WALKING IN THE LIGHT
8.But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the Old Man with his deeds;
10.And have put on the New Man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him:
Putting off the Old Man (old nature’s identity) and putting on the New Man (new nature’s new identity) is a choice done by faith. It’s like changing spiritual clothes. I take off the filthy rags (grave clothes) of the old worldly identity and put on the tailored suit of shining armor reflecting the Godly eternal identity. That is how we become a powerful representative of Christ. However, breaking the addiction and association to the Old Man is much easier said than done. Taking off the old identity will involve confession. True confession is not making excuses. True confession comes only after we see the reality of our shortcomings, are grieved by our sins, and desire is to turn away from them. Biblical confession is not just admitting a mistake or bad attitude. Life-changing confession involves a desire to repent, or at least a willingness to let God start the process in you. The mindset of repentance means that we desire to turn from the deeds of our old nature and be conformed to the image of Christ. Our confession may involve other people.
23. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24.Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
The confession should be focused in the realm of the violation. If it’s between you and another person, go to that person if possible. If it’s a group, go to them and acknowledge the change of heart. If the violation is just between you and God, spend enough time with God to see yourself forgiven. Selah. Then move on with a clean conscience. After we reject the Old Man (fallen nature) from connecting to and enslaving our soul through confession and active repentance, we need to put on the New Man (the new identity). There are basically two steps to putting on this new identity.
Step 1:Activate faith. See yourself in God and God in you. Know that the true reflection of God is Christ.
Step 2: Surrender all your personal rights and release God’s Spirit to flow through you and from you. It’s a cleansing force that will bear refreshing fruit.
1 Peter 1:22
22.Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
13.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
The process is simple, but not easy, because we so often want to hang on to some of our old identity and the rights we want to exercise for ourselves. Phrases like I have a right to feel this way, I have a right to that, or you have no right to do that to me come from the Old Man. It’s a struggle to fight for my personal rights and walk in love at the same time. Jesus continually acknowledged the Truth with love, but typically avoided getting involved in self-defense.
2.And Pilate asked Him, art Thou the king of the Jews? And He answering said unto him, thou sayest it.
3.And the chief priests accused Him of many things: but He answered nothing.
4.And Pilate asked Him again, saying, answerest Thou nothing? Behold how many things they witness against Thee.
5. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.
Allow God to be your defender as you defend others (because of love for them). We do not need to become sidetracked answering our critics or responding to the many accusations authored by Satan. However, there are times when we need to explain ourselves in order to clear up confusion or remove ourselves from an unnecessary abuse. The Holy Spirit will make these exceptions clear. He will empower us with peace regarding the action we need to take so that we can maintain an attitude of love. Our focus needs to be on lovenot self-defense. Maintaining love for God and His creation is our highest priority.
35. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying,
36. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37. Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment.
39. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40.On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
1 Corinthians 13:1-6
1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3.And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4.Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5.Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6.Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
The word “charity” here is a selfless giving love. Out of the four Greek words for love, the one used here for this special form of love is “Agape.” It is the highest form of love. It is a selfless sacrificial love, God’s love. Love is our key indicator that the Holy Spirit of God is in control of us and that we have His identity. Love is the main fruit of the Holy Spirit. Without love, the gifts of the Spirit become contaminated and will not operate correctly. Love is like the fuel that propels a car to its destination. If we are low on fuel, we have a choice–either fill up or fall short. Even if I have the most beautiful, powerful, expensive auto of my dreams, it will leave me stranded and be of little use if I don’t continually refuel.
God gives us the spiritual gifts and talents (our vehicle). However, it is up to us to keep our vehicle clean and refueled for service.
1 John 2:9-11
9.He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
10.He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
11.But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
If we dam up the flow of the river of love, we end up in a flood of darkness. Things will get out of perspective, and our priorities will change. Without love, we cannot walk in the light of God or be in harmony with the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:13-17
13.Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.
14.And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son be the Saviour of the world.
15.Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16.And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17.Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.
God is love and much more. Jesus came to earth to demonstrate God’s love by suffering for us and freely giving us eternal life in Heaven. Now He has commissioned us to pick up where He left off.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20
19.To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20.Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
I could sum up the whole Bible and God’s plan for my life in one word. That word is a commandment I must always follow. You guessed it. That all-important word is LOVE.
1 John 4:21
21.And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.
We are not just to love our brethren, family, and friends. We are instructed to love everyone.
31. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32.For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them.
33.And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same.
43.Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44.But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Persecution was a reality to the early Christians, yet they were instructed to love and pray for their persecutors. I believe “Andronicus and Junia” were lovingly praying for their persecutors. They were Christians who stood out and were noted among the Apostles. As a matter of fact, their close relative was one of the worst persecutors of the early church. His name was Saul.
7.Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Do you think Andronicus and Junia believed that God answered their prayers when Saul was converted on the road to Damascus and became the Apostle Paul? That is the kind of love we need to have, a desire to see our worst enemy delivered from Satan’s grasp and converted to Christ. That is being “more than conquerors” of our enemy (Romans 8:37). Rather than destroying our enemy, our enemy becomes our greatest ally. This is far more beneficial to both parties. We are to love, hope, and pray that everyone’s soul will be set free from Satan and his deceptions, even our worst enemies. Selah.If God opens the door for it, love sometimes needs to correct, discipline, or even rebuke in order to avoid further danger or destruction. This is tough love that, when applied with the right spirit, is true love. Tough love may seem harsh to the casual observer. Whether it is removing bad influences or reproving bad actions, the motivation of the disciplinary actions are to preserve and promote good.
11.My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
12.For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
If we are the ones being disciplined or corrected, we need to respond in love, even if the punishment is misguided. However, if God is correcting us, we must consider it a learning experience. When we learn the lesson, we will develop spiritually and enjoy a blessing.
23.Turn you at My reproof: behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you.
After Jesus arose from the dead, He appeared to Saul. Saul was a zealous supporter of his religion, but his zeal was misguided. Saul was spiritually blind and living in deception.
1.And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
He was fighting against his Redeemer, when suddenly the “Light of the World” (Jesus) appeared to Saul. It temporarily blinded him physically, but opened his eyes spiritually.
3. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from Heaven:
4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?
5. And he said, who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
At that time, Saul gave his life to Christ and received a new identity. He was no longer a lost soul. Saul was born again and came to be known as the Apostle Paul, a man of God. His new identity came with new conflicts. It was not easy. Symbolically speaking, Paul came out of the bondage of Egypt and found himself in the wilderness. In the wilderness the cares of this world can really seem to close in on you. It’s a place between Egypt (the satanic world system) and the Promised Land (a place of victory, leading to peace). The wilderness is a struggle. Paul left Egypt (his old identity as Saul). Now as Paul, he was seeing God’s leading and provision and was destined for Heaven, but he wanted more. He wasn’t satisfied with just being a child of God. He wanted to develop and grow in grace. He didn’t want to stop in the wilderness or go back to Egypt (metaphorically speaking). He wanted to occupy the Promised Land.
12. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14.I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Just like the early Israelites, many Christians turn back after they first see the Promised Land (their “high calling”). They see the obstacles and consider the fruit unattainable, or they attempt to attain the Promised Land by their own willpower instead of submitting to God’s word and depending on God’s help. The problem most Christians face is that every day is a new day, and we tend to wake up in the wilderness. We need to decide to cross over to the Promised Land. In fact, every hour can be a challenge to remain in this special place and not be lured back to the stresses and selfishness of the wilderness.
9.There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
11. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Paul was ready to rest from his own personal agenda. He chose to take his position in the armed forces of God and fight the good fight of faith.
2 Timothy 2:4
4.No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Paul had received the key to the Promised Land of victory over the circumstances. The key was in his next new identity, being establish “in Christ” instead of in Paul. This new identity has a different perspective, a different value system regarding the temporary and the eternal things in this life. The “in Christ” identity has a different mindset. It sets us free from the self-absorbed identity and attitude of our old nature. By visualizing what it means to be “in Christ” and then acting as an extension of Him, we serve as His representative in this place and moment of time. Spirit-filled Christians are able to maintain an attitude of love, peace, and joy, in spite of any negative circumstances. Even their words and actions tend to be wise, yet humble. This is not achieved casually or naturally. The transformation happens by meditation and recognition of what it means to be conformed to the image of Christ.
12.The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13.Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14.But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Like many people, I usually get dressed in the morning after I get out of bed. It has become a routine, but that is all right. Routines can be good. There is another good routine I try to be consistent about–getting dressed spiritually. As part of my morning prayers, I put on the armor of light. I begin at my head by praying for the helmet of salvation so that I will have the mind of Christ to think His thoughts, see through His eyes and hear His instructions. Then I put on the breastplate of righteousness so that I will reflect God’s heart. I fasten the belt of truth around my waist so that I will be surrounded by the light of God’s truth and wisdom. I slip the gospel of peace on my feet so that I will have all the fruit of the Spirit in my life andconsistently walk in peace, love, and joy. I activate the force field of faith around me, my family, my friends, my possessions, and whatever I might put my hands to that day, so that no fiery darts can get in. I sharpen the sword of the Spirit in my mouth so that I will speak only God’s word and God’s will. Then the “I” becomes “we” (in Christ). We ask God’s angels to go with us, before us, and after us to minister on our behalf and give us favor with mankind. My wife and I often pray together in the morning to start the day off on the right foot. We have experienced a difference when we are both spiritually dressed and equipped for the day.
11.Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.
12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
There is a spiritual battle going on all around us. This war affects us whether we realize it or not. It is the conflict between good and evil. The kingdom of God is in opposition to the realm of darkness. On one side there is love and truth; on the other, deception and corruption. Have you noticed the attempts in the United States to remove all positive public references to God and His help and influence in our history? The motivation for this antichrist activity obviously comes from Satan working through the corrupt human nature. As Christians, we are called to be God’s ambassadors to the souls of this world. We are to love them and open the doors of freedom to them. Many of them are enslaved and deceived by the power of darkness. Therefore it doesn’t mater how evil a soul may act; souls (people or persons) are not our enemy. They are the prize. We are ambassadors of God to express His love to every individual, without exception. We are also Christ’s soldiers fighting against corruption. We are to fight against corruption and depravity, whether it comes from the fallen nature or the fallen angels. Our weapons are rooted in the attitude of love and the proclamation of truth. Selah. If we yield to the corrupt old nature (Satan’s spy) within us, we will become POW’s (prisoners of war). Surrendering to corruption limits our ability to fight or resist corruption. To be free, we need to repent and apply God’s helmet of salvation so that we can start accessing the mind, power, and word of Christ.
17. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18.Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19. Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20. But ye have not so learned Christ;
21. If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22. That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23.And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27. Neither give place to the Devil.
28. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29.Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31.Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32.And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
In this culture war, there are heroes and casualties, battles won and battles lost; but in the end, Satan loses, Christians win. In fact, Jesus already won the war by laying down His mortal life on the cross, resulting in His victorious resurrection. Now what we need to learn is how to apply Christ’s ultimate victory to our current battle. Paul was a hero of the faith, but he did not start out that way. Paul experienced three stages in his spiritual journey. First, he realized he was lost and fighting for the wrong side. Second he became born-again by receiving the divine nature, and he changed his name from Saul to Paul. In the third stage, he considered the corrupted human nature powerless over him, dedicated himself to the divine nature, and changed his identity and authority from Paul to “in Christ.”
2.Set your affection on things above, not on things on the Earth.
3.For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
To consider yourself dead means you give up your right to complain, be angry or defiant. You give up your right to be in charge of your fame, fortune, and lifestyle. You trust God with all these areas of your life.
20.I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
Paul’s new identity was to be a powerful instrument to reveal and release God’s love. In doing so, he was in perfect harmony with God’s power. He humbly became not Saul, not Paul, but Christ’s voice, hands, feet, and actions.
24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.
Things done in the flesh for personal glory will fade away in time, but the things God does through you will become incredibly rewarding. Whoever puts themselves first will be considered last or least in the kingdom of God. On the other hand, whoever puts God first and themselves last will be the first or the greatest in God’s kingdom. Before we focus on others, we should evaluate our priorities. In Luke 6:41-42 and Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus said, “First cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly” so you can release God to truly help others through you. The beam represents seeing things through the filthy distorted dark glasses of the old nature.
Luke 14:28-30, 33
28. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29. Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30. Saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.
33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.
Jesus is not saying that we must take a vow of poverty, but rather that we need to give up all our rights and ownership and replace them with instruction and stewardship. Basically, we give all our possessions to God. This is a completely different perspective on the same stuff. It tends to free us from the stress and struggle of building our own kingdom in the wilderness. Instead, we become managers of the King of Kings’ things. As we take care of the King’s things here where the Devil is constantly trying to corrupt, steal, and destroy, our King is preparing our personal possessions in a place where the Devil can’t touch them. Living in the Promised Land means that we daily crucify our selfish ambitions of promoting our own kingdom. We become spiritual warriors under our Supreme Commander and are His representatives under His authority. We put on the armor of light, our new “in Christ” identity which contains our authority and responsibility.
11.Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12.I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13.I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
It is not always easy; but in order to walk in the light, we must surrender our right to complain. We surrender our right not to love. By God’s grace, we demonstrate love, hope, peace, joy, patience, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness, and goodness in all circumstances. God is looking for people to represent Him in every area and situation of life.
7.But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
It was Paul’s desire to be hidden in the identity of Christ. Jim Elliott, a famous missionary and martyr, wisely stated, “It is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
21.For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.