There's an ongoing joke at church about which celebrity I'm channeling through my dress.
This particular day, it was Whitley Gilbert. I can't say that I disagree.

Silk button up: Express (on sale for $10)
Lace Jacquard Ankle Pants: JC Penny (on sale for $10)
Faux Leather Trimmed Jacket: Forever21(on sale for $5.99 at their "Sale + Extra 50% off" sale)
Patent and Faux Leather Pump: Forever21(on sale for $6.99 from their "Sale + Extra 50% off" sale)



Faceted Bead and Fireball Stretch Bracelet: Express (on sale for $5.59 at the "End of Season" sale)
Watch: NY&Co (buy >>here<<)
Rings: Forever21, Charlotte Russe
Sunglasses: Betsey Johnson (on sale for $25 from Hautelook.com)
Crocodile Embossed Turn-Lock Clutch: Express (on sale for $13.99 at their "End of Season" sale)
Necklace: Body Central
Earrings: Forever21



First Lady Jackson is continuing her series on "Self Crucifixion". This was actually included in Part 1 of her lesson, but I had to break it up. It's a lot to take in. It's all about discipline. Self discipline. And that is never easy.

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)

By crucifying our passions and our desires of our sinful nature, we're allowing God's passions and God's desires to now direct the course of our lives. We begin to sound more like God, look more like God, live more like God. God's characteristics- his loyalty to us, his forgiveness for us begins to be reflected in our loyalty and forgiveness for others. We would begin to serve God with our hearts and not just with our "feel like". It becomes real and genuine and just a part of who we are. Not a part of what we pretend to be.
 All of that sounds great, right? Of course you'd agree. But it cannot coexist in the presence of "selfism" or the supreme love of self. We must put "self" and it's passions and desires into subjection. How is this done? Well, one way is by the way we think. Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.." We must change the way we think.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;- 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Sooo... it's an action thing. Once again, it's something we must do. A life of Christianity is an active one. As I've said before, God is not a slave master. He's not a tyrant. He does not use force to make us do anything. He tells us what to do and then we must have the faith to actually do it. When he says w must take every thought captive, that's just what he means. We must do it. And he gives us instructions on just how.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.- Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

That's how we bring every thought captive. We are to take all of the negative thoughts, all of the thoughts contrary to what God has spoken as true and replace them with thoughts that are pure and thoughts that are lovely. This is an active thing. And I agree, it's not always easy. Sometimes our human nature wants to think badly about a person. Sometimes our human nature wants to think that "things will never change".  Sometimes our human passions and desires want to try and finds ways to cause another person to hurt or feel just as badly as they've made us. But that's allowing our "self" to take us captive. The exact opposite of what we have been told to do. Discipline. Discipline to "crucify" or "kill" our flesh or "self". Once we crucify our flesh, it will be much easier to take these thoughts captive. But until then, it will always be a battle. Angel and devil on your shoulder, no?



First Lady posed a question to the congregation. She asked, "What is the quickest way to kill a thing?" We all kind of thought about it for a second, not really sure what she was getting at. Her answer was, "To not feed it." Aaaaah! 'Tis true. The quickest way to crucify our self is to not feed it. Starve our flesh to the point that it gets weak and helpless. The less of "self" we have, the more of God we can be filled with. Those "wonderful, wonderful self" thoughts and "wonderful, wonderful self" actions we're so used to giving in to, don't! Don't entertain those thoughts. Don't entertain that mindset. Starve it and watch it die.
And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. -Colossians 3:5-10 (The Message) 

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong, it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life- that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. -Romans 7:18-23 (NLT)
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.- Romans 6:6 (KJV)
 



"Crucifixion is a criminal's death. It is a painful death. The more resistance to crucifixion, the more suffering the person being crucified endures. If there is no pain in a man's soul, there is no self death. If there is no self death, there is no spiritual growth."


That whole last paragraph was paraphrased from some things First Lady Jackson was saying. Crucifixion is a painful death. To take something that is so a part of you and who you are and what you're used to doing and to force it to not exist, it hurts. It's not something one would do willingly. To just accept an apology or forgive someone who has wronged you instead of cursing them out like you normally would causes you to feel a little weak. To let go of a past offense instead of holding a grudge, makes you feel a little powerless. Weak and powerless aren't feelings we actually want to feel. To become weak and powerless causes pain to a man's soul. We want to be the strong one. We want to be the one with all the power and control in a situation. But God is telling us to crucify that part of ourselves so we can have spiritual growth. The less of us, the more of him.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. -2 Corinthians 12:10 

 

In all this weakness and powerlessness that we're experiencing, we gotta trade it in for something, right? God can't  just take all of my "me" away from me and leave me empty. Can he? Will he?
If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.- Matthew 10:37-39 (NLT)



It's all about putting your ultimate faith in God. Trusting that God knows your beginning, your end, and everything in between. Give up yourself and take comfort in knowing that "if you give up your life for God, you will find it". Give ultimate control to the one who made you. Give ultimate control to the one who knows every little detail about you. Rest in the fact that you don't have to do it all yourself. Take refuge and peace in the truth that God has always got you.




0 comments:

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