Ever watched a tugboat carry a load that looks like a small city? These vessels are quite amazing in their capabilities in the loads they pull and in the kinds of formidable whether they ride in. Nothing seems to hinder them. Their size has nothing to do with their capability, what is contingent on their success is what powers them.
Those of us who have become New Creations in Christ can be likened to the tugboat. Our outer appearance whether it be highly regarded or lowly in the world’s eyes has nothing to do with our capability for we are all powered by the Almighty Living God! He who raised Jesus from the dead in resurrection power – is now in us, amazing isn’t it!
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11
With this very amazing thought, let us ponder what Jesus said to His disciples:
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. Matt 21:21
The very power that raised Jesus from the grave, is the same power Jesus is talking about, when we activate faith in who Jesus is we can move and cast mountains into the sea! I believe many of our mountains that get in the way of a successful spiritual life in Christ – are called our Flesh Mountains manifest in our weaknesses and/or love towards what we crave, love and fear. We often don’t put really much thought into how much we listen to the voice of our flesh in comparison to how little we follow after what the Spirit is directing us through the Word. The voice of our flesh will drown out what the Spirit says if we let it. Because we often don’t take the time to distinguish what is what, we are carried away by default into idleness and futility and if this becomes our pattern we won’t grow as Christians and will struggle and be consumed with many issues.
Jesus gave us a strategy early in His ministry that often offends for it is harsh and very strict for it cuts to the very heart of our problem – which is the appetite of our flesh is what causes us to sin. He gives no pop psychology, no 10 steps to recovery, or tapping into our inner child – but rather tells us to cut it out and off! Ouch! Yes, it sounds painful, and for the most part is. In the infinite wisdom of God He gives us the key to become successful joyful Christian people as He says these words:
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Matt 5: 29-31
Jesus gives us the key into obtaining our freedom His Life/Death has bought for us, and what Paul went on to preach extensively in Romans chapters 6, 7 & 8. Many who are believers have yet to apply to this basic and central principle so they may walk in the freedom that Christ has paid for.
Going back to the tugboat analogy, we as tugboat vessels have the capability of attaching our toe line to the Flesh Mountain in our lives and cast them into the sea as we obey and subject ourselves to the Spirit and give no place for the flesh. As we apply this to our lives the sin we have in the past struggled with, will lose its power and mastery over us.
When we learn and walk in the Spirit, which is according to the principles, teaching and commands that is taught to us throughout the Scriptures – we are promised to receive (eternal) Life – here and now. We are promised the Divine Life – so that we can be a people who are pleasing to God.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 1 Peter 1:2-4
He has given all we need to walk through the narrow gate Jesus said we must walk. Life according to Christ is always active, never are we to remain neutral. This is what the definition of Life in Christ means and His activity in us is described in Hebrews saying-
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb 4:12
To be in Christ – is to be ALIVE with Him, participating in His will in His power. He is like the master surgeon, operating in us to remove and replace continually things He sees that hinder our relationship with Him. We are to be a vessel that is always looking to lighten our load, so we can accommodate more of His Spirit in us. The more we gain in Christ by His Spirit the less we give ground to the enemy. Paul talked a great deal about his battle and a good description is found in 1 Cor 9: 25-27:
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
To be in Christ looks like this as an equation: Christ – Self (flesh) = Freedom. To otherwise look like this: Christ + Self = Bondage.
I liken it this way, before we were in Christ our vessels are in darkness – utter hopeless darkness. We are either willingly or unwillingly servants of sin (and Satan). Once we commit ourselves to Jesus Christ by faith in who He is and has done for us – God places a door to the darkness of sin that we now can close. We can choose to close this door to refuse sin’s entry. Sin is still around and continually lurks and tries to gain entry into us – but now we must exercise wisdom, vigilance and discipline to master it and keep the door of sin closed.
The (false) teaching of today, tells us that we need not worry about this door being closed or open – because the blood of Jesus has washed us from all sin. This is one of the unfortunate lies that has only brought in frustration and hopelessness in great discouragement because it will always lack the Spirit in Power which contains our joy, peace and righteousness. Sin must be put into proper place and perspective in order that we may apply Christ’s Power to our lives.
We must never forget that once we become a member of God’s team, we enter a battle; the war between our flesh and the Spirit of God in us. We must understand that there is never any downtime, many do and to their detriment. God has given us all that we need to be and live as overcomers. Overcomers of our own fleshly lusts, fears, love for this world in all its pleasures, our pride; which are all sin. It doesn’t just fall into our lap and we overcome. We must willingly resign, submit and yield as we walk in the light to see what must go– and willingly cut if off, and in this we may obtain the divine power to walk in the will, peace and joy of the Lord.
At the moment we do, we will feel the lightness of soul and the power of the Living God surge in us to strengthen and encourage us so we will (joyfully and gladly) continue to lighten our load – and this is our freedom, but WE must be the ones that cast off what holds us in our bondage. God will never take it from us and is up to us to give it up. We cannot pray that God would take our sin from us – because He has done all that is to be done regarding sin already. Jesus has already done all that is needed for us to accomplish in us, which is the perfect will of God. He made a way where there was no way – forged ahead of us, and now we can walk the road He Himself walked and now instructs us to.
May we take the time to listen and watch as to what/who we truly are obeying and make any and all the changes and adjustments that are needed, in Christ’s name. Amen