We are Victors not Victims!

First, while you are reading this booklet, please read Romans chapters 5 through 8, Galatians chapters 5 through 6, the entire book of Colossians, James 1, I & II Peter, and I John. These scriptures will give you better understanding of the principles presented in this booklet.

God’s children live on promises, not explanations:

Do the circumstances or people in your life leave you feeling like you are a victim? Do you find yourself responding like a victim? Does the cycle seem impossible to break? (God knows the truth, so go ahead and be honest).

Romans 12:2 says, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think, ” and then in Romans 4:17b we read “…the God who gives life to the dead calls things into being which do not yet exist” Finally in Romans 4: 20- 21 we see the example of Abraham; “Yet with respect to the promises of God he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith giving God the Glory, being fully assured that what God had promised He was able also to perform.” Be encouraged!

While we all want our responses to the difficult people and situations in our life to be “according to the Word of God”, that is, understanding that God is refining us, usually our responses are the result of our own highly developed coping mechanisms. We find ourselves working all day, every day, maintaining our “baggage.” Does this sound like you, working hard to keep from buckling under the pressures of daily life? Exhausting, isn’t it?

Stop…

Think about how you live life as a Christian, how you handle relationships, how you respond to others, how you react to the difficult things that come your way. Are you stuck? Do you want to be free?

Then think about what it would look and feel like to walk in the freedom Christ has given us as Victors and not victims, enjoying a vibrant relationship with Christ.

Now think long and hard about this question before answering: “Is what you are doing working for you?” If not, then prayerfully grasp a hold of these truths:

We don’t work for the Victory, we work from the Victory! You don’t have to work for something you already have. However, you do have to work at maintaining the relationship, The same kind of work you do to maintain any good relationship.

Here is the proof:

In Lamentations 3:37 we read, “Can anything happen without the Lord’s permission?” God is not surprised by anything you are going through. You are not the victim of man or God!

1 Peter 2:15-17; 21-24

“It is God's will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you. 16You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God's slaves. 17Show respect for everyone. Love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God. Show respect for the king. 18You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters. Do whatever they tell you--not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are harsh. 19For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment. 20Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you.21This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. 22He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone. 23He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds! 25Once you were wandering like lost sheep. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.” …

Let me repeat this…”21This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. 22He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone. 23He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 24He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds! 25Once you were wandering like lost sheep. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.”

Then in 1 Peter 4:12-13 He tells us not to be surprised…

12 Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13Instead, be very glad--because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering….”

Isn’t it amazing that we are always surprised!

According to these passages, correct, Biblical thinking tells us that the purpose of our trials is to make us partners with Christ in His suffering! How intimate! Taking hold of this truth should definitely change our attitude and view of suffering.

Again as washed, cleansed, new creatures in Christ you are not the victim of another person, you are not the victim of Satan, you are not even the victim of God!

Here is more proof from the Word of God:

In John 19:4-8 we find the account of Jesus before Pilate. Pilate found no fault in Jesus but when he brought Jesus to the crowd the religious leaders demanded his crucifixion. Beginning in verse 9 of chapter 19 we read…

9He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked Him, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer. 10"You won't talk to me?" Pilate demanded. "Don't you realize that I have the power to release you or to crucify you?" 11Then Jesus said, "You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. …”

Even Pilate, the Roman ruler in Judea, could not do anything to Jesus without God’s permission. Remember, Lamentations 3:37 says “Can anything happen without the Lord’s permission?” God gives His permission for everything that comes into our lives.

Victors! Not victims!

We are not victims, but Victors in Christ, and we are HIS BELOVED!

As washed, cleansed, new creatures in Christ we are not the victims of other people, Satan, or even God!

It all starts in the mind:

“As a man thinks in his mind, so he is, so he does.” Proverbs 23:7

Jesus was not man’s victim or God’s victim and neither are we! Victim mentality is contrary to the Word of God. It is wrong thinking. If we don’t think correctly, our actions are not going to be correct. Whatever you think affects how you act. If you don’t understand what God’s Word says about your position and how you possess real freedom right now, then you will try to look like a Christian on the outside (which is exhausting) and be dying and defeated on the inside.

Dying and defeated on the inside does not sound like freedom to me; but I am afraid it does sound all too familiar to many believers. Consider the mind of Christ. In Mark 14:36 Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and He prays, “Abba Father,” that’s intimacy, “nothing is too difficult for You” that’s acknowledgement, “please take this cup from me,” that’s honesty, “but, not my will,” that’s surrender, “but Your will be done,” that’s humility. He knew He wasn’t God’s victim. He was surrendered to God’s will…because He knew that the Truth would not only ultimately set Him free to be with His Father again, but also His obedience would set us free. I am so glad His thoughts were perfect and He didn’t cop an attitude thinking of Himself as a victim of man, Satan, or God! Imagine, if Jesus would have had wrong thinking. We really would still be victims and not free to be Victors in Christ!

(The following verses are all taken from the New Living Translation unless otherwise noted) Galatians 2:20

“The old man, our old sinful nature, has been (that’s past tense) crucified with Christ and it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us and the life which we now live in the flesh, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and delivered Himself up for us.”

Romans 8:5-9 (NIV)

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That is why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God … But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.”

Romans 8:12-14

“So dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”

Galatians 5:16-18

“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.”

Now is the time to begin living like the new creatures we are in Christ.
Now is the time to become experts in the Word of God and know what He says about our position as “the new creature”.
Now is the time to understand from God’s Word what the new creature looks like.
What a dynamic impact it will have on our lives when we truly know and understand this.

This booklet is written for those who know Jesus Christ. If you do not have a relationship with Him and would like to experience what you have just read about turn to page 26 before you read any further.

Soak in the truth from these crucial facts in Romans:
(adapted from J. Corson)

Romans 1 deals with the perversity of sin
Romans 2-3:18 deals with the pervasiveness of sin
Romans 3:18-5:21 deals with the penalty of sin
Romans 6 deals a deathblow to the power of sin
Romans 7 Paul deals with the questions of preoccupations with sin

Romans 1-5 tells us we are dead “in” sin and free from the “penalty of sin”. Salvation is accomplished apart from works. It is done. It is finished. The work is complete.

Romans 6-8 tell us we are dead “to” sin and free from the “power” of sin. Meaning that sin no long has any authority over us, it can no longer dictate to us what to do.

Christians try to fight sin by preaching, “No, No, No.” God’s word teaches us to say “Know, know, know”. Know that you have a new identification with Jesus Christ. We are set free through Jesus’ death on the cross!...

Romans 6:6 says, “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.” The word crucified or destroyed is the Greek word, ‘Katargeo’, and it means rendered “inactive or paralyzed”. It doesn’t mean annihilated. Therefore when your old sin nature screams at you to do the old things, Paul says in essence that although the old nature can yell, he is powerless to act since the Cross paralyzed him from the neck down.

Then in Romans 6:7-9 we learn the work of the cross is complete. “For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with Him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him.”

Finally, in Romans 6:10-11 Paul is saying, “Know this, when Jesus died on the Cross, your old sin nature was with Him, count on it!” “10 When He died, He died once to break the power of sin. But now that He lives, He lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. “That is why Communion has two elements, for when you take the cup, you celebrate the fact that you are “free from the penalty of sin”, and when you take the broken body, your appropriate the fact that you are “free from the power of sin.”

The power of sin IS broken! Believe it by faith. Sin’s dominion is not broken through clever counseling or talking it through. It is broken through one thing only: the Work of Calvary…Christ’s death on the cross.

Romans 7:4 says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.” This is so wonderful! You have become dead to the Law. That is the key. You will never see a dead body in a courtroom trial because when a person is dead, he is no longer under the authority of the Law. So too, because you died in Christ (Gal. 2:20) you are free from legalism. Thus, there is no reason to be preoccupied with your failing, your lack of prayer, your lack of love, your lack of anything. There is no reason to try to live up to the rules, regulations and expectations you have put upon yourself. When you realize that your flesh died with Christ on Calvary, you are free from the demands of the Law and free instead just to love the Lord. Look at what Psalm 34:5 tells us, “Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” If you are looking at the law the result will be condemnation and shame, but if you are looking at Christ the result will be forgiveness and joy.

Check out Romans 7:5-6 “When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.” This is an entirely new way of living. We see this in Jeremiah 31 and Exodus 36. “No longer will I give you tablets of stone,” the Lord declares in the New Covenant, “but I will write My will upon the tablet of your heart”. Every day becomes an adventure. Some days He might awaken you at 4:30 in the morning to seek His face and to pray, while other times, He might tell you to sleep in.

That’s the way Christianity was meant to be. But what have we done? We have constructed legalistic systems and expectations both personally and corporately. We were meant to live in a newness of the Spirit, moment by moment, obeying and yielding and wondering, “Lord, what next?”

My precious brothers & sisters:

Whatever we struggle with or whatever temptation we are wrestling with, it is powerless in light of the Cross.

Freedom is available at that moment; we just need to understand how to experience it according to the Word of God. Just call upon the Almighty Counselor to help you believe His Truth; the Truth that will set you free as you wash your mind with its powerful, liberating words.

Again, first seek His Word regarding the Truth that sets you free. This is the Truth that gives us our freedom in Christ. Then express to Him your understanding, however limited, of this Truth. Your talk with God might sound something like this, “Lord, now I understand. You told me that this old man was paralyzed on the cross. I believe it, and it is settled. With the spike of the Cross, and the hammer of the Word, I nail it right there and walk away free.”

It is that simple!

Perhaps you are skeptical and think it doesn’t seem that simple. Well, you need to know the process of learning to walk in freedom has a definite “learning curve”. It is not unlike when you first learned to ride a bike. You had many falls and scraped knees, but once you learned to ride you were on your way. And of course, as you walk in freedom throughout the journey of life you will be learning to ride “all different kinds of bikes”. Some will not be so familiar, perhaps bigger and more difficult, but there is a process of how to walk in freedom and it was demonstrated by many Biblical saints like David, Jeremiah, Moses, and Jesus. This process will assist you in emerging victorious through each new challenge.

Hang on for the “ride” of your life” as we journey together and work through the process of Walking in Freedom according to Romans 5-8, Galatians 5-6, Colossians, and James 1.

Lord, show me when it is any voice other than yours...

First, remember that everything starts in your mind; then actions follow, good or bad, depending on what you were thinking.

Now, in the next 24 hours ask God to show you when you are having conversations with yourself or rehearsing conversations in your mind….I am quite sure you will be shocked at what He shows you. Just ask Him, “Lord, is this your voice I am hearing, is this the voice of the new man?” His desire is that you would take the conversations you are having with yourself and have them with Him…but learning this is a process. Remember what we read in the book of Romans “…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” This is the journey we will be on together, as, according to His Word, He “changes the way we think”. As you realize just how much of your time is spent conversing with yourself, you will begin to see how much of that time can be spent talking to Him. He calls us to these conversations with Him. “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” Psalm 27:8

Don’t be afraid of this. We have permission to be completely & totally honest with God. “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” Psalm 51:6(NASB)

“Hi, how are you?”...
“Fine”…

Not exactly an “in depth” discussion. This brief interchange is normal as friends and acquaintances pass and briefly touch each other with a cliché or two. Actually, clichés are a way of life, saturating sentences and permeating paragraphs. But if this is the essence of our communication, our relationships will stall on a superficial plateau. Facts and opinions also fill our verbiage. These words go deeper, but the true person still lies hidden beneath them. In reality, it is only when honest feelings and emotions are shared that real people can be known, loved, and helped.

Often, patterns of superficial communication spill over into our talks with God. We easily slide through well-worn lines recited for decades, or we quickly toss a cliché or two at God and call it prayer. There is no doubt that God hears and understands these feeble attempts, but by limiting the depth of our communication, our relationship with Him remains shallow. But God knows us, and He wants to have genuine communication with us.

At the center of the Bible is the book of Psalms. This great collection of songs and prayers expresses the heart and soul of humanity. In them, the whole range of human emotions is expressed. There are no clichés in this book. Instead, David and the other writers honestly pour out their true feelings, reflecting a dynamic, powerful, and life-changing friendship with God. The psalmists confess their sins, express their doubts and fears, ask God for help in times of trouble, and praise and worship Him.

As you read the book of Psalms, you will hear believers crying out to God from the depths of despair, and you will hear them singing to Him in the heights of celebration. But whether the psalmists are despairing or rejoicing, you will always hear them sharing honest feelings with their God. Because of the honesty expressed by the psalmists, men and women throughout history have come again and again to the book of Psalms for comfort during times of struggle and distress. And with the psalmists, they have risen from the depths of despair to new heights of joy and praise as they also discovered the power of God’s everlasting love and forgiveness. Let the honesty of the psalmists guide you into a deep and genuine relationship with God. (Taken from the Life Application Bible Introduction to Psalms)

Once you are convinced you can have completely honest conversations with God, and make the choice to stop feeding your flesh and infecting your mind by having conversations with yourself, you will stay filled with His Spirit. Why? You stay filled with the Spirit because you are constantly “disinfecting”. You are “throwing up” to God your hurts, troubles, anger, and bitterness. This is the poison that infects you, but you can’t infect God! Have you ever had food poisoning? It is not until you “throw-up” all the poison in your system that you begin to feel better. You do not feel better before or while you are throwing-up, and there is really no relief until all the poison is out of our body. But once all the poison is out of your system, you experience immediate relief. When we go to God and throw-up to Him, not part, but all the poison that is in our heart and mind we will experience the freedom and relief that comes from being filled with His Spirit.

First you must be convinced from the Word of God that you have 100% permission to tell God exactly how you feel and what you think, without holding back. Remember David’s honesty. As you consider this obvious invitation from God’s Word to dump it all on Him, I pray that you will be convinced. You should be warned that taking the time to do this throughout your day will take your attention. Remember, you are working at your relationship with God when you are talking to Him all the time. You will be conversing with Him instead of with yourself (a.k.a. the flesh, old man, sinful nature). It will cost you a lot to walk with God like this, but it will cost you a whole lot more not to ….and that, my dear friends, is something I don’t think I have to convince you of! Here is a bit of motivation to learn these Truths from the Word of God:

Romans 8:5-8 “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.”

Remember, Psalm 51:6a says: “God desires Truth in the innermost being…!”

We have permission to be completely and totally honest with God. Read on and see for yourself.

David’s honesty with God:

“My Heart has heard you say, come and talk with me and my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’” Ps.27:8

This is a reminder to all of us that we need to recognize “feelings” as just that, “feelings.” We need to offer our feelings to God, and not condemn or judge those among us when they honestly share their emotions with us. A feeling or emotion is not a sin. How we respond to that feeling determines whether we will sin or not.

God invites us to be completely honest and truthful with Him from the bottom of our hearts. He longs for us to interact with Him and taste His extravagant love for us. He wants us to know deeply His forgiveness and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit…every breathing moment of our lives. Experiencing His love does not mean that all of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors will be pleasant and pure. It means that we can be real… feeling pain and joy, love and anger, confidence and confusion. The Psalms give us tremendous insight about what it means to be honest with the Lord. David and other psalmists wrote and spoke honestly about the full range of their responses to situations. Sometimes their unrefined honestly catches us off guard. But this should remind us that we can come to God in times of panic and pain, not just when we feel close to Him. We don’t have to do an Extreme Heart and Mind Makeover to come to God. He welcomes us to come to Him just as we are. “My heart has heard you say, come and talk with me and my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’” Ps. 27:8

For example:

  1. David expressed his anger with the Lord because he felt abandoned by Him: “I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’" (Ps. 42:9)
  2. At times David was very angry with others, and he expressed his anger to the Lord in terms that reveal the depth of his feelings: “Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O Lord, the fangs of the lions! Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow let their arrows be blunted. Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun. Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns - whether they be green or dry - the wicked will be swept away.” (Ps. 58:6-9)
  3. David wrote of his despair about difficult situations: “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.” (Ps.55:4-5)
  4. And he communicated his despair to the Lord: “Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.” Ps. 44:24-25
  5. Sometimes he was confused: “How long, O Lord, Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” Ps. 13:1-2
  6. Sometimes David communicated his love for the Lord: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Ps. 42:1-2
  7. At times David trusted in the Lord: “The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, even then I will be confident.” (Ps. 27:1-3)
  8. At other times he was filled with praise for God: “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” Ps.145:1-3

In Conclusion: These passages demonstrate that God, who spoke of David as a man after His own heart, wants us to be open and honest with Him about all of our emotions, not just the pleasant ones. It is clear that He is giving us permission to come as we are! Oh the glorious freedom of the children of God! “My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me,’ and my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming!’” Ps. 27:8. Again…..Psalm 51:6 “God desires Truth in the innermost being and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” The NL translation says “But God, You desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.” Psalm 51:6

Jesus, our example of complete honesty with God:

Look at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. As you read you will notice how honest He was with God, asking Him, “take this cup of suffering from me”. Take notice in verse 44 that Jesus didn’t ask once, or twice, He asked the Father three separate times! Jesus was being honest about His feelings! Do you realize what it would have meant if God answered His prayer? We would not have a home in Heaven! But the rest of the story, of course, is that He said, “Not My will but Your will be done.”

Matt. 26: 36-44 “Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and He said, ‘Sit here while I go on ahead to pray.’ 37He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and He began to be filled with anguish and deep distress. 38He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me." 39He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine. " 40Then He returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Couldn't you stay awake and watch with me even one hour? 41Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you, for though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!" 42Again He left them and prayed, "My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away until I drink it, Your will be done." 43He returned to them again and found them sleeping, for they just couldn't keep their eyes open. 44So He went back to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45Then He came to the disciples and said, "Still sleeping? Still resting? Look, the time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Up, let's be going. See, my betrayer is here!"

Consider this, first Jesus prays...
“Abba Father” – Intimacy
“Nothing is too difficult” – Acknowledgement of God’s power
“Take this cup from me”– Honesty
“Not my will” – Surrender and Acceptance
“But your will be done” – Humility

Jesus asked God three times to “take this cup from him”

Repeated three times!

I have permission to return as often as need be. Jesus wasn’t embarrassed to ask God to take away something that would give the whole world eternal life… because that is how He felt at the moment. But after He dumped that out on God, He surrendered and humility followed. I can’t help but notice that in this case, apparently, once was not enough. That tells me that once may not be enough for me, either.

There is always purpose to our pain. When we do things our way the pleasure comes first and the pain comes later. When we do it God’s way, the pain comes first and the pleasure comes later…Ask Jesus. He knew this well. He set the example for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, and because of this preparation in the Garden, Jesus was able to say from the cross, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” Luke 23:34. Remember, right after the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus poured His heart out to God, He encountered many challenges ....we know that first He dumped His emotions out to God in the Garden. This left Him ready to respond in the manner He did to His accusers, the disciples, and even Pilate.

But this was not the end. Knowing His Father was approachable, Jesus spilled out His emotions again and shared His heart when He was on the cross "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me." Matthew 27:46 God was not displeased with this because today Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.

Again…Psalm 51:6 says “God desires Truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” The New Living Translation says “But God, You desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.”

Understanding our conversations with God:

Scripture calls a conversation with God prayer and in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing”. Did you ever wonder how that is practically possible? I always wondered myself, “How do you really do that?”

  1. We realize that we have permission to dump honestly all our emotions to God and to disinfect (don’t worry, you cannot infect God like you can infect yourself and others)
  2. We understand pouring our emotions out is all a part of “praying without ceasing.”
  3. We stop having conversations with ourselves and instead have conversations with God….Can you only imagine how much you will be talking to God instead of yourself?
  4. We will be praying all the time! “Praying Without Ceasing!” Get it? Talking with Him instead of talking to our self – such intimacy!

Again, can you only imagine how much you will be talking to Him, telling God how you feel, dumping it all out and then taking the next step: praying for your offenders or circumstance? There you have it…Praying without Ceasing!

You have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do...

2 Corinthians 5:17 says that we are new creatures in Christ. The “old things have gone, behold new things have come.” What is the old thing that has gone? The power that the enemy and your flesh have over you! As a matter of fact through the power of the Holy Spirit, you have 100% power over them now. Read Romans 6. “Therefore, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do…” Romans 8:12-14 reminds us that whatever God allows in our lives He allows because He is testing and training us, looking for an “obedient response” from each of us.

When we receive Christ we receive 100% of the Holy Spirit, we are completely filled. It is like a container filled with brown sugar. Now if you press that brown sugar down, you still have the same amount of brown sugar and the rest of the space in the container is filled up with air, and for the sake of this illustration, “hot air”. In a similar way when we have conversations with ourselves, those conversations can lead us into sin (2 Cor. 10:5) and we quench the spirit (1 Thess. 5:19; Eph. 4:30; Is. 63:10). Just like when you pack the brown sugar down but you still have the same amount you started with…you press the Spirit of God down when you converse with your flesh; and what you find in the space remaining are the deeds of the flesh, or what God calls sin (Gal. 5:16-21). Now you are infected with sin, self, and deeds of the flesh, all the fruit of your conversation with yourself, and the fruit of your choice to listen to the flesh or the enemy! Sin isn’t just deeds; it can also be a thought. Matthew 5 28 says “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In Matthew 15:19 we read, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” This is the heart of the matter. This is how the Spirit is quenched. It becomes very clear how important it is to dump or throw up all this poison on the only One that can handle the thoughts and things we have infected ourselves with - the results of conversing with self instead of with the Lord.

My mind is like a sponge soaking up the poison when I am having conversations with myself. I carry all the venom and poison and become more infected, quenching the spirit and eventually affecting others. “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” Ephesians 4:30-31. Knowing that God cannot be infected by my poison, gives me permission to throw it all up to Him and disinfect. As I am talking to God and getting the poison out, the Spirit that was quenched is following right behind, filling me up again. How do I know this is happening? Because when I am completely done “getting it all out” to God…I feel my heart soften, often I will cry and I am ready for the next step of taking all the things I dumped out and turning them into prayer requests at the Throne of Grace. This is the work of the Kingdom. Now you are a part of God’s solution to the problem, not another problem on top of the problem!

Unfortunately, because most people will not go and talk with God like this they end up continually focused on themselves and their feelings. They do not realize that the One who allowed the circumstance in the first place (Lam 3:37) is inviting them to first spill out their heart to Him, to “decrease that He might increase” in them. (John 3:30). Neither do they realize that God allowed the circumstances so they might join Him in intercession for the very difficult person or situation God allowed in their life. Your prayer requests often become the very things you just vented to God about. It is so interesting that when your conversations with yourself have the “flesh” or someone else’s “flesh” for an audience…you are not softened at all when you are done venting…actually you are worse…even more infected! But when you change your audience to God, and have the same exact conversation with Him, you hear the flesh speaking as it leaves your mouth. Now as you “throw-up” the poison to God your response is completely different because of who you are talking to. In other words you are changed in the presence of a Holy God. But it doesn’t end here. Now you are invited to join the Father and Son in intercession for your offenders or your circumstances. This, dear friends, is the work of the Kingdom. Wouldn’t you rather spend in Kingdom work instead of “maintaining your baggage”?

Mark 1:15-16 15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the stalls of those selling doves, 16and He stopped everyone from bringing in merchandise. 17He taught them, "The Scriptures declare, `My Temple will be called a place, house, of prayer for all nations,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves."
Jesus said “My House shall be called a house of Prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” 1 Cor. 6:19 tells us we are now His Temple, His house. When we ask God to show us when we are having conversations with ourselves, what are we doing? We are praying. “My House shall be called a house of prayer.” When we ask God to empower us through the power of the Holy Spirit to turn and talk with Him, what are we doing? We are praying. “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” When we verbally express exactly how we are feeling to God and “get it all out…throwing it up to Him” what are we doing? We are praying. And the Lord says, “And what am I doing?” I am following right behind with My Spirit clearing My Temple.” “My house shall be called a house of prayer, not a den of thieves.” So you can see the importance of “telling God exactly how you are feeling”. And then as you take all you said to Him and turn that into a prayer request, what are you doing? You are praying. “My house shall be called a house of Prayer.”

Let’s recap:

If you didn’t have a mind, you would never sin, because everything starts in your mind! EVERYTHING! That is why 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says that we don’t wage war like the world does, but we use God’s mighty weapons…and we take every thought captive (before it captures us) so that we might obey Christ. If we allow the wrong thought to capture us, we will disobey. And yes, it is our responsibility to call upon God, and His power within us, to capture the thought and obey. This shows God our heart and love for Him, instead of our love for ourselves. “He who has my commandments and keeps them, He it is who loves Me.” John 14:21

  1. Here is the result of going to God with our self talk and dumping all our thoughts, feelings and emotions on Him...
  2. The following passage is the fruit of honesty with God and going “just as I am” to His Throne of Grace:

    1 Corinthians 13 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the Truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong.”

    1 Peter 4:8 “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

  3. Don’t converse with yourself, converse with God. Don’t rehearse, converse with Him! Don’t have a feeding frenzy with your flesh. Remember the flesh is never satisfied.
  4. Ask God to show you when you are hearing any other voice than His. When He does, ask Him to empower you to turn and have that same exact conversation with Him.

    “So dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God are children of God” Rom. 8:12-14.

    If you don’t do this, then you remain “infected” with self (because the flesh is never satisfied). But when you turn and have that same exact conversation, venting and dumping your venom out on Him, it is as if self is being disinfected …remember God can handle your emotions and you cannot infect Him…After all, He does command the morning!

  5. We have permission to talk with God exactly where we are…listen to Jeremiah and David in the Psalms for your example. God is letting us know through the Psalms that we have permission to talk with Him like this so that we can be sure to “get it out”…to disinfect!
  6. Then He fills you back up with His Spirit and you are ready to pray for your situation, which is what He was after in the first place. Consider theses verses that invite you to come to Him.
    Matt 11:28-30 “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
    Psalm 27:8 “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’”

Unfortunately, I derail and look and act like a victim when I focus on myself and my hurts, when in reality my position with Him is a Victor, no longer a victim! We all lived there long enough before we were Christians…that is the place non-Christians live. Remember 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us…” We are without excuse.

Building on a solid foundation:

Luke 6:46-49 "So why do you call me `Lord,' when you won't obey me? I will show you what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins."

God wants more and more Christians to get this message…. they are not victims but Victors! When they do understand then they can teach other believers! Obedience to capturing your thoughts before they capture you will lead to holiness, which will lead to the Spirit being unleashed, and the gifts of the Spirit being unleashed! Obedience lays the groundwork for this to be accomplished! Most of us are so busy maintaining all our excess baggage and making excuses for why we can’t get well, that we have no strength left to:

This takes a lot of work, heart work He wants to empower us to do. After we hear ourselves pouring our hearts out to God in total honesty, we are motivated by love to confess. After we have confessed, we are cleaned up and ready for the work of intercession over the temptation or test that God allowed to finally bring us to Him. So you can see why, when we work at the work of “baggage maintenance”, we have no strength left to live as victors and intercessors. We are just too busy being a victim. This behavior is common to the non-believer, because they are victims. But born again, washed, forgiven, empowered believers are here to walk in the light and be used of God to bring others out of the darkness into His Marvelous light. (See Romans 5-8 and Galatians 5)

We are now

I decrease and He increases:

Remember, when we go to Him and dump it all out, “I decrease and He increases” John 3:30. He just loves that you are talking to Him. Don’t most parents have “open arms” for their children’s emotions and hurts? They can handle it even though they are only human. The truth is, those moments can bring them even closer together. We don’t have to imagine how it is with God, our heavenly Father! He said we have a Throne of Grace to boldly and confidently come to where we can receive grace and mercy to help in our time of need…He wants us to come to Him with everything! See Hebrews 4:15-16

Turn and have your conversations with God instead of your flesh. When you do, you’ll lose interest in the things which dominated and controlled your mind, not because you worked on your sin, but because you looked at Jesus. This is why Romans 8 is so incredible! Too many believers are trying to fight evil habits and tendencies on their own, and it is exhausting. John Coursin says in his commentary on Romans, “If you walk into a dark room you don’t scream, karate chop, give teachings about it, or rebuke the darkness. You turn on the light!” Hebrews 12:2 reminds us “Fix your eyes on Jesus.”

When the flesh is poured out, the Spirit fills us up and now we are ready to pray for our circumstances or our offender…which, by the way, is what He had in mind all the while. John 3:30 tells us “He must increase, I must decrease”…when I dump my emotions on God, it humbles me to hear what I sound like apart from Him. But when it is over I can think clearly because I have the “mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16). I am humbled and can join Him in intercession. This is one reason He allowed the circumstances or the temptation. He is showing us things to pray about and inviting us to join Him in intercession. We often derail because we forget to remember to go and talk with Him. Instead we talk with ourselves/our flesh, which is never satisfied.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 is so clear…”we don’t wage war like the world does…we use God’s mighty weapons (prayer, praise, the Word, obedience, love). We take every thought captive that we might obey Christ.” So, if we don’t capture the thought, it WILL capture us, and the result is disobedience.

As people get in the Word on a regular basis, the Word exposes sin….not some program or formula. You don’t have to go hunting for something. In John 5 Jesus asks a man who had been sick for 38 years “Do you want to get well?” The answer may seem obvious, who would not want to get well! But Jesus never asked foolish questions. He knows we like our comfortable coffin. We are used to being a victim, and if we are honest, we will have to admit we like it. With Your free will you have to decide if you want to get well, and pray for the desire to do so. If this is where you are, ask God to help. Begin conversing with Him and asking others to pray (James 5:16). Start where you are to get where you want to go.

Why God allows temptation:

God tests and trains us. A good teacher will always teach you and then test you to see what you have learned. God is our teacher, but He doesn’t test us to see how we are doing, He already knows. He tests us so that we can see how we are doing, for in our responses to the tests and trials we get a true picture of ourselves. We see who we really love. Do we love our pleasures or His pleasure? Our choices and responses will demonstrate who we love more: me or Thee. How do we show God our love? Here is His answer “He who has my commandments and keeps them, He it is who loves me. And He who loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love Him and disclose myself to Him” The wonderful thing about God’s schoolroom, however, is that we get to grade our own papers.

What about temptations? We know from James 1:13 God never tempts us, but God does allow us to be tempted, (just like with Job or with Peter in Luke 22). He allows us to be tempted because He is testing us. Since it is a test let’s look at the Tester, not the tempter. “Submit to God and resist the devil” God says. When you submit to God first, you are resisting the devil. Don’t you wonder why God would allow temptation as a test? According to Deuteronomy 8 He allows it “to see what is in our hearts”. But we reason, “But God, You already know what is in my heart”. Yes, but let’s remember God wants us to see what He sees….which is exposed when we talk to Him about whatever is on our minds. When we see what He sees we come running to the Father. We hear ourselves very differently when we are telling God the same thing we were discussing with our flesh. There is no conviction in the presence of our flesh…because the flesh is never satisfied. But when we have this same conversation with God, our audience is different. Our audience is “Almighty God”. Just being in His presence, having the same conversation we were just having with our flesh, humbles us and leads us to confession and repentance.

In 2 Samuel 11:2-5 we read, “Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. 3 So David sent someone to inquire about the woman. And that man said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ 4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent word and told David, and said, ‘I am pregnant.’”

Just think of how different it might have been if David, a man after God’s own heart, would have had the same conversation with God instead of himself. In Hebrews 4:15-16 we read that God is approachable. If David had approached God It may have sounded something like this. “O.K. God, I really don’t want to talk to You about this right now, ’cause I know what You are going to say, but I have to tell You, I am so attracted to Bathsheba over there…You sure did a fine job creating her…yes, I know that I am lusting after her and it feels so good, but I also know there will be great consequences if I do what I want instead of what You want…” 2 Samuel 11: 2 tells us what happened because David did not run to God with his feelings.

Recognizing the flesh:

Since we now know that everything begins in the mind, as you become aware of thoughts running through you mind…thoughts that are judgmental, condemning, critical, etc, take heart! That is not you…that is not the “new creature”! What? That is correct. It is a great relief when you recognize it is your flesh speaking to you and you don’t have to listen anymore. Those thought do not come from God or the “new creature”. Of course, once you choose to engage those thoughts and converse with your flesh, you have to own it. You can be free from this now and forever….but the choice is yours. The Bible says I am the “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and now there is a great divide between the flesh, Satan and I. The power that my flesh and Satan had over me is broken…completely broken! Now I have power, through the Holy Spirit, over them! I am not their victim any more! “I have no obligation whatsoever to do what my sinful nature urges me to do…” (Romans 8:12-14). Yes, the flesh is still there. I do have the flesh, but the flesh does not have me. The flesh has been stripped of its power. That is what Jesus did on the cross (Romans 6). The only way for the flesh to implement power over me is if I cooperate with it. Remember, “obedience always cancels the plans the flesh has for me and God always blesses obedience”!

Again, isn’t it a great relief when you recognize it is your flesh speaking to you, (the old man has no more power over you unless you give him power) and you don’t have to listen anymore or be enslaved to it anymore? You know that kind of thinking does not come from the “new creature“. That kind of thinking comes when we choose to engage in conversation with our flesh. You are free from this now and forever….but the choice is yours!!!! The power that your flesh and Satan had over you is broken…see Romans 5-8. Through calling upon the power of the Holy Spirit and turning to God, you have power to say “no” to the flesh and Satan! This is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord…thanks be to God!

When you became a Christian, God proposed to you and you said, “Yes”. You broke up with your sinful nature to become the Bride of Christ. But your old lover, the sinful nature, stalks you. Because you hear the sinful nature calling you does not mean you are unfaithful. You are not unfaithful until you respond.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we conquer these rebellious ideas…we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Capture your thoughts before they capture you! Talk to Him about everything that is on your mind! Remember, don’t just have conversations with yourself, He wants to be included, He is approachable and He has all the answers!

Defeating the enemy’s plans:

Obedience always defeats the enemy’s plans!
Submitting to God always defeats the enemy’s plans!

The devil’s plan is to stop God’s order of things. Obedience always defeats the enemy’s plans! This is why I need to take responsibility for my wrong responses to circumstances and people, and call those wrong responses by the right name…sin. I need to stop whining, making excuses, and playing the role of the victim. “I have been victimized by the circumstances of my life, that is why I act this way”, or “I learned this from my parents” ….maybe you did, but now you have a new Heavenly Father. He has given you a fresh start and empowered you with His Spirit to say no to the temptation to feed your flesh. Instead you can now say yes to the test, His test, responding His way.

God is our “Stronghold” (Ps.18:2,2 Samuel 22:3,Ps. 9:9, Ps. 27:1, Ps. 144:2, Zeph.3:6, 2 Cor. 10:4)

His righteous right hand has a “strong hold” on me. Any other “strongholds” that I have in my life are there because I have allowed them and they are a direct result of not understanding my position in Christ. He has freed me from being a victim so that I can walk in Victory. This is realized through the power of God when I pray and enlist others to pray for me. These “strongholds” are the fruit of my sinful choices. All the things that we say we “struggle” with or we say have a “stronghold” on us, such as fear, anger, addictions, habits that remain unchanged,...THE BIBLE CLASSIFIES AS SIN!

The weapons of our warfare:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
There is a trend in the church today to try and blame every sin and problem on some sort of generational curse. This is not Biblical. The cure for generational curses is salvation through Jesus Christ. Generational curses are passed down through families, but in Christ I am now a part of a new family. Praise God, there are no generational curses in the family of God. When we become Christians, we are new creations (2Corinthians 5:17). How can a child of God still be under God’s curse? (Romans 8:1) The cure, then, for a generational curse is faith in Christ and a life consecrated to Him (Romans 12:1-2). We are without excuse. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Pastor Larry Gray, a missionary to Africa says,

"There is no ministry of delivering believers from demons found in the life of our Lord or any of the apostles or epistles! Check it out! They had plenty of opportunity to do so with all of their own strife and interpersonal conflict but the Lord didn't do it for them and they did not practice it even as they ministered to tremendously carnal churches and believers.

This "sins-as-demons" teaching is nowhere in scripture. In the Scripture, there is no hint of exorcistic methods, because the Bible does not view the problem of sin in Christians as linked to demons who must be evicted. It's just not there. Believers should not be binding, rebuking and attempting to cast out or off of other believers demons of anger, pride bitterness, temper, sexual lust, discouragement, disappointment, depression, overeating, or loneliness! This is our battle with the flesh and Romans 6 teaches that by the death of our Lord we have been freed from sin, so we can yield our bodies and its parts to righteousness or unrighteousness.”

Again, all the things that we say that we “struggle” with or we say have a “stronghold” on us such as, fear, anger, and habits that we say cannot be broken….THE BIBLE CLASSIFIES AS SIN!

Scripture is clear, it is our choice: demons have nothing to do with it! It is the flesh that must be fought until the grave! (Galatians 5) “For believers there is no deliverance because these are not demons!”

False expectations and hope are created with this deliverance ministry of believers from demons. It encourages them to displace the responsibility for their actions. “That behavior wasn't really him/her. It was the demon manifesting. He/She really loves the Lord.” “The demons took advantage of old traumas and unforgiveness to gain a foothold. They just need to be delivered!" A thousand times NO! Sin seeps deep in the soul of every one of us, even the apostle Paul, and we will fight the flesh till our glorification. (Romans 7 & 8).

The classic texts on spiritual warfare are Eph. 6:10-20, James 3:14-4:12, and 1 Peter 5:6-11.Yes, Satan can tempt us (Matt 4:1-11), hinder us (1Thess. 2:17-18), deceive us (2 Corinth.11:3), and accuse us (Rev. 12:10). But the mode of resisting the devil and his demons from these texts centers on the Word, faith, repentance, prayer, and obedience in the power of the Spirit. When we pray for deliverance from demons in NON-Christians, in the name of Jesus, people are delivered! But for believers there is not deliverance because these are not demons!

In the Lord’s prayer we pray “deliver us from evil” Where does the temptation to do evil start? In the mind. Romans 8; 5-6 “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things , but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” Any other voice than God’s is evil. So just as the Lord prayed “deliver us from evil”, we can pray, “Dear God, deliver us from any voice that is not yours.” Mark 7:20-23 “And then Jesus added ‘It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; the y are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God” NLT James 1:13-16 – “And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me”. God is never tempted to do wrong and He never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions and evil actions lead to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.”

“We are new creatures in Christ the old things have gone, behold new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17) As you consider all of this remember, before you were a Christian you only had one nature, the sinful nature. After you received Christ you were born into a new family and given a new nature. In Christ we are dead to the old nature and now new things have come. One of the new things that has come is freedom from the power that the flesh and the enemy had over us. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can say no to the enemy and the flesh. When Jesus died on the cross He broke the power they had over us (Romans 6). The enemy and the flesh are not gone. I still have the flesh, but the flesh does not have me. Galatians 5:17-18 reminds us “The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.” When God allows us to be tempted, He is testing us…therefore He uses the flesh and the enemy to refine and test us. He does not make them do things to us, but He does allow them. They are on His Holy Leash. Remember, “Greater is Jesus Christ in us than the enemy that is in the world” 1 John 4:4

The choice is yours. God invites you to a life of freedom.

Psalm 27:8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Isaiah 1:18-20 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Learning to walk in freedom:

Once again read Romans chapters 5 through 8, Galatians chapters 5 through 6, the entire book of Colossians, James 1, I & II Peter, and I John. Also, read this booklet as many times as you need to. Feel free to share it with others!

“Now Christ has really set you free! Make sure you stay free and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law” Galatians 5:1

It is highly recommended that you move right into a “Salt & Light” group. If there isn’t a Salt & Light group in your area then you can start one. Why? John 8:31-32 says “IF you continue in my words you are My disciples, for then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free! So let us help you “continue in His Word!” If you would like to know how to start a “Salt & Light” group see our web page http://www.saltandlightgroup.com.

We are definitely “better together”

A brief look at what we do in a Salt & Light group:

We read relationally through the entire Bible. We don’t use Bible reading plans, not that there is anything wrong with them, but each person reads at their own pace, allowing God to direct them during their quiet time with Him. We then come together every week and share all He has taught us.

Also, we study the Bible together. First, we all agree on a specific book of the Bible and then, every other week when we come together we study a chapter from that book. As we do this together it teaches us to learn how to study the Bible.

Finally, individually we memorize a verse of scripture that God has put on our hearts. We have found that it is really possible to memorize by calling upon His strength. We operate as a “team”. No performance or competition…just “encouraging one another all the more as we see the day drawing near” Heb. 10:24-25.

As you read through the entire Bible, the “whole counsel” of God, you will see this freedom message everywhere you read. You will notice people who are listening to God’s voice and people who are listening to their sinful nature or the messengers of Satan. Remember to ask God daily, from your heart, to show you when you are hearing any other voice but His. When He does show you…make the right choice. Do not engage in conversations with your flesh. Only God has your best interest in mind. So again, do not listen to any other voice but HIs! You do not have to listen to lies anymore. That, my dear friends, is the message of The Cross. The power the old sinful nature, satan and his messengers had over you has been broken. The blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses, has completely washed away your past. God does not do anything halfway.! 2 Cor. 5:17 says that we are “new creatures in Christ…the old things have gone, behold, new things have come!

Also located on this same “Salt & Light” web page is this ‘Message of Freedom” that you have just read. It is located on the tab to the far right. You can email it to others or print it out for yourself.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions: Debbie Friley, Missionary with the Navigators; dfriley@mindspring.com


SCRIPTURE VERSES to Wash Your Mind:
"… Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Rom 12:2

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man is in Christ He is a new creation. The old things have gone, behold new things have come.”
  2. Titus 3:5 “He saved us not on the basis of things we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
  3. John 8:32 “For you will know the Truth and the Truth WILL set you Free.”
  4. John 8:36 “For if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.”
  5. Galatians 5:1 “ So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law.”
  6. Galatians 6:14-16 “As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead. 16 May God’s mercy and peace be upon all those who live by this principle. They are the new people of God.”
  7. 2 Peter 1:12 “I plan to keep on reminding you of these things, even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth. Yes, I believe I should keep on reminding you of these things as long as I live.”
  8. Galatians 2:20 says that “the old man, our old sinful nature has been (that’s past tense) crucified with Christ and that it is no longer we who lives but Christ who lives in us and the life which we now live in the flesh, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and delivered Himself up for us.”
  9. Romans 12:1-2 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God want you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” NLT
  10. Romans 12:1-2 “I urge you therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” NASB
  11. Romans 4:21 “Abraham was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything He promised.”
  12. Romans 8:5-11 “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you!”
  13. Romans 8:12-14 “So, dear brothers and sisters you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
  14. 2 Peter 1:3 "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."
  15. Galatians 5:17-18 reminds us “The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.” (When God allows us to be tempted, He is testing us…therefore He uses the flesh and the enemy to refine and test us. He does not make them do things to us, but He does allow them. They are on His Holy leash. “Greater is Jesus Christ in us than the enemy that is in the world”)
  16. Galatians 5:19-21 “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
  17. Galatians 5:22-23 “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.”
  18. Galatians 5:24-26 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. 25If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. 26Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.”
  19. Genesis 4:7b “ Sin is crouching at the door and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
  20. James 1:13 “And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, ‘God is tempting me,’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else either.”
  21. James 1:14-16 “Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.”
  22. Psalm 81:13-14 “But OH that My people would listen to Me. Oh that they would follow Me, walking in My paths! How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon My hands would be upon their foes.”
  23. 1 Peter 4:12-13 12 Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13Instead, be very glad--because these trials will make you partners with Christ in His suffering…”
  24. Song of Solomon 2:15 “Quick! Catch all the little foxes before they ruin the vineyard of your love, for the grapevines are all in blossom.”
  25. Lamentations 3:37 “Can anything happen without the Lord’s permission?”
  26. Psalm 76:10 “Human opposition only enhances God’s glory…”
  27. Deuteronomy 33:26 "There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor.”
  28. Romans 8:31-34 “What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since God did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? Will God? No! He is the One who has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for He is the One who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us. “
  29. Psalm 27:8 “My heart has heard you say, ‘come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, Lord, I am coming.”
  30. Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden 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 shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”
  31. Isaiah 1:18 "‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord…”
  32. Isaiah 44:21-22 "Pay attention…for you are My servant. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget to help you. 22I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to Me, for I have paid the price to set you free."
  33. Isaiah 7:9 “…You do not believe Me? If you want Me to protect you, learn to believe what I say." Isaiah 7:9
  34. Zechariah 11:11 “…they were watching me and they knew that the Lord was speaking to them through my actions.”
  35. 1 Peter 2:19-22 “For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blow, God is pleased with you. ”
  36. 1 Peter2:21-23 “This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps. He never sinned, and He never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when He was insulted. When He suffered, He did not threaten to get even. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”
  37. 1 Peter 4:1 “Those who are willing to suffer for Christ have DECIDED to stop sinning”
  38. Revelation 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ?Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.’”
  39. Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die.”
  40. Revelation 14:4a “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”
  41. John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me.”
  42. Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ?This is the way, walk in it.’”
  43. 1 Kings 18:21b “…How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal follow him.”…
  44. Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast mind God will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in Thee.”
  45. Psalm 34:5 “They looked to Him and were radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
  46. 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him, reflecting His glory even more.”
  47. 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in our earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”
  48. 2 Corinthians 1:22 “..who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (Jn. 3:33,Rom. 8:16; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:14)
  49. Ephesians 1:13 “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 4:21;Col.1:5;Eph. 4:30; Acts 2:33)
  50. Ephesians 4:30 “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Is. 63:10, 1 Thess. 5:19, John 3:33, Eph. 1:13
  51. Mark 7:20-23 “And then Jesus added ‘It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; the y are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God” NLT
  52. Proverbs 23:7a “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”
  53. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 “We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons: (prayer, quoting scripture, praise, love, obedience, serving, fruit of the Spirit) not merely worldly weapons, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.”
  54. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves to God resist the devil and he WILL flee from you.”
  55. Hebrews 4:12-16 “12 For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. 13Nothing in all creation can hide from Him. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done. Christ Is Our High Priest 14That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to Him and never stop trusting Him. 15This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin. 16So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.”
  56. John 3:30“30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” ( He must increase, I must decrease. NASB)
  57. 1 John 5:4 “For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory.”
  58. Psalm 119:133;162 “I rejoice in Your Word, like one who finds a great Treasure.” “Guide my steps by Your Word.”
  59. 1 John 3:8b “…Jesus Christ came to destroy the work of the devil.”
  60. Proverbs 30:5 “Every Word of God proves true. He defends all who come to Him for protection.”
  61. Genesis 50:20 “But as for you, you intended evil against me but God intended it for good to bring about this present result, the saving of many lives.”
  62. Psalm 51:6 “God desires Truth in the innermost being and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” NL trans. says “But God, You desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.”
  63. 1 John 1:9 “If you confess your sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive your sins and to cleanse you of all unrighteousness.”
  64. Isaiah 44:21-22 "Pay attention…for you are My servant. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget to help you. 22I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to Me, for I have paid the price to set you free."
  65. Job 26:14 “These are some of the minor things He does. Merely a whisper of His power…”
  66. 1 Corinthians 15:31 “ I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
  67. John 19:4-10 “Pilate went outside again and said to the people, "I am going to bring Him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find Him not guilty." 5Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, "Here is the man!" 6When they saw Him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, "Crucify! Crucify!" "You crucify Him," Pilate said. "I find Him not guilty." 7The Jewish leaders replied, "By our laws He ought to die because He called Himself the Son of God." 8When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. 9He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked Him, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer. 10"You won't talk to me?" Pilate demanded. "Don't You realize that I have the power to release You or to crucify You?" 11Then Jesus said, "You would have no power over Me at all unless it were given to you from above?. …”
  68. 1 Cor. 10:13 “No temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able but with the temptation will provide the way of escape so that you may be able to stand up under it.”
  69. James 1:12-16 “God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. 14Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. 15These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death. 16So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.”
  70. Mark 7:20-23 20 “And then He added, "It is the thought-life that defiles you. 21For from within, out of a person's heart (mind), come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God."” (The Life Application Dictionary defines "Heart" as follows: figuratively, the seat of emotions, thoughts and intentions; sometimes translated "mind" or "soul"; central vital part of something.)
  71. Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinks in his heart so he is…”
  72. James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”
  73. Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.”
  74. Jeremiah 4:4 “Cleanse your minds and hearts before the LORD…”
  75. 1 Peter 2:1 “ So get rid of all malicious behavior and deceit. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing.” (How do you get rid of malicious behavior & deceit? You go to God and tell Him how you feel, by dumping it all out. He can handle it!)
  76. Isaiah 50:7 “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do His will. And I know that I will triumph.”
  77. 1 Peter 3:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (David Dump )
  78. Psalm 105:19 “Until the time came to fulfill God’s Word, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” (There is purpose to your pain.)
  79. 2 Cor. 3:17 “Where the Spirit of the Lord is He gives Freedom. ”
  80. Matthew 27:12-14 “When He was accused by the chief priests and the elders, He gave no answer. Then Pilate asked Him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge - to the great amazement of the governor.”
  81. 1 Cor. 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong.”
  82. Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.?”
  83. Romans 7:23a “But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind….”
  84. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and heal their land. Now My eyes are open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place!”
  85. Luke 6:46-49 Building on a Solid Foundation (This is the fruit of having conversations with God)"So why do you call Me `Lord,' when you won't obey Me? I will show you what it's like when someone comes to Me, listens to My teaching, and then obeys Me. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins."
  86. Job 42:7 “7 After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "I am angry with you and with your two friends, for you have not been right in what you said about Me, as My servant Job was. 8Now take seven young bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not been right in what you said about Me, as My servant Job was.?”
  87. Colossians 3:1-4 Living the New Life “1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. 3 For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.”
  88. Colossians 3: 5-11 “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. 6God's terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. 7You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. 8But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. 10In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, Who created this new nature within you. 11In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.”
  89. Colossians 3: 12-17 “ Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
  90. Colossians 3:16-17 “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use His words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
  91. Luke 8:18 “So be sure to pay attention to what you hear. To those who are open to My teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening even what they think they have will be taken away from them.”
  92. Proverbs 4:20-22 “Pay attention My child to what I say. Listen carefully. Don’t lose sight of My words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart, (your mind) for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning.”
  93. James 1:22 “And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to…”
  94. Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you while you remain silent.”
  95. Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God proves true. He defends all those who come to Him for protection.”
  96. 2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I fear somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent.”
  97. Proverbs 12:19 “Truth stands the test of time, lies are soon exposed.”
  98. Deuteronomy 32:47 “These instructions are not mere words, they are your life…”
  99. 1 Peter 1:23 “For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”
  100. Job 38:2 “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning…?”
  101. James 1:18 “In God’s own goodness He chose to make us His own children by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, became His choice possession.”
  102. 2 Corinthians 5:20 “We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ Himself were here pleading with you, ?Be reconciled to God!?”
  103. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, His very own possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
  104. 2 Corinthians 12:7 “…so to keep from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, ?My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.? So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
  105. 1 Corinthians 2:16 “… We can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ!!!!!!!!”
  106. John 8:26 “I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the One who sent me, and he is true.”
  107. James 1:13-16 – “And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me”. God is never tempted to do wrong and He never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions and evil actions lead to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.”

The Bridge to Life

Step 1 - God's Love and His plan

God created us in His own image to be His friend and to experience a full life assured of  His love, abundant and eternal.

Jesus said, "...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10b)

"...we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)

Since God planned for us to have peace and abundant life right now, why are most people not having this experience?

Step 2 - Our Problem: Separation from God

God created us in His own image to have abundant (meaningful) life. He did not make us robots to automatically love and obey him, but He gave us a will and a freedom of choice.

We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way. We still make this choice today. This results in separation from God.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

"...your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)

On our own, there's no way we can attain the perfection needed to bridge the gap to God. Through the ages, individuals have tried many ways...without success.

Good works won't do it...or religion...or money...or morality...or philosophy...

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12)

Step 3 - God's Remedy: The Cross

Jesus Christ is the only answer to this problem. He died on the cross and rose from the grave, paying the penalty for our sin and bridging the gap between God and people.

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God..."

(I Peter 3:18)

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ." (I Timothy 2:5)

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

(Romans 5:8)

Step 4 - Our Response

Believing means trust and commitment - acknowledging our sinfulness, trusting Christ's forgiveness and letting Him control our life. Eternal, abundant life is a gift for us to receive.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"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)>

Is there any reason why you shouldn't cross over to God's side and be certain of eternal life?

How to receive Christ:

  1. Admit your need (I am a sinner).
  2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).
  3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.
  4. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit (Receive Him as Lord and Savior of your life).

What to pray:

Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as the Lord and Savior of my life. In Your name. Amen.

God's assurance of eternal life

If you've prayed this prayer and are trusting Christ, then the Bible says that you can be sure you have eternal life.

"...for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

"He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:12-13)

Receiving Christ, we are born into God's family through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer...this is called regeneration or the "new birth."

What next?  This is just the beginning of a wonderful new life in Christ.

To deepen this relationship you should:

  1. Maintain regular intake of the Bible to know Christ better.
    For more information see the Word Hand illustration.
  2. Talk to God in prayer every day.
    For more information see the Prayer Hand illustration.
  3. Tell others about your new faith in Christ.
    For help doing this, use the same illustration that is presented above. The important thing is that you let others know about your new faith in Christ.
  4. Worship, fellowship and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached.
  5. As Christ's representative in a needy world, demonstrate your new life by your love and concern for others.