DEAD, BUT ALIVE

DEAD, BUT ALIVE

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory (Col. 3: 1-4).

The ‘elemental spirits’ of which Paul spoke still hold sway over the minds of unbelievers, ‘But,’ said Paul, ‘you have died to the ideas and beliefs and philosophies which are lies spawned by the devil to keep you in bondage.’ You have died to the demonic spirits responsible for the lies you believed, and they no longer have the power to influence your life and do to you what you believed they could do.

How sad that there are still many believers in Jesus who also believe in the power of the devil to ‘attack’ or harm them outside of God’s control! We have to make up our minds, once and for all, about who is in charge. What we believe is of vital importance because it is what or who we believe that ultimately has the control of our lives.

Jesus’s first words, after His inauguration into His public ministry at His baptism, when He was anointed with the Holy Spirit, was to announce, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of God is here!’ What was He saying? ‘Get your thinking straight. God is in charge!’ Prophet Isaiah had the same message for his people when the world seemed to be turning upside down for them:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ (Isaiah 52: 7)

What better news can there be in a world that seems to be spinning out of control? The solution is to believe what is true, not what seems to be true or what those who think they are in charge are claiming to be true. The only thing that will steady us in a world gone crazy, is the knowledge and assurance that God’s appointed king is on His throne.

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and their rulers band together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath saying, ‘I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain’ (Psalm 2: 1-6).

Paul’s counsel is: ‘You know it; now believe it!’ When you watch the news on TV or read the goings on in the newspaper, screen the information through the truth – who is in charge? Set your heart and mind on the non-negotiable truth that God has raised Jesus from the dead and given Him the name and the position of supreme authority (Phil. 2: 6-11). In spite of appearances, Jesus Christ will reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet (1 Cor. 15: 25).

Why, then, does the world, and often our own lives, seem to be so out of line with who we know God to be? Where is the peace and joy that Jesus insisted He came to bring? What about suffering and evil? Why do bad things happen to good people? How does that line up with God being in control?

It all depends on our expectations. If we think that the real life Jesus came to bring is about living a trouble-free existence in this life, we have misunderstood His message.

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16: 33).

We cannot expect to live a perfectly untroubled life in an imperfect world. We are surrounded by imperfection and cannot escape the consequences of Adam’s rebellion. The good news is that God uses it all, good and bad, to shape us for the real world which is still to come.

God has one overriding purpose in permitting us to be part of the suffering – the purifying of our faith, that is, bringing us to the conviction that, in spite of everything, He is in charge and He is trustworthy.  Why? Because what we believe will determine who controls our lives.

In every adversity, He demands that we keep our hearts and minds steadfastly committed to the truth that He is good and that He is in charge.

These have come (all kinds of trials -1 Peter 1: 6) so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1: 7).

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Luella Campbell


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