Tuesday, November 15, 2016

peace: the renewing of your mind (part 2)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy (tailor made to you) and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

As we continue to understand God's invitation to COME to Him to find true and lasting peace, and as we remind ourselves of the unchanging characteristics of God... today, I would like to talk about the absolute necessity to renew our minds in Jesus name.

 The Bible tells us in Romans, "Do not conform any longer 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." (Romans 12:2)

No matter how structured our lives... no matter how healthy we may be physically or emotionally... the effects of stress are digested first in our intellects and then processed according to how spiritually mature and disciplined we are to receive such pressure. The world's way of handling stress is like putting a Disney Themed Band-Aid on a gunshot wound hemorrhaging blood. It just won't get the job done. It is man's attempt to remedy difficult situations and circumstances. Unfortunately, man's way does not actually stop the bleeding (the effects of stress) or remove the bullet (the cause of stress). To understand the correct way to deal with life's pressure and the negative effects it can cause to us (both emotionally and physically), God wants us to spiritually understand how we are meant to survive...

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:4)

God never intended for mankind to handle stress and pressure on his own. No amount of structure or healthy living we may bring into our lives can ever trump our need to receive and follow EVERY WORD spoken by our Master!

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

Did you get that? If we are apart from God... if we don't receive Him or His life-giving words... ultimately we cannot survive, much less live fully. We are worthless without Him. To live healthy, we must be willing and available to allow our Savior to transform us according to His will. For we are mere lumps of clay made by God from the elements of this planet. Without Him in our lives... we have nothing... we are nothing!

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:5)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

In order to live in peace, we must submit our minds, bodies and spirits over to our King. We must choose to follow His way of handling pressure... BIBLICALLY.

So, what does that look like? How do we biblically follow God's plan and quiet our souls to enjoy His gracious gift of peace? First and foremost, we must confess all sin and believe that God will indeed forgive us. We must own up to it and then turn from it and change our ways to mirror Jesus' ways. We must throw off all forms of selfishness and follow Him - always trusting that His character and love for us is faithful and unchanging.

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24)

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1b)

Second, we must eliminate every thing that God does not intend for us to bear alone... the responsibilities we assume outside of His will. When we don't trust God through our stress, we are favoring SELF and our own limited abilities rather than submitting to His rule and authority. So, we must be willing to hand over all fear, anger and guilt... all emotions and struggles that Satan bombards us with in an effort to make us doubt or overlook the security of our Creator. We must stop "going at it solo" and allow God to assume command over the trials we face each day on earth. For ladies, we were never made to receive those pressures alone. We must allow our Redeemer the opportunity to actually REDEEM and reign over our lives! By doing so, we give Him glory and begin to further resemble Christ in humility. This changes us into new, more holy creatures in Jesus name. Creatures free to relax in His protection and grace!

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:16)

Lastly, we must live disciplined lives and be good stewards of the many blessings our Lord continues to give. This includes physically maintaining our health with adequate rest, nutrition and exercise. It also includes spiritually seeking God's presence and spending time with Him while abiding in Him always. As stated before, His word... His presence... HE is crucial for us to live in peace and survive! To find true rest, we must BE WITH HIM and RELATE WITH HIM in order to LIVE!

Friends, we were never meant to live defeated and strung out. The enemy does not hold any power over us when we allow God to manage our lives and trust Him to take care of us. Let's resolve to allow Christ access to renew our minds and transform us every day so that we are free to enjoy His good, pleasing and perfect will.  Jesus loves us and wants what is best and healthy for us. He is always ready to receive us. He will never dismiss us. He is nourishment for us! Let's follow Him and take His easy yoke upon us and relax in His truth.

Our Savior has promised to walk with us and take on all our burdens... let's trust Him!
Our Shepherd has promised to give us true, peaceful rest and enjoy His protective presence... let's trust Him!
We were never made to live without God's wise guidance, protection and love.
Let's follow Him and accept His invitation to COME!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) 

Let's trust Him!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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