There is a huge war going on and it’s not the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else in the world. Actually, it’s much closer to home. The war that prevails, that is the most concern to my life, is inside me!
Like most believers, I was taught that once I am saved, I’m saved; that Jesus loves me forever; and I’m on my way to heaven. Although assured of making it to heaven when I die, I didn’t expect it to feel like I’d get there by the skin of my teeth, the hair on my chinny-chin-chin, fighting every inch of the way. Why does it seem as if I am in a battle for my life?
Because I am—the battle for my spiritual life—the life of the new ME!
It was a joyous event when I accepted Christ and learned that my old fleshly nature had been overruled, dethroned, and replaced. Yet, while my fallen-from-God’s-intended nature is completely, officially, and legally no longer in control of me,1 I still have this ongoing debate with my flesh—the old ME!
The fact is I have an enemy that I didn’t have before I accepted Christ. Until now, my own fallen nature didn’t have to fight for survival since it was already in control. But now that I have a new life living on the inside, the old ME is trying to make a comeback. And the war is on—I am at war with myself!
Few Christians are prepared for the war they will inevitably face—the old ME verses the new ME. In case no one spelled it out: self doesn’t die easy. Here is one very important fact has been left out of much Christian teaching: Now that I am saved, it’s up to ME to appropriate this life-changing truth into my everyday life.
But the Apostle Paul didn’t leave it out. In Ephesians 3:16 he prayed for me and you about this very thing. He prayed that “out of His (God’s) glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.” That is the same inner being Paul described in Romans 7:22 that wants to obey God—that’s the new ME—the newly born-again life of Jesus.
But why are so many Christians struggling to win a war that has already been legally won? Not only are they struggling to win the war, some have lost battle after battle and have the scars to prove it. The casualties of this war are huge. Many Christians give up, drop out, and never expect to win the fight.
Consider this: How many Christians actually know how to defeat the enemy of their souls? Know how to put the enemy to flight? Bring every thought into captivity? Love their enemies? Love their neighbor as themselves? Submit to one another? Forgive seventy times seven? (Are you kidding!) Crucify their flesh? Turn the other check? Go the second mile? In everything give thanks? Need I go on?
My point is not to call attention to the failures of Christians. My point is this: By the way we live it appears this gospel isn’t powerful enough to do what the Bible says it will do. Do we believe in a powerful gospel or a powerless gospel?
The problem is not with our gospel—it with us—we have failed to appropriate (take, seize, adopt, usurp, grab) the very truth of the gospel we profess to believe.
Perhaps we have not yet figured out how to be strengthened with power through His Spirit that is required to win this battle with our legally dethroned, stubborn self, as Paul prayed we would.
I wonder if many modern-day believers even know this power is available. And if so, have they learned how to tap into it? Be assured that God did not intend for us to be lacking in power. He made every provision for His children to live a victorious and powerful Christ-like, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled life.
It is time to unwrap and expose the truth about how to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives. If you haven’t joined the journey, it’s not too late! ~ Janie Kellogg
1Treasure in Earthen Vessels, “My Faulty Default” – February 19, 2013