Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NASB)
Here I am lazily walking on the treadmill at my Colorado Springs hotel. I’m here for two weeks for business, and the first day has been a wash. The coordination on the military side has gotten all jacked up, so the support crew that I’m a part of has been on a holding pattern all day. Thankfully, we got to remain behind in our hotel an do whatever. For me, that means catching up on some crucial sleep!
My heart is full! What an amazing weekend at the Renew & Release rally. The YWAM KC missionary team was in town to preach and train, and that means I also got to meet up w MH, EH, and SP, as well as meet JA, JN, and EY for the first time. A tremendous crew who run together for the fame of Jesus.
On Friday evening, JN brought a fiery message about our identity in Christ that set the tone for the entire weekend. I may dare say that it was a real paradigm shift for me. Here I am in my early 30s and I had never received the Gospel message as I had this night. When I said YES to Jesus, there was a holy exchange that took place. My old self has been replaced by the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ.
The implication is staggering: I am – that is, my very nature is – no longer a sinner. Yes, I have and will inevitably sin in my imperfect nature on this side of Heaven. But I am a SAINT who occasionally sins, not a sinner on an exasperating quest to obtain God’s approval! Boom.
So often we as Christians are told that our sins are “a struggle against our old selves”, and we put ourselves in a box of self-condemnation if we trip up. Worse, we continue to berate ourselves, waiting out a self-imposed jail sentence to be served so God can say to us, “Aite, you’re out of the doghouse”.
But this is not how it works! Jesus died, the veil was torn, He was raised and ascended to heaven, and granted us the right to approach the Throne with boldness. Something clicked in my mind that night as I realized that I tend to run from God when I sin, or worse yet when I think of the horrible things I’ve done in the past. But JN’s message – indeed the Lord’s truth – is that I am at this very moment as holy as I will ever be. The death and resurrection is the ONLY thing that makes me holy.
So this brings me to the three “stops” that I will incorporate in my life. I believe these can propel me to the next-level in my relationship with the Lord and, as a consequence, in my relationship with others:
- STOP identifying myself as a sinner! I’m FREE! Christ died for me to exchange my old nature with one in His likeness.
- STOP treating life as if it’s sin management; make it righteousness management. Christianity is not behavior modification but living out a heart change.
- STOP listening to the accusation of the enemy whenever I make a mistake. Do not allow the enemy’s voice of condemnation to keep me from running to the Father.