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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Don't ever think you aren't growing

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 
My old self can be more of a little bit of a challenge now and again. I grow in fits and spurts - how about you? I don't seem to be able to stay on the "growth cycle" for very long before I find myself in a phase where it seems I am just sucking in nutrients, but not really doing much in the way of growing. Or at least that is how it seems! I cannot ever forget that it is not longer me alive within - but Christ. If he wants to take small seasons of rest to allow me to "regroup" for the next season of growth that is ahead, then who am I to question his foreknowledge!  The important thing for all of us to keep in mind is this idea of it no longer being about us living for ourselves - it is the power of Christ within us that is living now. As long as we live in this earthly body, we are to do so by "trusting in the Son of God" - the one alive within us!
We often question if we are "going anywhere" when it seems our movement is kind of slowed or even barely there. We have this vague idea that any sense of "not moving" means we aren't doing what we should be doing, or that we are somehow not in God's will. Sometimes his will for us is to just take some time for our bodies to catch up with our minds! Our minds run at millions of miles an hour, while our bodies exhaust after somewhere around fifty miles or so! This drives us crazy because we want to accomplish so much, go so many directions, etc. - but when we have to slow down to allow mind, body, and spirit to all be on the same page, we just about freak out! This is one reason I take a day here and there to just allow this "catching up" to occur. It renews me for what is ahead.
A couple of things we need to see from our passage today:
- Our old self might be there in our memory, but it isn't the thing in control of our actions any longer. Don't believe me? Think about a man crucified on a cross. In the times this form of death was used, the body was either nailed through the hands and feet, hanging there in suspension until death occurred. If the means of securing the man to the cross was that of tying hands and feet, it was still equally as effective. When placed upon that cross, the intent was not that they'd ever come down from there alive. They ceased to exist - their bodies may have been present, but they were dead! You could see the body, but the spirit was no longer within the old man on the tree!
- It is no longer I....  We cannot deviate from reminding ourselves of this - especially in the middle of the storm or when it seems things are "getting out of control" in our lives. God's presence is what is at work within us now, not our old sinful desires - for those are only a memory and not an active, living being any longer. The exchange that occurs when Christ's Spirit engages us in this new life is one that changes the course of how we respond to life's challenges. It is no longer I - it is Christ in me. Where Christ is in control - there is hope and healing; anchorage and protection.
- It is a matter of trusting, even when we don't see evidence of movement or growth. Where Christ's Spirit dwells there will be life everlasting - and ever growing! That means even when it doesn't appear we are growing, we are likely just regrouping long enough to enter into the next phase of his plan for our growth and development in his grace and love. His care over our lives doesn't cease even when we rest - it is even more present because he is at working bringing mind, body and spirit into perfect peace and alignment with his will - so we will be ready when he asks us to move again! So, trust him - he is still at work. Just sayin!