Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 9, Part III: Jesus' Public Ministry Begins

Interesting note: Jesus had not even begun His ministry, and yet God was pleased. He had not taught or healed or done anything significant to this point except mature physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually (Luke 2:52). God was pleased with who He was, just as He is pleased with who we are when we are rightly related to Him. Jesus will face forty days alone without food or drink and will engage in hand-to-hand spiritual combat with Satan. It will be critical that Jesus is certain of His identity in order for Him to deal with the temptations He is about to face.

Sidebar on p. 37: Can't say it enough: How you see yourself will determine your behavior.

Reiterated again:
How can we deal with temptation effectively unless we know who we are? Let's say that I have bought into the idea that I have transferred ownership of my life to Jesus and I am a new creation. Am I still a dirty rotten sinner? I am constantly told that I am a sinner and so I think of myself in that manner. All of a sudden I stand face-to-face with a very attractive and enticing temptation. I am alone. No one will know. Yet, it's wrong and I know it. I wrestle with the thought. It pulls and tugs at me. Well, who am I anyway? I'm just a rotten sinner, I say to myself. Why not just go ahead and give in....just this once, I reason. After all, that's who I am.


Keep reading: If I consider myself a liar, a thief, or a cheat, what would be the natural way to play out those perceptions of myself? To lie, steal, and cheat. But, what if I believed God about my person rather than defining myself by the occasional stupid and harmful sins I commit? What if I looked at that temptation, and as appealing to my flesh as it is, I said,"As good as that looks and as vulnerable as I feel right now, that is not who I am! It is not worthy of me. It doesn't fit! I am the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), I am God's possession (2 Tim. 2:19), I am dead to sin (Rom. 6:2-10; Eph. 1:7). The Enemy cannot defeat me as I realize he has already been defeated (Rev. 9:9-12). Convinced of that, why wouldn't I spin on my heel and walk away?

OH, man! This is exactly how many of us get caught up in sin! We think we're rotten anyway, we give in since we think we're beyond redemption! But we are NOT!

The book gives the following suggestion:
Look at the contrast in these two perspectives. Can you see the problem? This may be a little different than you have been taught about yourself, but it may well be the reason so many of us live in defeat and with tremendous guilt. Record your honest impressions as you consider this and review day 9.

I did one better: I recorded my thoughts on this as a devotion for WorldPrayr! I will try to link it up here when it is published! :)