Tag Archives: power

The Biggest Loser

On the popular TV show “The Biggest Loser,” the biggest loser is the winner! Sounds strange, doesn’t it?  It reminds me of how the younger generation uses the word “bad” to mean “good,” or “hot” to mean “cool,” that is when “cool” means how “good” something is.

 

Apparently, we don’t always know what words are intended to mean unless the person using them explains it to us. That is certainly the case in Romans Chapter 8. Paul clearly stated that the biggest loser is the person who lives according to the flesh.1  If Paul had been living in our day, he might have pasted a big L across his forehead with his thumb and forefinger as he uttered the word “loser,” signifying that person is definitely not a winner.

 

According to Romans Chapter 8, I have two choices as to who runs my life: 1) the Holy Spirit, or 2) my loser flesh.

 

Jesus put it like this: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.”2 I take that to mean if I choose option #1, I get life; if I choose option #2, I get nothing.

 

When am I going to get it—that my flesh is a Loser with a capital L? Why would I knowingly let a Loser run my life? Why would I let a Loser determine what I think? Or let a Loser control what I say? Why would I ever choose that? I wouldn’t.

 

Could it be that I have been conned into seeing my flesh in a better light? To believe that the desires of my flesh are actually OK? Have I been lured into thinking that my fleshy ways and ideas are not all bad? That they are just how God made me—part of my personality?

 

I wonder if the enemy of my soul has launched a brilliant scheme of which I am not apprised. After all, he is the master deceiver.

 

Paul told the Galatians, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap corruption.”3 There it is again—clearly not life. The enemy scoffs: “Loser! Loser! Loser! Triple Loser!”

 

I try to ignore his taunting—that I am helplessly enslaved to this flesh. I don’t want to be. And yet, I catch a glimpse of a different scenario in which I don’t have to be a Loser—I don’t have to settle there. Jesus and Paul said so.

 

“Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from of the Spirit will reap life everlasting.”4 I listen closely and hear the Spirit offering: “Life! Life! Life! Triple Life!”

 

How can I tap into that Triple LifeAbundant Life! How can I stop allowing my condemned flesh to rule and start letting the Life-giving Holy Spirit rule?

 

Great questions! How many training classes have born-again believers had on how to walk in the Spirit? Two, one, or maybe none! How many teachers courageously teach what it means to live in the Spirit? To be filled with the Spirit? Admit to knowing the third person of the Trinity and having a relationship with Him? Or confess to understanding the inner dealings, workings, and functions of the Holy Spirit? Who ever steps up and says like Paul, “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ?” 5

 

The most natural thing in a person’s life after being born-again is to learn how to walk in the Spirit. Growing babies must learn to walk. Yet, many of us totter along through this Christian life, never learning to walk like Jesus walked.

 

Perhaps we have misunderstood, misinterpreted, or even underestimated this amazing promise of Jesus:  His Spirit living in us—through us—as us. Life! Life! Life!

 

I have tried a thousand times to transform my flesh by the power of the flesh. It hasn’t worked. I thank God that it hasn’t. I must grasp this one powerful life-changing truth as it has the ability to set me free from my works—striving to please God in my depraved, condemned flesh that can never please Him!

 

The glimpse broadens and I can see more. Even with disciplined and improved flesh, I am no better off. My only solution is the Holy Spirit living in me—through me—as me. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”6 No mental ascent to this mysterious arrangement will suffice.

 

My Holy House Guest tries to arouse me from slumber, from the things I must unlearn, and from this futile state of reigning flesh—particularly in spiritual things. He desires the best for me, and longs to show me how to let Him come alive in me. He yearns to know me; He yearns for me to know Him.

 

Feeling lifeless? The Holy House Guest is our answer. ~ Janie Kellogg

1Romans 8: 1-8; 2John 6:63; 3Galatians 6:8a; 4Galatians 6:8b; 51 Corinthians 11:1 (NLT); 6Galatians 2:20.

Other Related posts in Treasure in Earthen Vessels: The House Guest, November 22, 2012

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Finally ~ the Solution to Our Sin Problem

[I believe this is perhaps the most important blog I have ever posted. Even if you think you already know the solution, please read this anyway. It is a powerful concept that I believe has been overlooked or omitted from much church training. Read it slowly and ask to see it with new eyes. I apologize for its length, but its importance made that necessary.]

 

It is a gloomy picture—the one painted by the Apostle Paul—as he admits with honesty and candor the demise of living in the flesh, enslaved to its deadly longings. Its toxic hold on us is inescapable. There are no trap doors of magical illusions by which we can drop through, fly out, or break free. It is the unsolicited fate of every human being who has ever lived on planet earth—every offspring of Grandpa Adam and Granny Eve. It is our inheritance and it is real.

 

Paul strategically laid out the case for the wretchedness of man in Romans Chapter 7, and near the end of the chapter it is apparent that all efforts to escape this entanglement have failed. His final evaluation was a clear cry for help: “Who will deliver me from this body of death?”1

 

Then, without so much as taking a breath, Paul makes a bold proclamation:  “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! 2

 

Paul finally recognized that legally, by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, he was rescued from the pronounced judgment of a life controlled by the flesh. I stand right there with him, legally that is, and so does every other believer in Jesus!

 

In his next statement, with the official rescue already carried out, accepted and now declared, Paul lays out the reality of what we are left with thereafter: “So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”3

 

With Paul’s “so then” we have a description of the war that ensues, and that will continue based on these two facts:  1) with my mind I serve God; 2) with my flesh I serve sin. That is my condition and yours, as born-again believers. But get ready, the solution to our predicament is just ahead!

 

Paul opens Romans Chapter 8 with some amazing news: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” 4 These are powerful statements. Let’s not miss any of it!

 

I have taken the liberty of removing the chapter break and paraphrasing what I heard Paul say:

“I have a horrific problem—I am a slave to sin and I cannot free myself. Who will rescue me from this fatal condition? Thank God, Jesus did! But even though I was rescued legally when I was born again and I now serve God with my mind, I still serve sin with my human nature. But listen up—there is a solution! Although the flesh is condemned, those of us who are in Christ Jesus (born-again) and walk in the Spirit are not condemned. Because of the fact that we are legally free from the law of sin and death, we can overrule our human nature by walking in the Spirit!”

 

Do you see it? Paul has outlined a two-part solution to being freed from the great sin problem we inherited:  1) our spiritual souls are legally freed from the curse of sin when we accept Jesus Christ, and 2) our physical lives are freed from sin’s control as we walk in the Spirit.

 

Both are provided through Jesus Christ our Lord. Chapter 8 is rich with proof of this very arrangement. Life in the Spirit is the key to overruling our fleshly nature. That was the plan from the get-go—Christ would return to heaven and send a Helper, who would come to live in believers and empower them to overrule their fleshly nature.5

 

Many of us are born-again believers, but when we got to Romans 7:25, we made some mental ascent to this great truth, drove down our stake by faith and thought we were done. The problem is we were never taught how to walk in the Spirit. No one told us that unless we moved on into the provisions of Chapter 8, we would continue to live with our sin nature controlling us.

 

In Galatians 5:19, Paul clearly states this again: “I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Now let’s reverse it and read it again: “I say then, you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh, if you walk in the Spirit.”

Jesus fully intended that every born-again believer be baptized in the Spirit,6 filled with the Spirit,7 empowered by the Spirit,8 and thereby enabled to live their life by the Spirit.

 

So what happened to Jesus’ intentions? We will examine. In fact, we have much to examine and explore about walking in the Spirit. Join the exciting journey ahead! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

 

1Romans 7:24; 2Romans 7:25a (NIV); 3Romans 7:25b; 4Romans 8:1-2; 5John 16:7-13; 6Acts 1:5; 7Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31; 8Acts 1:8 (All other references are NKJ.)

 

The New ME!

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