I tried to be comfortable living loved by God. But my stuff always got in the way. Finally, out of desperation I opened the box that kept all my hidden things.
As God began to work on cleaning out my box I began to see truth. And I began to see the lies I believed. I began to see that the reason I never really felt fully loved by God was because I was so stuffed with other things.
I found that as I began going to God asking for a fuller knowledge of Him, seeking to know-to experience His love-to be filled with all of him. He began to show me that I could never be free until I had let go of the old me.
I had to open up the grave, so to speak, and allow Christ to raise that which was dead.
As I began to study for this retreat, fear quickly overcame me because I began to see that I didn’t understand what God meant by the fullness of His love. We are to live loved? I’m just not sure I understood.
SO I began to study our retreat verses (Eph 3:14-21), not for the first time, in fact over a year ago I had done a precepts study on it – but God had something new for me to see.
When I got to Eph 3:19 I wondered what Paul meant by saying that we are” to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” I mean if it passes understanding how can we know?!
Then as I looked up the Greek words I realized that knowledge means to know about in your mind ( a knowledge you have in your mind) and to know means to know absolutely, to feel, perceive and experience. I am not to just know about God’s love in my mind I am to experience it in my heart I am to live it.
So how do you experience God’s love?
My first thought was I know in my mind that he loves me – but do I feel it, experience it, and live it - that’s something completely different.
Do I understand that I can have the very presence of God in me, to experience Him, to be IN Him! That means I am completely and totally surrounded by God, His love, His power, His very presence in me while I am in Christ. I don’t know if my mind can get around that! To be filled with all the fullness of God I need to walk (experience) in the love of God – love creates an atmosphere where God can dwell…..and the only way I can experience God’s love is by choosing to live in truth, to speak truth, think truth, breathe truth….
Romans 8:5-8 says…
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God ; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Over the last year God has shown me a pattern of thinking that often led my mind to discouragement, depression and death. It was subtle, but deadly in that I believed a lie. In so many ways this lie was very deadly. The most dangerous of course was that I didn't even recognize it as a lie. It seemed like truth.
I want you to think about a question "Who is the real YOU?" How would you describe yourself? Would your mind say the same thing as your mouth?
I realized that while I know what God says about me being a new creation in Christ and the old things have passed away, and all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17) I didn't always "think" that way in my mind, therefore my actions didn't always live out this truth.
Hidden deep in my mind was the lie that my old nature still defined who I was. If someone said to me "Sharon you need to let the women know the "real" you my mind would always go to the past and what I've done, who I was before Christ etc...But that IS NOT who I am IN Christ!
So I realized that I needed to train my mind to think upon the truth of who I am TODAY! So who am I? If IN Christ who are YOU?
When not beloved...He called me BELOVED (rom 9:25)
Beloved in God -kept for Christ (Jude1:1)
I am His Child (Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6)
I am declared right with God (Rom 5:9)
God loves me (Is 43:4; 1 John 4:10)
God Chose me and I am holy and blameless (Eph 1:4)
I am an ambassador of Christ (2 Cor 5:20)
I have been sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30)
I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16)
There are many more truths we can speak to ourselves when the enemy gets a firm grip on our minds and we begin to believe lies. I encourage you to search them out, write them down and speak then to yourself when the enemy wants you to believe you are still dead.
You see if we still believe we are like our old nature, if you still live as if you are dead, then you will never be able to feel the fullness of God’s love. You will never feel alive in Christ while you think you are dead.
Our old self has been nailed to the cross. Until we understand that we will have a difficult time trying to live loved. We will have a hard time experiencing the fullness of God’s love.
Being filled with the fullness of God’s love only comes when we are able to see and accept who we are today IN Christ. As long as we see ourselves as the old woman, in our sin and shame and dressed in grave clothes we will never be able to understand the depths of God’s love.
I am NO LONGER who I was, none of us are! The REALITY is God sees who I am today.
I'll post part 3 soon....