New Covenant Reality©

The more I understand what happened when Jesus walked out of the grave the more simple this gospel really becomes to me.

There are catch phrases from the religious days though that can still hit me.  They were used to keep me on the beaten path of striving to be in right standing with God.  As I have come out from under the veil of religion, their meaning no longer binds me.  In fact I see the ability to live as one who is set free.

Let’s take for instance the words from John the Baptist.  The scriptures tell us that John’s disciples saw the crowds moving towards Jesus and went to John to tell him.  It’s where the famous words were coined. “He must increase but I must decrease.”  I am certain John had no idea how out of context these words would be taken through the years.

I cannot remember how many times I was told that I needed to decrease in order for Christ to increase.  I didn’t question it.  Instead I set out to be the best at decreasing.  I didn’t want to take a chance on Christ not being able to increase.  It became another mandate of life for me that left me hopelessly exhausted.

How does one indeed decrease?  How does one know if it’s enough?

As the light sears into my being, my eyes open to the truth of what John was really saying. He was not exhorting mankind to decrease so that Christ might increase.  He was stating a fact.  His ministry was coming to an end.  It had fulfilled its purpose.  He was the forerunner of Christ.  He would preach a message of repentance,  exhorting people to change the way they thought.  The word “repent” in Hebrew means to change one’s mind for better.

In the days of John’s preaching the people were still under the old covenant, the Mosaic law.  The only way that they could exercise repentance was to grab a flawless animal, take it to the temple, have it slaughtered, it’s blood spilled and sprinkled in order for their sins to be atoned for.  A new day was on the horizon.  It is what John’s message was all about. It would not be long before those sacrifices would come to a halt.  A new covenant would be in place allowing all sins to be forgiven from the first breath to the last breath with one-act.  God’s Spirit would no longer live in the temple where the sacrifices for atonement were taken.  He would make a home in us.

The resurrection changed everything for everyone.  The cross paid the atonement for our sins but the resurrection gave us new life.   The old covenant law was fulfilled forever, a new covenant was now in place.  It is in that new covenant that I now live.

In the moment Christ walked out of the grave not only were my sins forgiven but I was given the chance of a lifetime.  The very deity of God would make its home in me. There would be no more focus on behavior as the requirements of the law were fulfilled once and for all.

Jesus says “I’ve been crucified with Him and that I no longer live but that He lives in me. It’s now Jesus inside Julie.  We are joined together as one.  I embody Him.  He fills me. It’s not an increasing or a decreasing it’s a complete and total makeover.  My life is now hidden in Him.

Jesus came in all fullness, once for all, to dwell in me.  There is nothing to increase.  There is nothing to decrease.

We as creatures are geared to a mindset of knowing what we are to do to live out this life of Christianity.   We feel better with lists and 5 point outlines that instruct us.  But the truth is, it’s really very simple.  We accept what has been gifted to us.  It all comes down to what we believe and accept as our truth.  Do we really believe that we died with Christ and that He now lives in us?  That is the catch of it all.

I believe that I am married to my husband.  I don’t question it or doubt it.  I remember the day I stood before friends and joined my life with his.  From that moment on I became David’s wife.  Everything that was his became mine.  It was my reality.  It was what I began to live.

It’s the same concept yet with so much more.  That moment when I gave my life to my God I became His dwelling place.  Christ gave me His mind, and His Spirit.  All that He was and is became mine.

I simply mature into what is my greatest truth.   All of the fullness of the Deity of God is now in me.  That is my reality.  That is my identity.

What must I do to be a new creation?  Live as though it is true.  Because it is.

©copyrighted:  Julie L. Todd 2017

What’s Your Focus?©

I’ve always found great pleasure in watching crawling babes mature into the discovery of their walking legs.  The surprise on their face when they pull themselves up for the first time says it all.  Each discovery leads to the next. They move from holding on for dear life to courageously meandering around the coffee table, to running alone in freedom. Each step is an exciting pilgrimage of life.

I am finding my legs of freedom as I am opened up more deeply to the new covenant reality. Some days I feel as if I am meandering my way around the table ,of this new life in Christ, and other times my feet are running in liberation.  The more my eyes are opened the more I gain understanding into what it means to no longer live on my own.

It all started with a sweet conversation with Jesus.  The worries and cares of this world were hammering in hard. I was reminded of Jesus’ prayer in John 17, “they are not of the world even as I am not of the world.”   It sure feels like I’m of this world most days.  This world system works on the almighty dollar.  How does one not feel sucked in by its requirements and demands?   I could feel the sadness sweep over me leaving me in a state of depletion.  I sat down to talk with Him.

As we chatted Jesus began to reveal to me the reality of the truth in this verse.  “Jewel, you can’t look at things through the lens of this world and it’s system.”  “It never works out that way.” “This world operates on the almighty dollar.”  “We don’t.”  “Our ways fill you up.”  “The world’s ways deplete you.”  “Depletion leads to escapes which just deplete you even more.”

“To live in this world you cannot be of this world.”  “It’s a fine line that gets so easily crossed.”  “The world system demands.”  “Our system gives.” “It’s all about focus, Jewel.” “Your focus will determine your state of being.”  “I came that you might have life and have it to the full.”  “If life ain’t full, then something’s out of focus.”  “I’m not talking about circumstantial.”  “There will always be troubles in this world.”  “I’m talking about well-being.”  “Your focus will determine how well it is with your soul.”

He reminds me of a camera that my youngest had a few years back.  The camera lens kept malfunctioning.  The lens would stay in a constant state of motion, moving in and out of focus.  It hindered the use of the camera leaving it useless in the hands of its owner. Off to the repair shop it went.  Upon its return we learned that the camera lens had become jammed up with sand that had tampered with its stability.

I see the point He’s trying to make as the image of this camera correlates with the struggles of my every day life.

All it takes is one word and I can so easily be swept up into a place that causes me to be jammed up. Maybe it’s something to do with the restrictions in our finances, or maybe it’s the way an employer is treating my husband unfairly.  Maybe someone close to me makes a statement that sends me into the labels the world has tried to place on my life.  The situations are varied but the response is the same.  What is my focus?

“Set your mind on things above not on the things that are on earth.”  “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.” “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”  “You are a new creation in Christ, the old has gone the new has come.”  The words of scripture guide me further.

When the money is tight and the restrictions seem large what becomes my focus?  Do I see the restrictions with money or do I see God?  One will give me hope the other will plummet me into despair.  The world is limited in resources but God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Do I look at the things that are wrong in this world or the things that are right in God?  What becomes my focus?

Things have happened in this world that have tainted the programming of my mind.  It’s easy to live at a high level in those hurt places.  When someone says something inadvertently and the negative labels and programming get ignited in me, what happens next depends on my focus.  Do I see my identity through the eyes of God or through the words and actions of a man or a woman?

I have been given the mind of Christ.  Jesus saw the good in everything because He saw God.

It’s time for my lens to be restored to its rightful setting, as He is, so am I.  I am not of this world.  It’s ways are not my ways.  As my focus is turned to things above my mind settles in where it belongs.

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” Romans 12: 2 (The Message)

©copyrighted:  Julie L. Todd 2017