationship with each of us so precious that He paid the highest price in order to reconcile us to Him. Now nothing and no one can “separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35–39 NIV). I know I have not been rejected. I have not been abandoned. I am loved. I am loved beyond understanding. I have received the greatest gift and the greatest forgiveness. I don’t need boundaries. My God directs my steps. He changes my path. He is constantly straightening my crooked ways. In every step I take, I rest in God’s love and guidance. I have the fullness of joy and peace in every moment of my life. This is freedom.