Elevated Eyes

Look above: Fix your eyes on Jesus and see life from a different perspective

Tag: #belief

Change your Thinking: Standing to Sitting

Final part in the the change your thinking series is here. We’ve looked at victory in the Christian life is so much more about changing the way that we think than changing our actions. Out of the heart the mouth speaks and it’s so often the thought life that dictates the type of fruit that grows in our life. If you want to read my two previous posts you can do so here (Part 1 – http://elevatedeyes.org/change-thinking-death-to-life/) (Part 2 – http://elevatedeyes.org/change-thinking-sin-saviour/)

 

In this final post in this series I wanted to look at the idea that we need to learn to sit with our saviour  Jesus.

 ‘And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.’

Hebrews 10:10

You’ve been forgiven once and for all.

 ‘And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,’ Hebrews 10:11-12

Christ is our great high priest.  He made one sacrifice, for sins, forever. He bled out on that cross, once and for all. The saviour of this earth breathed his last and then rose from the grave.

To destroy death and what is His position?

He is no longer standing He is Seated because the job is done.

Our high priest sat down.

The other priests we’re told here are standing up daily making sacrifice but He is seated.

He is seated.

He is seated before His enemies.

He’s not shocked,

He’s not worried,

He says it’s done.

Meanwhile as Christians on earth, worrying and freaking out because we’ve sinned, or because things are going wrong.

Jesus saying it’s fine I am still seated. I am still in control. It is still finished. I’ve still won and you’re still mine.
The next time Jesus stands is to wrap this whole thing up. He is still seated.

 

Ephesians 2:5-7 Jesus made us to sit.

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.’ Ephesians 2:5=7 

We often don’t want to sit.

Jesus is saying be seated.

We want to run around I will sort it out, I will fix things, I will deal with things.

Jesus is saying I’ve already taken care of it, sit down.

I want you to see that our position, needs to change from standing to sitting.

In the Hebrews 10 passage that we have been looking at it says ‘The blood of bulls and goats can never take away sin,’ this is a creative way of saying your striving, your works can never take away sin.

Only your all conquering victorious seated Jesus can do that.

You are not controlled by your sin, you are not defined by your sin, you do not have to spend the rest of your days focussing on your wickedness, on your faults on your failures.

You have been set free, you can now live preoccupied by your champion Jesus.

Our champion Jesus has done what you could not do for yourself. He has cut the power of sin off. He has crushed him, he is gone It has been buried, your sin has been removed from you as far as the east is from the west.

This will change the way you live.

It is time for you to celebrate again, it is time for you to stand up again, speak up again, dream again and walk in victory, and be all that God made you to be.

Lets start living this way, lets start living in the light of our seated saviour.

Know that what was dead has been brought to life and because we have been raised with Christ our sinful nature did not.

Know that the theme of our lives is not Sin, but it is falling in love with our saviour

Stay conscious of our seated victorious saviour and know that He is still seated through it all. And stop being paralysed by our sin and celebrate His victory sit with Him, rest in Him and be all that He has called you to be!

Change your thinking: Death to Life

Change is hard, we all struggle with it. Maybe it’s those new year resolutions that by this point in the year you have given up on. It’s hard to change but I believe that the call of the Christian life is a call to move from one degree of glory to another.

The biggest call over the Christian life is not so much a change of behaviour as it is a change of belief.
So often our behaviour flows from our belief. It flows from what we believe about ourselves, about our world and about others.

In Christ we have  new identity, we’re born again. The old has gone and the new is here and it’s here to stay.

The learning process is not about getting rid of the old but it’s in changing our thoughts from our old mindset to our new mindset.

In 3 posts I want to set out 3 ideas that need to shift from old to new.

Death to Life

Sin to Saviour

Standing to sitting

 

Let’s look at that first one, Death to Life

1 Corinthians 16-28 says

16-20 If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.

21-28 There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ.

In life there’s often the idea of digging up old stuff as if it is important. I’m sorry if you’re a fan of that kind of tv show,  you know the kind, where they search through old antiques trying to find hidden treasure.  The truth is that a lot of the time the stuff is just junk with little value.

In life we often try to dig up these old things as if they are still important to us. The truth is they so often aren’t. They aren’t important they don’t have control and they aren’t that relevant to our lives now.

How many of  us believe that Jesus, actually, physically rose from the dead. If we’re christian it would be most of us, I know I do.

1 Corinthians 15:17

‘And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sin!’

Your sins whether they are alive or dead, hinges on this verse. If He rose then your sins didn’t and if He stayed in the grave then your sins rose.

Maybe it makes more sense to look at it this way ‘though we still sin, you are not in your sin’. Which is to say our sins that bind us do not define us, our sins do not stick to you, our sins no longer make us who we are. Because we’re a new creation.

What does it say in 2 Corinthians 5:17

‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold, the new has come’

You are no longer a sinner, but you are a son or daughter of the king. You are righteous, you are a saint. You can say I am His. Though I sin it cannot change what my risen Jesus has finished.

Because He moved from death to life, and clothed you with new white robes. You’ve been moved from death to life in His power. You have resurrection power in Jesus.

The old has passed away the new has come, we need to change the way that we think sometimes we need to see that Jesus has taken us from death to life with Him.

Let’s jump back to that 1 Corinthians passage just one more time

1 Corinthians 15:17 ‘And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sin!’

If Christ did not rise, you did not rise and you are still in your sin but He did rise He conquered.

Yet we as Christians so often think that sin has resurrection power. We need line our thinking up with what God has finished in our lives.

When Jesus says the words ‘it is finished’ the actual Greek word is tetelestai, it means to endto bring to completionto bring to a conclusionto completeto accomplishto fulfill; or to finish.

In Him you’ve been brought to life and your sins have not.

Have faith that you can walk free from the power and control of sin and live life in the resurrection power of Christ that is in you! You died in first Adam and you have life in Christ, live like it.

What areas of your thinking needs to move from death to life? Maybe it is how you view your finances, your relationships, your spiritual life. Remember today that God comes to speak life not death into every area.

Live life with a green light

One of the main questions I’ll get asked by teenagers, students and adults in my church is how do I know I’m in the will of God? How do I know that the decisions I make and the things I do are in the will of God for my life.

Who should I marry?

Should I take that job?

Should I move city are questions we all think about.

If we see our lives as a set course and the will of God like a program that we walk along then it is very hard not to be troubled by these questions.

The will of God is not one little road for your life, it is a way of living and it is a state of being.  If Jesus is our good shepherd that gives His life for the sheep. If through His love He welcomes us into the pasture and provides us with fullness of life. Do we have freedom in the pasture? Does the Shepherd bring a blade of grass to us, and then when we have eaten that, He brings another one and then another. Does He direct what we are allowed to do.

Paul says in the letter to the Corinthians that where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

How is this way of living in the pastures of our Shepherd freedom?

This is often the lens that we interpret and see the world through.

When God is ready He will speak, guide and direct us to that ‘next thing’. And yes of course He speaks, guides and directs but He also gives us the responsibility to live our lives with wisdom in the power of the Holy Spirit.

There’s so much more freedom than we realise.

I believe that as we enter the kingdom, through the good shepherd we’re given freedom in the pasture. We’re given the green light, to eat, enjoy life, live and learn to love well.

So if there is so much freedom and it isn’t about a pathway through life. What is the will of God?

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The will of God in Christ Jesus is to

rejoice always

pray continually

and give thanks in all circumstances.

This is the same that any good husband would want for his wife. We are the bride of Christ. Does our good husband Jesus want to control us with one clear, set pathway. We say to our loved ones  I want you to be happy, communicate and that you are content. Jesus is saying to us, be happy, communicate with me and be content. That is His will for us it is a state of being.

‘For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.’ Philippians 2:13

God is in you and is working out his will in you (A state of being) for his good measure.

‘I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ Romans 12:1

What is God’s will for you? To have your mind renewed and transformed from the way of the world.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.’  James 1:5

We are in God’s will and now.  It is a state of being in Christ Jesus. We are in the flock the pasture and now you need to ask for wisdom. The will is a state of mind, when you are in the will you need to ask for the wisdom of God.

The apostles lived with a green light. They didn’t spend their lives waiting for the green light as to whether to serve, help, preach or pray. They went, they lived and the loved. They spent their lives living in the green light of the Spirit of God that says I am with you, you are my representatives on the earth and I give you authority to represent me well.

If you were an ambassador in a foreign country and every time you’re asked to help and see an opportunity make the country better you said “I need to wait and double check if the country that has sent me will allow me to help” you wouldn’t be a very good ambassador. As an ambassador you have been given authority by the home nation to go, make a difference. In Life we have been given authority by the king of kings to go.

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.’

Acts 16:6-8

The apostles lived with a green light, they heard go and they are going, they are healing the sick, preaching the good news and casting out the demonic. Then as they are going they are asking for wisdom and guidance and they’re then blocked by the holy spirit. They are directed by a vision in the night. The direction came as they went, not as they sat and did nothing.

We’re not supposed to live in fear of being blocked and redirected. We’re meant to have a green light, enjoy the pasture. We aren’t meant to let anything hold us back until the holy spirit redirects us.

Ask for wisdom in the process,

live life not questioning the will of God,

live life with the green light of the Holy Spirit,

rejoicing always, praying constantly and always being thankful.

Free Will V Predestination

This is a great infographic on ‘Free Will and Predestination’. It’s from Cris Cruz at Equip the Saints.  Equip the saints in an amazing website. Make sure you check it out and enjoy the fun graphic.

Freewill-VS-PredestinationCHRISCRUZ

 

Cultural Sandcastles

Culture is constantly changing and reshaping, how are we meant to build something that can make a difference, how are we meant to live a life that’ll last in the middle of so much uncertainty.

It feels a little bit like we are building on sand, that is always going to change. God calls us in the book of Hebrews to be a people that are of a different kingdom, an unshakable kingdom.

We live in an unstable culture.  As we look all around we see huge shifts in mindsets, pressures in society. There is a cultural earthquake happening all around.

I believe that culture is shaking and soon there is going to be a revealing of a people that is unshakable.

Hebrews 12:26-13:8

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Sacrifices Pleasing to God

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

We’re called to be a rescue team reaching in and saving those trapped and hurting in the earthquakes of culture we see all around us.

Hebrews, I believe is written  by Paul in prison to Jewish Christians in Israel.  Before this text was written, the Jews had risen up against Rome, and the emperor was fed up. So the emperor dispatched his best general and the might of the Roman military machine to crush the zealot rebellion.

The Jewish people knew what was coming they knew the destruction that was on the way.

The Jewish nation was about to live through the reality of Roman destruction.

There was a push from the Jewish Christians to leave the sect of Christianity they were being squeezed on every side. Their world was being turned upside down.

photo-1413977886085-3bbbf9a7cf6eThey were afraid, there was massive upheaval on the way. You know what we all need to be ready, we need to be ready for change we need to be ready for hard times we need to be ready to face tragedy and disaster.

We have been called as the rescue team, as the ones reaching down into darkness disaster and pain and being a rescuer. Being a movement of God here on earth.

The writer gives us 4 things to do at this time and in these moments.

  1. HAVE COMPASSION. You are to keep the compassion of God burning in your heart. Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

It is easy to become bitter, to become resentful and angry. Do we judge those that are shaken or do we have compassion on them?

  1. FOCUS ON COMMUNITY. You need to turn away from self-interest and turn towards community Hebrews 13:2-3 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

What do we see in countries around the world hit by devastation? In times of trouble we need to remember to stand alongside each other, to embrace those in greatest need. When everything else is being broken, you need to tend to community. In times of trouble it is not good to isolate ourselves and we need to fight that impulse and build each other up. People want to feel community that is stable. They want some where to call home. A place to find identity to find calling.

  1. WE NEED TO CONNECT PEOPLE TO THE BIGGER STORY. As earthquakes shakes the world, peoples security falls. What they build there identity in, there security in, there jobs there families it crumbles. We need to show people that there is a story bigger than us. As the world around us shakes and falls remember there is a Connection story that connects you to all of the people of God down through the ages, that connects you to all the Christians who love the Lord. There is a bigger story there is more than your here and now. There are seasons coming that you needed to be prepared for and this is a preparation time. Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

 There is a bigger picture here, let me show you. Keep holding on keep moving forward. This is happening for a reason, but the Lord is faithful throughout it. We need to show people that there is a connection story that there is something bigger happening. Something that is not about loss but about redemption.

  1. BE A COMPASS POINTING PEOPLE TO CHRIST. Where do we go when there is confusion, when the maps are no longer clear. I believe as a rescue team we are called to point people to Jesus to give them a stable and secure compass. Be a Compass pointing the way Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever’ follow the one that is unchanging and teach others to do the same. Be a disciple. You have the spirit of God living in you in the midst of a shaking world. We are the people of God. Remember who you are. Point people to Jesus. It is all about him.

Be the rescue team of God reaching into a hurting world. Show compassion, demonstrate community, connect them to the vision and redemptive story, and lead to the unshakable one who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Investment

‘I believe in you’ Is a powerful, encouraging and gracious sentiment to speak over each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  But that statement of belief in another should be backed up with investment in them.  If we love and believe our football team is going to be successful we invest time in watching them and invest money in going to see them.  If we have genuine believe in something we invest time in it.

Time is an un-renewable currency.

It is incredibly valuable. God calls us to be good stewards.  ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace’ 1 Peter 4:10

God has given each of us a gift, a gift of time.  God’s call on our life is to be wise steward of time and invest well.  We want to be people that are building for the long-term, as kingdom people we cannot be short-sighted.

If we want to change the world we need to think like kings, kings are big picture, long term thinkers, they look to leave a legacy and invest in future generations.  We are called to reign in life (Romans 5:17) value time highly, believe in people and invest generously in them.

We see so many characters throughout the bible say ‘i believe in you, I value you and I am prepared to invest in you and leave a legacy that will change the world’.  We see Eli investing time in Samuel, Miriam in Moses, Moses in Joshua, Elijah in Elisha, Jesus in the disciples and Paul in Timothy.  In Genesis we see an amazing story of God saying because of your faith in me, I also believe in you, and I am expanding my name and my kingdom in you.  This is of course the story of Abraham, where God made a covenant with Abram. This is what it says in Genesis 17:3-8

‘Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: You’ll be the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.’ I’ll make you a father of fathers—I’ll make nations from you, kings will issue from you. I’m establishing my covenant between me and you, a covenant that includes your descendants, a covenant that goes on and on and on, a covenant that commits me to be your God and the God of your descendants. And I’m giving you and your descendants this land where you’re now just camping, this whole country of Canaan, to own forever. And I’ll be their God.”

God invested in Abram by making a covenant with him.  He promised, protection, land and a legacy that would last for generations.  God believes in leaving a powerful legacy, He sees you as a king and kings invest in the future.  Use your time wisely, don’t waste it.  Find somebody this month who you can invest time in, speak to them words of life, truth, faith and encouragement, always looking to build them up in Christ.  Invest in the next generation, think like kings and leave a powerful legacy.

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