Only God Knows the Real You!

Christ renamed several of His disciples to give them a new identity, demonstrating their new creature in Christ. While our names may not have changed, we, like Peter, battle the old man-the natural man, while maturing into the new man. The process is worth examining.

Lisa Blair

Christians, as with the case of most people today, question who we are. We know we are new creatures in Christ, but that does not magically eliminate our carnal or natural being. This is only the beginning of our evolution. Before being saved, our values are variables that change depending upon conditions and circumstances. We are comparable to chameleons.

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This Post is a short study on the evolutionary growth of Peter, who was born Simon Peter, the natural man, and transformed into Peter, the new man. It highlights his struggles, weaknesses, strengths, as well as his growth. Examining Peter’s life should give any believer hope. Simon Peter evolved into Peter over time, it was not miraculous, or immediate, it was an expansive timeline. Our evolutionary process may take as long or longer than Peters took. The important things to note are: have hope, stay in prayer, and allow God to direct your path, always examining if it is the old man operating or the new man of God moving forward.

The Evolution of Simon Peter

Peter’s birth name was Simon Peter. He was outspoken, strong-willed, and impulsive. He was a husband, father of two, and a partner in a thriving fishery; he was a fisherman. It could be said, his life was full. He knew himself as Simon Peter, the man, was a practicing Jew and followed the Law of Moses. Was he content with his natural self? We do not know. Was he seeking his real self? Who knows. Did he innately know he would one day leave everything, to follow Christ, and become his real self, Simon Peter, probably not? Do we know who we really are in God’s eyes, or the plans He has for us, probably not?

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Simon Peter didn’t stand out. He was an uneducated Jew, Acts 3:13. He was a Hebrew, a follower of The Mosaic Law, like most. However, despite his failings and his strengths, the Lord chose to mold Simon Peter into whom He created him to become – Peter, a member of Christ’s inner circle of disciples. As time progressed and Peter accepted Christ as His Lord, Peter walked, learned, and loved Christ. He was a witness to miracles and wonders. But, despite his first-hand knowledge and witness to these events, Simon Peter continued to resurface. The transformed Peter, (Christ, gave him the new name indicating he was a follower and believer), became a new man but remained brash and impulsive. He was the person that stepped out of the boat and onto the surface of the sea to walk to Jesus.

~It was Simon Peter, not Peter, who looked down as he was walking on water (a sign and wonder), lost faith, and began to sink, Matthew 14:28-30.

~It was Simon Peter who calls us to serve but stayed seated and did not join Christ when he washed the disciples’ feet, 1 Peter 5:2.

~It was Simon Peter that told the believers to stay clear-minded and have self-control at all times to pray, 1 Peter 4:7.

~It was Simon Peter who rebuked Christ for speaking of his death, Matthew 16:22.

~It was Simon Peter who fell asleep while Jesus was praying and sweating blood, 1 Peter 2:13.

~It was Simon Peter who slipped back into the Law and suggested they erect three tabernacles, one for each—Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, clustering Jesus with the Old Testament prophets, Matthew 17:4.

~It was Simon Peter who grew angry drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest, John 18:10.

~It was Simon Peter who swore that he would never forsake the Lord, even if everyone else did, and you know the story, he denied Christ three times when he was arrested, Matthew 26:70-74.

~It was Simon Peter who fled when Christ was hung on the cross and hid in fear, 1 Peter 5:1.

How often do we capitulate under challenging times and employ our old values and behavior like Peter? Usually, the conversion is so indistinct we are there before we were aware of slipping. At that moment, we become blind to who we are in Christ, we regress to our old man. Thank God for redemption because we can repent and once again take on the behaviors of Christ who knows our true selves and is molding us to become more like Him.

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Despite Peter’s shortcomings, Jesus continued to affirm Peter as the “Rock,” Matthew 16:18-19 and promised him that he, Peter, would become instrumental in establishing Jesus’ Church. After Christs’  resurrection, he named Peter as the one who needed to hear the good news, Matthew 16:7. Jesus made a point of forgiving and restoring Simon Peter to accept and regain his new name, Peter, and recommissioned him as Christ’s’ Apostle, and high priest, John 21,6, 15-17; Hebrews 3:1.

Even after being restored, Peter, who preached on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, was present when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit, Acts 8, and was summoned to the home of Roman centurion Cornelius, Acts 10, initially resisted following the instructions to go to Cornelius’ home. Simon Peter struggled with the transformation of his old man to the new man – Peter. We are no different, there is a raging battle between our old man and new.

Peter, the new man, who was not wrought with doubt and fear, ultimately obeyed and went to Cornelius’ home. If Peter had not gone to his home, we might not have witnessed Cornelius receiving the Holy Spirit, Acts 10. Only God knows why he is directing our path. Seemingly at this point, the new man, Peter, should be steadfast. However, that is not the case.

When Peter, the new man, went to Antioch to fellowship with the Gentiles, all was good until the Jews appeared. However, when the legalistic Jews, of which he was as Simon Peter, arrived, he sought to appease them and separated himself from the believing Gentiles, Galatians 2:11-14. Paul admonished him for being a hypocrite. None of us can merge our old man and the new man. We are either one or the other. The battle will continue through this life, but when the old man surfaces, we must repent and pick up our cross in the new man.

Jesus forgives our unfaithfulness. He sees us as He intends us to be, not who we may currently be or were in our pre-redemptive life. Jesus knows our birth/carnal name and receives us as his own, the new man. In today’s times, He may not actually rename us, but he does give us a new life.

Jesus was patient with Peter through his disobedience, arrogance, fear, and denial. Peter was a fisherman and became a fisher of men, who matured into one of the Lord’s most dedicated apostles. He is known as one of the most well-known disciples and was instrumental in establishing the church in Samaria, Act 8. He brought the gospel to the Gentiles, Acts 10-11. He preached the sermon at Pentecost, where three thousand believers received the Holy Spirit, Acts 3.

The point is, God is patient and will wait until he can change you. If He does not give up on us, neither should we give up on ourselves. He created us to do His work. To paraphrase the scripture, God has plans for us that will prosper us and not destroy us. God, is patient and monitors us as we evolve into the person He envisioned. God knows our challenges, our setbacks, and our victories.

As we mature in the Word and obey God, our story will unfold just as Peters did. Was Peter perfect? No, absolutely not. Were there moments when the natural man won out? Yes. We were born into sin, we all fall short of the glory of God. None of us is perfect; only Jesus is perfect. God could have created us as automatons. He chose to create us in His likeness and instilled us with his own will and desires. Why, because God wants a relationship with us. He sacrificed His only Son to save us from sin. He knows we are a work in progress, He created us to desire His will and not our own, and that is all God requires that we surrender, depend on Him and be obedient to the Word. He wants us to evolve from our natural man to our new man.

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The Bible is replete with sinners who received salvation after leading destructive lives. I also find it interesting that these examples clearly exemplify God’s expectations for all believers. No excuses, God laid the foundation demonstrated in Peter’s character study. Now it is time to become who we really are; we are His workmanship, ever-changing in His likeness. This leads back to – only God knows the real you and through prayer and obedience we will learn who we are in Christ.

Images – Google Images. LAB Photos

Resources – Who is Peter in the Bible? GotQuestions.org; Bible.com; Peter: A Case Study in Character, KenBoa.org; Peter, studyandobey.com

Free Yourself From The Shackles

Jesus humbled himself to the point of death to give us life. We should be able and willing to humble ourselves and, honestly, repent for our sins (stating what they are or were) and start anew (fresh). It is never too late, God forgives us when we repent, allowing us to move-on shackle free. Christ gave us the opportunity to rise above who we (presently) are. It is time to change our home location,  we are in this world, but not of this world. 

Go to a quiet place and speak to God, ask Him to forgive you. You choose the place. It could be in the midst of a train station, bar, standing on the corner in busy traffic. Just still yourself and pray. He will receive you wherever you are at the moment.

We belong to Christ. New Beginnings.

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God’s Will – God’s Promises, Part 1

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him, the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV

To understand God’s Will for our lives, we must know and accept His promises. This month our focus is on God’s promises and how they apply to our daily living.

Last month the focus was obedience, dependence, and love. You will begin to see that they are the building blocks for applying God’s promises. He uses His promises to help move us from our current circumstances to a new place.  It is important that we must respect His Word to understand the validity of following His Word. If we are going to choose to follow His Word, we must know what it means. Otherwise, we will fall prey to the evil one’s mastery of deception.

Satan works overtime to destroy the faith of Christians. Paul says, “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor 2:11). Satan’s main weapon is deceit. He is described as the “serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Rev 12:9).

It is easy to deceive a person when they have no basis to understand the intent of the deception. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary’s definition of deceiving is to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose upon; to mislead; to cheat; to disappoint; to delude; to ensnare. These are Satan’s tactics. His goal is to convince you that your free-will is exclusive to your desires to live life as Satan offers it, not as God designed it for your use. His purpose is to steal God’s promises for your life and send you to hell.

The requisite to understanding our free-will is knowing and believing God’s Promises to be the truth. Smith Wigglesworth once preached ” God wants to bring all of us into line with His Will. The Bible builds up our character in God, and through this process, we are changed by the Spirit from glory to glory and faith for faith, which comes by hearing by the Word of God”. (Romans 10:17) “The Word of God comes in to separate us from everything that is not of God.”The Holy Spirit molds us in God’s Will.”” [Smith Wigglesworth, by Faith, April 21, 1945, pp. 800, 801]

We must follow God and His Word in obedience, and He will shine a light on the path ahead (John 14:21). 

God gave us free-will because He wants us to think. Without free-will He would have to demand what he wants us to do; that does not inspire a relationship. He would prefer that we weigh our options and choose His Will for our lives. God is not a dictator. In governance terms, while Christians live in a theocracy, it appears much like a democracy, in that rules and laws are in place, but it is up to us to follow them. It is our choice and the consequences are in line with the action taken.

God’s Promises, God’s Will, Fruit of the Spirit, Free-will,
The freedom to choose

God’s promises are generally categorized according to the Fruit of the Spirit. This was an Ah-hah moment for me. I read, studied and wrote on the Fruit of the Spirit. I read and studied free-will and God’s Will, and when I began to read and study about God’s promises, it all began to come together.

Websites – Other posts on faith, hope, obedience and dependence, and more on lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com
youngchristianwarriors.com
biblestudytools.com

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

Images – Google Images. Bible.com. LAB’s photo collection

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

Dying To Self

The Bible is our manifest for life. It is our operations manual, others call it our guidebook. Its precepts are designed to teach us how to govern ourselves, as we mature as Christians, and travel down the path to our destiny.

The Old Testament precepts provide our travel instructions and through them we are encouraged to stay the course regardless of how live appears on earth, looking to our destiny, heaven as the purpose of our time on earth. The precepts offer hope in what can be defined as the godless world we live in today.

According to John Gill, learning encompasses: instruction “in the knowledge of Christ, of his person, offices, grace, righteousness, obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension; and of the great salvation and redemption he came to obtain, and has obtained; and to teach us the doctrines of grace, of pardon through the blood of Christ, atonement by his sacrifice, justification by his righteousness, acceptance in his person, and eternal life through him; as also to inform us of our duty, and how we ought to behave both towards God and men.” (Romans 15:4, BibleStudytools.com/commentaries/Gill-exposition. March 23, 2018)

What Does that Mean for Us?

The theme of the month is dependence upon God and our obedience to Him. This scripture is yet another dimension of how we are to follow his instruction and rely on His Word to govern our lives. It informs us as to our duty as Christian Warriors in not only applying the precepts to our lives, but to demonstrate them through obedience to the Word. It describes the Trinity and how we can access the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The application of the precepts ensures that we are living a Christ-like life.

Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior

When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we received our Salvation and insurance that we are part of God’s family. We have been pardoned through the Blood of Christ. We are justified in his likeness and he dwells in our being.  As a member of his family, we received the promise of eternal life.

Instruction Requires Obedience to and a Dependence upon God

In an earlier post I discussed Obedience and Dependency. Both require our allegiance to our faith. By this I mean, it is impossible to live a Christ-like life without being obedient. Obedience is ascribed to the practice of our faith and is one of the initial acts of obedience and is essential to our character. (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, pp 438) This again takes us back to the Fruit of the Spirit defined as the characteristics of Christ. Living by these characteristics is a life long process because we fall daily and are in constant battle with our own demons given birth by Satan, and represent the opposite of Christ’s fruit.

Knowing we are susceptible to failure, we rest on the fact that as long as we are dependent upon our Father and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, our ability to overcome our flesh rests in the constant reminder of being obedient. Whenever we feel the nudge or hear the quiet, soft voice warn us of doing wrong, doing things expressed in our fleshly desires (acts of omission), or are not doing things we know we should (acts of commission). Paul said it thusly,

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:15 NKJV

“So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Dying to Self

Our struggle is harnessing our fleshly desires to live like Christ. One author defines it as ‘carrying the cross’. It’s literally, dying to self. Dying to self is the true essence of the Christian life. It is part of being born again.

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:3-7 NKJV

We also die continually. To die to self is part of the process of sanctification. Dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process. Dying to self is denying our flesh and living a spiritual symbolic life while living here on earth, and in so doing, as mentioned above, find eternal life in Christ. Dying to self is the reality of the new birth; no one can come to Christ unless they are willing to see the old life crucified with Christ and begin to live anew in obedience to Him. (Got Questions. What does the Bible mean by ‘dying to self’? gotquestions.org. March 23, 2018)

Humility, the Ultimate Dying to Self

Giving up your old self, dying to self, is living in a state of humility. Jesus died to self on the cross, surrendering himself in exchange for our sins. Though our rebirth we are freed from our fallen nature, our sin nature. Jesus accomplished this when he came down from heaven to dwell with us. Through the crucifixion he won life through death. “Humility and death are in their very nature one: humility is the bud; in death the fruit is ripened to perfection.” Humility leads to perfect death. Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death to set us free.

“The death to self is not our work, it is God’s work…the full manifestation of the power of this death is in our disposition and conduct and depends upon the measure in which the Holy Spirit imparts the power of the death of Christ. We must humble ourselves and surrender to God.” (Humility and Death of Self. biblestudytools.com. March 23, 2018)

Our primary responsibility in life is to die to self through meekness and humility. To accomplish this we should draw our strength from the Lord. We must (fully and completely) trust in God. I discussed sacrificing ourselves for others in an earlier post. We are to become dependent upon the Lord through prayer and study. We generally find that God’s grace abounds when we have come to our own end.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [a]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the [b]saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [c]forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21, NASB

Websites – Other posts on faith, hope, obedience and dependence, and more on lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com
youngchristianwarriors.com
biblestudytools.com
gotquestions.org

Other Resources
Vine, W.E. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary. 1996
Nouwen, Henri. Can You Drink the Cup. 1996

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

Images – Google Images. Bible.com. LAB’s photo collection

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.