Never have I ever . . .

Those who have played the game “never have I ever” will know the purpose is to think of things others in the group will have done, which you have not. For example, “Never have I ever (drag raced, gotten a tattoo, received a “D” grade, . . .)”. You start with all fingers (and thumbs) up as counters and one is dropped each time you’ve done one of the mentioned actions.

Why am I sharing about this game? Let’s just say that in Christian circles it must be somewhat –censored – and can become a bit dull if there are no creative thinkers in the group. It is a “get to know you” game and often the ones who lose all their counters first are those who have experienced life “in the world” before they became Christians. Commonly, these are also the people thought to have lived the most interesting life.

Many believers who have grown up as Christians look at their testimony as being rather boring, too. God did not pull them out of drugs, alcoholism, wild partying, hurtful pranks . . . They never experienced the world apart from with Christ. Yet I ask: HOW can we make this sound like a bad thing? It is a beautiful, glorious blessing!

And to think life in Christ is boring shows that one has not received a true revelation of the Lord, or what He did for us!

I propose the game be changed to things we have experienced. We could share of: the transformation He has accomplished in us; prayers we have seen answered; healings and miracles; times He has overwhelmed us with His compassion; visions He has given; dreams, prophecies, or times of intercession lasting through the night; spontaneous worship sessions; baptisms; His miraculous provision in dire circumstances; what following Him has cost us – and what we have received; reconciliation that He initiated; freedom; the revealing and living out of our passions; the knowledge we have purpose and were created in the image of God . . . Do I need to go on?

Paul says it well:

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:20-21).

Why do many within the church still speak lovingly of how they lived before Christ? If such a way of living gave you life, then go back to it. If you can not see that you were dead in those ways, then why come to Christ?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25).

In Christ we receive LIFE and LIFE TO THE FULL!

Let us no longer live as slaves. Let us no longer look upon the slaves as somehow better off. Let them have their momentary, and unfulfilling, pleasures. Let us who know Christ live in the joy of our salvation.

I know that my life certainly has not been boring since turning fully to God! He had freed me to walk in my passions; to pursue my dreams; to seek the extraordinary in life.

If you can not see life now as better than it was without Him, then pray that God will give you a greater revelation. Ask Him to take you on a grand adventure. Stop looking back and start looking forward. Forget the “never will I evers” and seek the glories of God.

 

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Dying to the Self

This week, being the introductory week, consisted of many small teachings as well as laying a foundation for the students of what is YWAM and what is the DTS. One of the teachings, lead by Francois, was on ‘Dying to Self’. This teaching seemed to be one that all the students found challenging and significant so I thought I would share the main points with you.

D.T.S – Die to Self

The world tells us: “we have rights”. We even hear disobedient children declaring to their parents in supermarkets “I have rights you know!” as a means to get what they want.

But what does Scripture tell us to do as Christians? Die To Self
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

We are called to be servants of Christ.
• James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ
• 2 Peter 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
• Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
• Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
• Some translations read “A BOND SERVANT”. A bond servant was a VOLUNTARY slave.
o In the Old Testament an Israelite who became a slave to a fellow Israelite due to debt was only legally allowed to remain a slave for 6 years. In the 7th year his master had to set him free.
o However, sometimes these slaves found themselves better off as slaves than they were as freemen. Their family was provided for, they were treated well and there was security.
 SO, at the end of the 6 years, a slave could chose to remain with their master as a bond servant.
 Once a bond servant, he remained a SLAVE FOR LIFE.
o But to remain a slave there were some things that he had to give up. What does he have to give up as a slave? Their vision, pride, freedom, money, … his RIGHTS.
• Romans 6:18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

The lie of freedom?
• “To be free you can’t have boundaries; you have to be completely free.”
• But when the indebted slave was “free”, he was still a slave to debt.
• We are never really free; we were slaves to sin, money, the world…
• Illustration: In a jungle gym/cubby house without railings, the children stay in the middle because they do not feel safe near the edges. Put up two planks for railings, or “boundaries”, and suddenly the children will use the entire space. The boundaries brought the freedom to play in the available space.
• Road rules enforce a set way of driving but it keeps people safe. Freedom in the laws.

What fruit is there in slavery to sin vs slavery to righteousness?
• Romans 6:17-23
• Romans 8:9-10, 13

Question: “But doesn’t this make me a push-over?”
• No!
• We are called to lay down our rights to the call of Christ and to the life that Christ calls us to.
• We are to live according to God’s ways but it does not mean that we allow people to bully us. It also doesn’t mean we have to allow people to manipulate us, saying, “But you have to give up your rights, so give me your money, lay down that right,”
• We have to walk in sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit and listen to what He asks of us. We also must seek to live the way we are called to in Scripture, and to do this we must know what Scripture calls us to.

What rights may we be called to give up?
• Future plans
• Money
• Beliefs
• Marriage/ singleness/ family
• Home/ country/ culture/ language
• The right to be right
• World view
• Right to speak/ remain silent
• Right to pray – Jeremiah 14:11 The LORD said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people…”
• Rest
• Give up reputation in the eyes of others
• Clothing (e.g. in Uganda wearing long skirts rather than pants)
• Lives

Philippians 2:5-16 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labour in vain.

Live as slaves to righteousness. Stop fighting for your rights.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.