Three Areas of Struggle

“For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority. “ (Colossians 2:8-9)

You have been made complete” what a wonderful concept, to know that in and through Christ’s indwelling we have been made complete. God supplies all we need to become what He intended for us to be. It’s all wrapped up in the person of Christ in us, living His life through us. By resting and trusting in the living Christ we have abundant joy and peace.

What a great design for living. God, in His wisdom, removes all the “performance based acceptance” obstacles in our path to Him, and replaces it with His very life living within us. We don’t have to strive to measure up to some religious standard, we just live in obedience to the Spirit of Christ within us.

Even though this is to be the normal Christian life, many of us are guilty of living in and out of this joy, rather than abiding in Him. There are many distractions along the way that hinder this trust in Christ. I want to address three particular areas of struggle that most often rob us of our joy and peace.


Webster’s dictionary defines rebellion as: “the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention”.

The Scripture calls rebellion a sin because it is a deliberate refusal to do what you know is the will of God. It is a willful choice not to obey His authority. It is a choice to do what we want to do regardless of what we know God has said.

When the Holy Spirit prompts us to do something and we ignore His prompting, then that becomes rebellion. When we know the Scripture has clearly commanded us to do or be something and we willfully ignore it, then we are acting in rebellion.

King Saul acted in rebellion when he willfully disobeyed God by presenting a sacrifice on his own, rather than waiting on Samuel. When Samuel the prophet confronted him he told Saul that “behold to obey is better than sacrifice.” God’s obedience is always for our good and to help us live in the fullness of joy and peace.


A double-minded person is a fence sitter. They are like a politician who waits to see which way the political wind is blowing before he takes a stand. A double-minded person often wants to hear what God has to say, but wants to wait before he decides whether he will obey. James tells us that a double-minded person is “unstable in all of his ways.” (James 1:8).

As a committed follower of Christ our only option is to trust God completely. We are to completely give our life to Him without reservation, knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We must trust Him for whatever comes our way now and in the future. We must live like Joshua of old who said to the unbelieving crowd of Israelites, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)


Pretense is an act of giving a false appearance or masquerading to be someone you are not. It is attempting to display qualities that you do not have. It is trying to be spiritual when indeed you are struggling with trying to measure up. It is being a hypocrite.

Jesus said, “These people draw near with their words and honor me with their lip service, but their hearts are far from me, and their reverence for Me consist of tradition learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13)

I think most believers who are pretentious do not intend on being that way, they are just attempting to measure up to a perceived standard for acceptance. To them, doing things for God is their way of attempting to please Him. Their thinking is if I do enough good works, then God will love me. Their concept of God is closely aligned with someone who felt they never measured up to their earthly father’s acceptance. So they carried over the “doing good things for dad so he will love me attitude.” They have yet to discover Christ as their very life.

Pretense is about attempting to mimic what God has already provided through Christ. Because of Christ in us, we no longer have to attempt to measure up, because we already measure up in Christ. Because of the resurrection we are one with Him and the Father (John 17). Our goal is not to try to measure up so we can get God’s favor, but our goal is to now rest. We are to rest in the promise that the Father accepts us because we are now in Christ.

Instead of doing so I can be, I now am being so that I can do. We don’t have to live a pretense but we can rest in the truth that Christ in me is enough. We now live to allow Christ to live His life through us, and as a result, we will do the will of the Father.

Bottom Line

Rebellion, double-mindedness and pretense will rob us of our spiritual birthright. God has provided all that we need in the person of Christ within us. Embrace the Cross by humbling yourself, and giving up on self-centeredness, and receive the gift of Christ’s life in you…as enough.

“Without him we can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Overcoming Fear

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love and good judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7”

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can cause us to make drastic decisions or cause us to shrink into indecision. It can cause us to lose sleep, lose reason, lose our appetite and lose our hope. Like any powerful emotion, fear can control us to the point of becoming something we do not want to become.

Are you gripped by fear of what will happen in the near future? Are you at a major crossroad in your life that causes you to doubt yourself and your ability to make good decisions? As fear begins to slowly encompass you, remember that this fear is not from God, it’s from the enemy. The enemy desires for you to abandon your hope and cease trusting God.

The reality of trusting God only comes into play when you are faced with overwhelming circumstances and fear. Then you have to choose and take control. Will you acknowledge that this fear is from the enemy and cast it aside and trust God? Or will you let the enemy get into your head and render you useless?

Paul told Timothy (paraphrased) “The fear that you are feeling right now is not from God, it is from the devil. Instead of believing the lies that fear produces, believe God. He has given you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind”. That means that Christ has given you the power to overcome the fear, the love of God to assure you that He is in control, and a sound mind to make good decisions, even in the midst of doubt.

The key to overcoming doubt and fear is to have more confidence in the Lord’s ability to lead you than you have in the devil’s ability to deceive you. Trust the inner peace and cast aside the doubt and fear.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20)

Stewardship of the Mind

During most of my Christian life nearly every sermon or lesson I heard on the subject of stewardship had to do with money. So to me, spiritual stewardship was about our relationship to money. It wasn’t till years later that I realized that our relationship to money was only a part of spiritual stewardship. Biblical stewardship relates to every area of our life.

Giving money, reading your Bible and regularly meeting with believers is just part of our spiritual stewardship. I have met numerous believers who were tithers and faithful church members but their lives were a mess. I think part of the reason is they neglected the necessity of being a good steward in all areas of their life.

One of the major areas of neglect is in the area of setting our mind. Our mind is a wonderful gift from God. Our mind has the ability to create, reason, compute and to dream great things. When we become a follower of Christ our life changes and we have a brand new nature (2 Cor. 5:17), but our mind needs to be developed to think consistent with our new nature. Theologically, that’s called the act of sanctification. It is up to us to be a good steward of our mind and learn to think with the mind of Christ ( 1 Cor. 2;16). If we don’t intentionally set our mind upon truth, then our mind will naturally go the way of the flesh and the culture. The Scripture admonishes us to set our mind on things above in Colossians 3.

In this devotional I want to address four hindrances to good stewardship of our mind.

Worry – Worry begins with little things, things that seem insignificant. But if those little worries are left unchecked a pattern of worry will develop, and soon worry becomes a way of life. As a follower of Jesus, there are many reasons for us to avoid falling into the worry trap. First of all, if God takes care of the flowers and the birds, He will take care of us. (Matthew 6:25-34) Also, the Scripture tells us to be “anxious for nothing” in Philippians 4. Worry is our acknowledgement that we don’t believe what God says applies to us. We must learn to bring everything to God in prayer and trust Him to give us wisdom and strength to face every issue of life. Bottom line, you can choose to worry or you can choose to trust God.

Indifference – This is a slippery slope and a very serious place to be as a committed follower of Christ. Indifference is tied to the principle of fence sitting. For some it is a safe place to be, but the decision to be indifferent is really based on fear. The Bible speaks about indifference in the book of Revelation when it refers to the church of Laodicea. Jesus said, “Because you are neither cold nor hot I will spit you out of my mouth. “ (Rev. 3) The Scripture teaches anything less than radical trust in God is lukewarm. When we are indifferent in our commitment to Christ it affects every other area of our life. We become indifferent about our relationships, about opportunity, our job, and about hard decisions we need to make. Indifference is a choice of the mind. If you are a fence sitter, get off the fence and get back in the game.

Indecision – Motivational speaker Jim Rohne said, “Indecision is the thief of opportunity.” I can’t tell you how many times that indecision has caused me to miss an opportunity to share my faith or give comfort and care to someone who needed an encouraging word. It has also cost me to miss out on a business opportunity or two. Indecision sometimes causes us to over-think a situation and causes us to not trust the voice of God. Is your indecision based on fear or a lack of wisdom?

Doubt – Doubt is tied to indecision and fear. We ought to be cautious and careful to weight our decisions with logic, but you can’t let doubt take over your life. Once doubt sets in you doubt the past, the present, and then the future. This is where setting your mind on truth is essential. When you surrender your rights and expectations to the Lord and begin to rest in Christ’s love, your legitimate doubts will become a red flag and your unfounded doubts will flee. The Scripture says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Proper stewardship of the mind begins by giving our worry to God, trading in our indifference for positive faith, then casting our indecision and doubt aside by putting our trust in God.

The Pivotal Moment

For three years the Disciple’s lives had been consumed with ministry. Not so much a physical ministry of hands one ministry, but one of learning. They had been in a spiritual laboratory, sitting at Jesus’ feet watching, listening and sensing the love of God in its purity, power and holiness. Then as they daily walked with Jesus they observed Him in action, loving the unlovely and drawing people to God. Jesus was an example of a man perfectly submitted to the will of God and filled with the Holy Spirit.

If there was ever a job you couldn’t wait to get up to every morning, walking with Jesus everyday was such a job. Watching Jesus heal the deaf, raise the dead, make the cripple walk and love the socially cast-out sinner had to be the greatest job ever.

Initially the disciples believed that Jesus was going to physically restore His kingdom on earth now. They thought they were going to be delivered from the dominion of the Roman government. Apparently the masses also believed that. When Jesus taught about being the bread of life the Scripture says, “…many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.” Jesus then asked His twelve disciples, “do you not want to go away also?” (John 6)

Yet another pivotal moment was about to occur in the life of the disciples. The more they walked with Jesus the more they began to realize that Jesus didn’t come to earth to destroy the Roman government. He came to set the spiritually captive free and give eternal life to all who believed.

This next pivotal moment began to unfold when Jesus started praying what the Lord’s Prayer in John 17. Picture this moment in your mind as Jesus started to pray. This was the time when Jesus and His band of disciples were at the height of their popularity, great miracles were occurring, the masses were following them, and then Jesus begins to pray.

“…the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee…I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you have given me to do. Now glorify me together with yourself, Father, with the glory which I had with you before the world was…and I am no more in this world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in your name…but now I come to you; (John 17)

I don’t believe the eyes of the disciples were reverently closed at this moment, agreeing with the Jesus in His prayer, saying “amen, so be it Lord”. I think they were wide-eyed, looking at each other, shrugging their shoulders, wondering what this prayer meant.

Yet, looking back at this event after the resurrection they realized that this was a major pivotal moment in their life. This pivotal moment would become the very foundation doctrinal teaching of God’s grace.They also remembered the rest of this prayer recorded in John 17;

“20″I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. “

The extraordinary truth that Jesus revealed to them is a new concept of relationship prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah several centuries earlier. This was a promise that God would personally indwell them and would be always with them, and in them. This good news is this promise is not just for the Apostles but also for us today.(Jeremiah 31:31-33)

20″I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

God’s desire for us is that we live out of and enjoy our union with Christ. Because we are placed in Christ, and Christ is placed in us at salvation, we came into a divine union relationship with God.

What’s my point? For every pivotal point in our life, God is there with a revelation of Himself. If you undergoing a season of doubt, fear, suffering, or testing, remember that this is a pivotal point where more than likely, God is giving you a new revelation of his goodness and his glory.