Sweater: Express
Jeans: Rue21
Shoes: Target (on sale for like 9 bucks)
Sunglasses: Express (on sale for like 7 bucks)

Lips: Ruby Woo by MAC (The BEST red lip of all time!)
Sunglasses: Express (got 'em on sale for about 7 bucks)
Rings & Bracelets: Forever21, Charlotte Russe
Necklace: Forever21
Scarf Print Clutch: Asos (on sale for $10.52. Sooo in love with this thing!)

First, let me start off by saying that my TRUTH posts really bless me. I think I may write them just as much for myself as I do for you all. Writing these posts force me to think on scriptures that have been quoted and lessons that have been taught. This study then increases my knowledge and my faith and altogether, enriches my life.

Now. Let's begin.

The past few services, First Lady Jackson has been teaching a hard hitting, self examining message entitled, "Self Crucifixion". Oooh, yes, we are so lovely and so wonderful and just the best thing since or even before sliced bread. But the truth of the matter is, in order to live a life pleasing to God, we are commanded to crucify ourselves.

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.- Galatians 5:24 (KJV)
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.- Galatians 5:24 (NLT) 

It's not a physical crucifixion that we must go through, but a spiritual one, in which there is a death or separation from our will and our ways and a conforming to the ways of Christ. This is not an option. It is not to be debated. It is a direct instruction.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].- Matthew 16: 24-25 (Amplified)

Everything in life is a choice. God is not a tyrant; God is not a dictator. God will not force us to do anything we do not want to do. We have free will. Read it here. We get to decide how we live our lives. BUT, it is stated clearly if we want to be called a disciple of Jesus and we want to belong to Christ Jesus, this is how it's done. We get to decide which way we want to go.

We can't have it our way and still say we are Christians or Christ-like. If we do things our way, we are serving ourselves and thus calling ourselves God. Harsh but true. And I think I speak for all of us when I say, that's not the way we want it. We truly do want to be called children of God. We truly do want to live this life that is being outlined for us, but there is this one huge culprit that always seems to get in the way. And he/she goes by the name of "Self". Wonderful, wonderful Self.

He who loves [and takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me;
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.
Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life]. - Matthew 10:37-39 (Amplified) 

Now we've all decided we do want to allow God to be God in our lives. We've all decided we want to serve God instead of serving ourselves. We've decided that we want to be one of God's disciples. Since we know what we want, we need to know what is hindering us in this progression. What causes God not to recognize us as one of his own? What would cause God to say we're not his disciples? What would cause God to say that we're not his children? The answer is as old as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The answer is sin. A definition of 'sinfulness' that was given during one of the lessons was, 

"the supreme love of self; putting one's own self will above that of God's; egoism; selfism; idolatry"

Not exactly sure where this definition came from, but it is very much fitting. It all comes back to.. Self. And if it all comes back to self, where is God in it?

4 Principles or Characteristics of Sin:
  1. Self sufficiency- depending on self  to provide instead of having faith in God
  2. Self seeking- looking for things that will honor self instead of honoring God
  3. Self will- determined to do or have what one wants instead of submission to God
  4. Self righteousness- allowing self to set the standard or raise the bar instead of repentance and humility before God

When broken down that way, it's much easier to see how self can be the number one interference in living a life of complete submission to God. I know for myself, numbers one and four have been huge stumbling blocks in my life. Two and three as well, but being self sufficient and self righteous have been very detrimental to my growth. I used to think I could write a check, or say the right thing, or know the right person to "deliver me"- self sufficient. I used to think that if a person did x, y, or z they were complete and total sinners and were not to be forgiven or given a second chance but if I did something wrong, my all loving God would surely be understanding and forgive me- self righteous. Now that I know better, I find it almost comical that I even thought that way. But, "when I was a child.. I thought as a child". Growth and maturity in God has caused me to be able to identify these things in myself and ask God to help me to work on them. It has caused me to become more humble and forgiving. It has caused me to put my faith in God more than myself. And I am just so thankful for how far God has brought me and how much further he is going to take me.

There's a lot more that was taught during this lesson, but I'll just leave you all with this for now and finish it up later. Let's digest this part first, then we can move on. I don't know about you guys, but I still have a long way to go in this thing, and I am very much determined to get there.


Let me know what you think! But please be nice. Being negative is just no fun. K?