“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
‘It’s all – always – about Christ. Paul experienced a massive shift, and now he was a totally different man. No longer was he a slave to his circumstances or his emotions. Paul now chose to live aware of the power of Christ in him, through him, and for him. Paul now had the power of the Spirit – the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and he chose to live aware of and under that power.’ – Jennie Allen (Get Out of Your Head, pg 37-38)
How did this happen? How did I let the enemy and my own thoughts creep in without much notice? Until…I finally did. I sent this email mid-January to my S4K teammates:
Teammates, co-laborers for Christ, friends –
As some of you know (some more than others), I’ve had a rough few weeks, I haven’t felt like myself and felt like the fruits of the Spirit were not evident in my life…but God’s grace is so good and He has overcome my weaknesses. With my hubby’s prompting I am taking the rest of this week off (today thru Saturday) and going to see my family. I feel like I have turned a corner and am much better, God is working and moving and I am going to use this time to draw close to Him. So, this all to say I probably won’t return your text messages, email, etc unless it is an absolute emergency. (except for the hubs ;))
Reading it now, I see I was still not recognizing all that was going on in me. Although I did make some strides towards peace I found that a couple of months later those thoughts started showing back up and tormenting me. Can I tell you that Session 2 has overwhelmed me? In such a sweet and precious way! I cried watching the video and took so many notes throughout this session. The theme or takeaways this week for me were “to live is Christ” – He is everything! And to be led by the Spirit! I know the Spirit lives in me because I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. My gradual decay of listening to the lies of the enemy and not feeding the Spirit enough led me to a several month downward spiral.
There is still more work to be done and I am so thankful that God does not leave us alone. His Spirit is working and moving and changing me day by day.
One of my biggest realizations or enlightenments this week was me loving something more than God or putting something in the place of Him or above Him and that is the ministry I love, the ministry He has called me to, and it has to stop. ‘The fact is that we even put “good” things in place of God. What are we chasing? What are we worshiping? We have to learn to recognize it and seek discipline.’ – Jennie Allen (Session 2 video) The shift has to begin with putting God in His proper place, first. What are we chasing, what are we worshiping, what are we thinking about the most or fixating on? Our jobs, kids, ministries, even our endless to-do lists can take over our thoughts when our focus should be on Christ. Jesus is enough and if He is #1 then I don’t have to worry or think about all the things swirling around me, He will take care of it. All those things will fall into their proper place when I put Him first. This aim – Jesus – is better than life!
I loved that Jennie’s friend spoke this truth to Jennie when she finally confessed what was taking place in her thought life – ‘Jennie, this is not who you are’. (Chapter 4 – GOOYH book). I needed to hear this because for months I have thought ‘what in the world is wrong with me? why am I walking backwards in my faith? why am I so weak? why am I not listening and heeding to the same word I am speaking to others?’ Christy, this is not who you are. What a simple yet profound moment of truth for me, for us. We are not what the enemy says we are, we are not what others say we are, we are not what we sometimes say we are… we are what Jesus says we are. When we place our faith in Him the narrative changes, we are His and He will not let go of us.
Let’s remember the power of God in us through the Spirit He placed in us when we surrendered to Him.
“For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:5-11
To live is Christ.
I lead this song for the guys in prison and led it for our weekly recorded service (due to COVID-19) and I wanted to weep as I sang the words. I have sung these over and over and they hit home this week in a new and special way due to the conflict inside me. So thankful for the Lord’s reminder yet again to be led by His Spirit.