One of the biggest questions I had in my early years as a believer was, “How do I live out the Christian life?” I understood that I was saved by grace through faith; a gift of God. My trouble surfaced when I tried to understand how to effectively live my new life. What was God’s part and what was my part? I wrestled with this question for years, and fell into the ditch either side of the truth on more than one occasion. I asked church leaders, but I never got a satisfactory answer. I read book after book on the Christian life, but never seemed to come out with a definitive conclusion that I could understand.
It didn’t take me long to realise I wasn’t the only person to struggle with this question. Many of us need an overview, a blueprint, or a big picture to aid our understanding. Being told: “Just trust God, and don’t worry about it” didn’t cut it. I felt surrounded by terms such as grace, faith, dead works and good works, fruit, and gifts. They seemed to be an impenetrable tangle of ideas. The more I looked, the less able I was to fit it all together. I tried harder and I tried less. I prayed and prayed. I fasted. I declared loudly and I declared quietly. In the end, I burnt myself out and still couldn’t find a definitive answer.
The great thing is, I sincerely believe we never have a hunger for the truth that God doesn’t eventually answer, even if the journey is long and winding. It took a long time until the pieces eventually came together for me, and I saw the big picture I’d I had been looking for.
Today, I challenged myself to simply write that answer in a succinct and definitive way to help you. It is summed up with three words: Being, Believing, Doing
By grace, we are given a new identity when we are born-again. That identity has access to every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3) My identity ‘in Christ’ has clear attributes laid out in the Bible. All these attributes are true for every born-again believer.
We are saved by faith; we live out our new identity by faith; we do the works of God by faith. Being is who we now are. Believing is our learning to live in it. Transformation comes by the renewing of our minds. We learn to believe differently. Warfare against ‘strongholds’ in our life is performed by taking thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-6), measuring them by truth, and replacing any thought that doesn’t measure up with the truth of who God says we are (Not just what we feel about ourselves!). Then we begin to quite naturally live and act out of what we believe.
We obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. He leads us to release the Kingdom into every situation, and He shares the thoughts of God with us. He’s looking for material to work with. That’s exactly what He gets when we begin to think differently. Often our inability to obey the Holy Spirit when He speaks can be traced back to a wrong way of thinking which has derailed us.
How do we live this out in everyday life:
1. If you are born-again, you have a new identity. ALL of what the bible says about that new identity is true for you. Feast on the word of God. Learn what God says about the new you.
2. Ask God to speak to you. Examine what you think about God, yourself, and others. Measure it against the truth. Replace any thoughts that don’t agree with the truth. Let’s take righteousness for example:
I could be struggling with a sin in my life. I try to fix it by trying harder not to sin. It doesn’t work. The problem is, I regard myself as a sinner. I believe that I am prone to sin rather than righteousness, so it is always an uphill battle. Yet the bible says I am righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is an attribute of my new identity in Christ. The greatest problem then is in my thinking. So, I repent, which simply means change my mind from one way of thinking to another. I begin to speak from my place of believing. I declare over myself I have been made righteous. I take my thoughts captive and replace them with the truth of my righteousness. Apple trees bear apples; likewise, as I begin to believe I am now right with God, I begin to live like it. Besetting sins begin to fall away.
3. Learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and in partnership do what He asks. We grow in this habit with practice as we learn to take a risk by stepping out in faith. It’s also so much easier when we do this alongside others who have learned this way. It’s how Jesus taught His disciples. First they watched Him do it, and then He sent them out to do the same.
Being, Believing, Doing, It really is as simple as that.
I would love to hear your thoughts on living the Christian life. Please leave a comment below.
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