4.23.2013 "Are you being true to your identity in Christ?"

Romans 8:1,5-8 8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Unusual weather we’re having isn’t it?  Summer one day, winter the next.  A friend of mine who gardens explained how he and his son rushed to cover some plants and veggies they had planted to protect it from the unexpected cold temperatures and light frost.   Had they not done so those plants and veggies would have been lost, condemned to the unexpected hard freeze.  This conversation is what came to my mind when I read the first lines of the Scripture passage for today.   Like those plants and veggies we are covered, shielded by the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, no longer condemned to the coldness of sin and death.   That is very good news.   But, after giving us this good news, Paul warns that there will indeed be more unexpected freezes and cold nights.   He challenges us to believe that, like my friend, our GOD will always arrive in time to cover us over and over again.  This is not easy because we often do not think and live like we are covered or that we have a GOD that will always protect us in the face of the unexpected cold and frozen nights ahead.

Reading the entire passage for the day I am reminded of a time years ago when, as an unmarried couple my future wife and I decided to live together.   This was not a very popular thing to do at the time and obviously not very popular with our parents.   It turned out to be some of the most miserable months of my life.   Nothing seemed to go right, work, school, even the relationship suffered though we loved each other deeply.  I would later attribute these issues to the absence of a real commitment.  Even though the love was there, it just wasn't enough.   But this Scripture passage and the Pastor’s recent sermon messages reveal the faultiness of our thinking.   We tried to live as something (married) that we were not.   Without claiming the identity of marriage we could not act the part, no matter how hard we tried.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires;

You would think that marriage then would solve all those problems.  Guess again.   One of the worst disagreements my wife and I ever had was when shortly after we were married several of my single friends stopped by for a visit and a party broke out.   Oops!  Just that quick I forgot my new identify (husband) and tried to act like something I was not, single.

So was GOD there for us?   Not to worry.   Through his mercy and grace GOD covered my wife and I through all our messes and not just through a few cold nights…how about more than 30 years’ worth!

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,…

How about you?  Are you being true to your identity?  The songwriter said, “I know that my REDEEMER lives!”   Do you?  If so, will you act like it today?

Jim L.