Friday, January 19, 2007

Trading Our Thoughts & Desires For God's

Since I haven't included a devotional post in quite a while, I have decided to post one that I received via email today. It's really good and a challenging subject for all Christian believers.

I will say that I don't agree with the idea that everyone and/or anyone can receive the gift of "speaking in tongues" that Keller mentions in the devotional. There is a Bible verse that tells us that God gives spiritual gifts "severely, as He wills." (See 1 Corinthians 12:1-11)

So, just as a person may have a physical gift of singing beautifully, so it is with any spiritual gift. If anyone desires a more detailed explanation about what I have stated about "speaking in tongues," I would be happy to share my reasoning behind it, based upon what the Bible tells us.

However, rather than getting into any long, drawn-out arguments about that topic, let's just say that any who thinks differently about it will just have to "agree to disagree" with me in that area.

Keller makes some excellent points about what it means to "die to self" and how important it is to do this on a daily basis. It is my prayer that this devotional speaks to you as well as it spoke to me!



HOW to "die to self" daily. Dying to self daily is what Paul spoke of so often. It is how we walk in the "Spirit" and not in the "flesh" as we are instructed in Romans Chapter 8 and Galatians Chapter 5. The whole issue of dying to self daily is the absolute key to living a victorious life in Christ. It literally means that you have to die to self DAILY! This is why so many people who are saved, love the Lord, live beneath their blessings and in constant turmoil. This is how people who know Christ as their Savior end up committing adultery, cheat people, lie, get in bondage to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, shopping, greed, and anything else people become enslaved to. They don't die to self each day and end up walking in the "flesh" and NOT the "Spirit."

People wonder all the time how a pastor, a deacon, an elder, someone in the leadership of God's church could leave their wife and run off with another woman. People wonder all the time how a Sunday School teacher who loves the Lord could neglect her children and family because of alcohol. Maybe you are wondering how you could be raising your hands to Jesus, speaking in tongues, and being used by God to touch lives one day, and sinning against God the next. The answer is when you fail to die to self each day, you are walking in the "flesh," not the "Spirit."

The question that needs to be addressed today is HOW does a person "die to self?"

The first step is an action, something that you must do.

Dying to self is a conscious choice that you must make, one nobody can make it for you. It is the act of surrendering your life completely to Christ. The reason God's Word talks about dying to self DAILY is because it is something that we must do each and every day. Our life with Christ is not for an hour or two on Sunday, but literally 24/7. It is critical to make the choice to die to self each and every day.

Since this is something you must do each day, I do it and counsel others to do it the moment you wake up in the morning. As I first open my eyes to a new day, before I do anything I take a moment and thank God for a day that was not promised to me and make the conscious choice to completely surrender my life to Him that day. I literally tell God to take my life and use it for His glory that day, to use me as an instrument of blessing. When we get saved, we not only ask Christ into our heart and life by faith, but we give our very lives to Him. In dying to self each day, we are reaffirming that our life doesn't belong to us any longer, it is His.

At the moment we are born again, we receive the promise of the "Comforter," or the Holy Spirit. Each Believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit to empower them and guide them throughout their life. It is literally the power of Almighty God living within each person who has given their heart and life to Christ by faith. As you surrender your life afresh to Christ at the start of each day, you are allowing your life to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not by your flesh. It is no longer you but God that is in complete control of your life. You have traded in your thoughts and desires for God's thoughts and desires. It is not YOU that is living, it is Christ living in you as Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20.

This whole process takes only a few minutes of time alone with the Lord, but it is the most important few minutes of your day. When you don't go through this process each and every morning, you wake up, start going through your day, and not only does it feel like the day is weighing you down, you don't have that confidence. The reality is, the day IS weighing you down because you are operating in your strength and not the Lord's, and the lack of confidence comes from the fact you are in control of your life and not Christ.

Sadly, some people go days, even weeks without really dying to self, and it usually takes the consequences of their poor choices during that time to bring them back to the Lord. Like I say often, your way doesn't work, God's way works! Let me give you some advice out of my love for you. You can never run your life better than God can. The sooner you realize that, the more peace, joy, and abundance you will know during this journey through life.

There is probably no more critical a message I will ever share with you in living a victorious life in Christ than the one today. All of the benefits in God's Word exist and are available to those who believe, but there is a price to pay and that price is our very life surrendered, yielded to the Lord. It is a choice, an act, that nobody can force you to commit. The important thing for you to hear today is that it is not something you do just once and forget about. It is something that you must do DAILY! EVERY DAY! WITHOUT FAIL! Each morning when you wake up, you have to make the conscious choice to die to self, to surrender your life to Christ, and walk in the "Spirit" instead of the "flesh."

I love you and care about you so much. The difference between a person who knows the Lord as their Savior living a defeated life and a victorious life, lies in what I am sharing with you today. Please, save your money. You don't need to waste it listening to Tony Robbins or the motivational speakers of the world lie to you that you can do it on your own, and you don't need to spend it on books and tapes from preachers who preach a feel good Gospel but forget to tell you about the sacrifice involved. The key to living a victorious life in Christ lies in you waking up each morning and making the conscious choice to die to self and allow Christ to control your life.

The fact is, the Bible says that if you have asked Christ into you heart and life by faith, it is no longer your life, that it belongs to Him. The Word says we have been "bought with a price." So in essence, each day you are only giving the Lord what already belongs to Him anyway. Remember my message in the past on what really happens when we get saved? We are literally giving our life to Christ. It is no longer ours, but is now His. The reality is, each morning when we wake up, we have to make the choice to die to self so that Christ can live within us during that day. If we don't do this each and every day when we wake up, we will soon find ourselves walking in the "flesh" and not the "Spirit."

I will be praying for you today. Praying that you will sit down and read this message over and over. This is the meat and potatoes of the Word. This is where the rubber meets the road in regard to our Christian walk. This is the part that nobody really wants to talk about since we love the benefits of being saved, but we really don't want to think about the price that Jesus paid or the sacrifice we have to make each day. You MUST think about it since it is the difference between you living a defeated life and living a victorious life. To live that victorious life in Christ, to walk in His victory, you have to die to self each day so that you are walking in the "Spirit" and not the "flesh" so that it is Christ, not you that lives.

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller

***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY? The fact is you will die one day. At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator. To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to: Plan of Salvation

(C) Copyright 2007, Bill Keller Ministries. All rights reserved.


Susan Smith said...

Deliverance from self involves a daily choice. We must deny self and take up our cross on a daily basis (see LUK 9:23). So often we believe we are righteous and have done nothing wrong. When this happens, then we are judging ourselves by ourselves. If someone claims to be “without sin” for a time or claims it permanently, the claim is false. They are self-deceived and the truth is not in them (see 1JO 1:8). When we allow the Lord to be the judge in our lives, then we will understand that every day we are still sinning. God never fights sin. He uses it in our lives to show us kindness and to lead us to repentance (see ROM 2:4). When we realize the Living Word of God is active and can see how it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (see HEB 4:12), then we begin to acknowledge the truth about our sinful nature. The mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God’s teaching and instructions, nor can it do so (see ROM 8:7). God allows His Light to shine upon our behaviors, anger, bitterness and judgments no more than enough for our daily growth. No one could stand seeing how evil and corrupt he or she really is all at one time. Whoever has will be given more (see MAT 13:12). As we are transformed more and more by the Life of Christ, then the light will become brighter.

The flesh or self is never a friend. This writer appreciates the words of Mike Wells on this subject. He writes we can buffet it and make it a slave, but it will never be a friend. “The flesh is a strange thing in that it cannot live on its own but must feed on something that is living. It adapts to resemble the thing from which it draws life, but it isn’t really a living thing. When man dies, the fleshly condition of the man dies. It is weird.” Now that is the best definition of the “flesh” this writer has ever heard! Perhaps we are never “delivered” from flesh on earth. We must strive to make it our slave.

I am blessed by your devotional posts, Christine. Thank you and much love from Jerusalem to my "little" sister on the West Coast. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Wow Susan! Beautifully stated! I really liked reading Mike Wells definition of the "flesh."

...we can buffet it and make it a slave, but it will never be a friend. “The flesh is a strange thing in that it cannot live on its own but must feed on something that is living. It adapts to resemble the thing from which it draws life, but it isn’t really a living thing. When man dies, the fleshly condition of the man dies.

Doesn't it grieve the hearts of Christian evangelists to know that certain people choose to be stubborn and unwilling to trade in their "strongholds of the flesh?" If only they would realize how brief our fleshly life is in the light of all eternity! Nothing in this life beats knowing our Lord personally and realizing the triumphant eternal life offered now and forever by God through Jesus Christ!

I'm always blessed by your comments my friend!

Love in the Lord,