“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Romans 8:7
“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”” Romans 8:15
God tells us repeatedly in His word not to fear. But are His directives not to fear all inclusive? Does God want us to live in fear of ourselves, that is our sinful nature? The Lord revealed to me some time ago that I was terrified of the person that I was. The drug addicted, promiscuous, mentally unstable person that meandered Baltimore City aimlessly moments away from death daily, died when I had an encounter with Jesus. However, there are remnants of her that I must crucify daily. The remnants are named self-destruction, low self-esteem, people pleasing, approval addict, and gluttony. Collectively I will call those defects of character that linger within me, Sunshine. My former self, Sunshine, is bent on self-destruction, walking contrary to God’s word. I am safe from her when I refuse to obey my flesh as it is and will always be hostile to God (Romans 8:7). I am a child of the light and should walk as such. Nevertheless, sometimes I still walk in fear of the darkness lurking inside of me. But the dismal defects of my character are no match for the God in me. My Spirit man is not subject to my flesh but my flesh is subject to the Holy Ghost thriving within me. To a degree, the fear is healthy as it keeps me from walking after my old patterns of behavior, but I am not to fear that old person rather I am to subdue Sunshine daily with the power given by God using biblical weaponry and spiritual warfare.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4
“For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” Romans 6:7-8
Sunshine no longer has control of me. This means that I do not have to live in fear of becoming or relapsing into that corpse. Even if I make a mistake, fall short, or transgress if I repent and turn from the sin I remain free in Christ. It is when I allow the evil desires within me to operate outside of their jurisdiction, thus overruling my spiritual mind, influencing me to sin against God that I put a wedge between myself and God. Nevertheless, even then, because of Jesus blood and God’s grace, I can repent, TURN from the sin and come running back to Jesus. This is not something that we as believers should take lightly. Far too often, I believe, that many of us entertain our sinful desires under the pretense that God’s grace gives us a free pass. In Romans 6 verse 2 the question asked is one to ponder. If we are dead to sin how can we live in it? When you live in sin you are extremely comfortable with it. So, I do not have to be afraid of my dark side because I walk in the light and refuse to live in sin, therefore, I can enjoy constant communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. My previous statement makes it seem as if I am sinless, no, to the contrary, I am a believer that practices sinning less. I do have a habit that I know is not holy. It is a part of Sunshine’s coping strategies. I pray that God will deliver me. It is my earnest desire to be used by God. I am anointed for God’s work and Sunshine cannot go where God is taking me; therefore, she must be killed. Hallelujah, but how can I kill her if I am afraid of her?
“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:1-4
Instead of fearing my defects of character, sinful habits, and idiosyncrasies that may be displeasing to God, I will continue to seek Him and surrender myself to His will. I confessed moments ago to having a habit that is not holy but I said that I do not live in sin. Am I a hypocrite? I think not. Let me explain. I am extremely uncomfortable with my habitual sin. I vape. I used to smoke cigarettes. God has delivered me but I replaced that addiction with another one. I did not fully surrender. It grieves me to know that this thing that I do that relaxes me, displeases my Dad. I do not know how to stop. There was a point when I did not want to stop, but now I want to be what God called me out to be so much so that I am willing to die to anything to apprehend that for which Christ Jesus apprehended me (Philippians 3:12). I pray that someone reads this and is encouraged. God can and will use us as we are. He also will continue to change and grow us as we submit. It is Satan that wants us to believe that we are too messed up to be used by God. What I tell myself these days is that I am just messed up enough to be a message to someone about God’s grace and mercy. Slowly but surely Sunshine is being put to rest completely but I am not healing myself. God is healing me. I am learning to receive healing, comfort, deliverance, power, authority, and love.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” Philippians 3:12
The very parts of former myself that I feared most: chemical dependency, drug addiction, nicotine addiction, prison sentence, promiscuity, marital drama, fluctuating self-esteem and confidence, gluttony, and procrastination are the exact aspects of me that God is going to use in ministry. I am an expert on how to overcome and grow closer to God in prison, among other things because with the power of God that is what I did. Rather than fearing going back to my old self I should be determined to use the testimony of my former self to give God the glory. How about you? Do you shudder at the thought of who you were before Christ? Have you tried to lock the door on who you were so much so that God cannot get the glory from your story? Even with my present struggles with sin, God is getting the glory. I know that I am not the only Christian with a bad habit that is sinful or self-destructive in nature; however, I am one of the few that will admit it to encourage other believers which ultimately gives God glory. I thank God for Sunshine. I thank God for the parts of her that are still inside of me that I must crucify daily as I am a stronger believer because of it. I know the power of God because of the many demons that were cast out of me. In the name Jesus, use the “Sunshine” in you to draw others to Christ. Do not fear the debauchery that is your past and is part of your present. Focus on the souls that can relate to your “Sunshine!”
“They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives so as to shy away from death.” Revelation 12:11
Lord, I pray that tomorrow I will wake up and instead of vaping I will have developed a new coping strategy. Whether it be exercise, writing, reading, singing, anything. Lord, help me replace this sin with something that does not offend You. In the name Jesus, Amen.
Indubitably, there is another side of me
I’m no longer afraid
Sin will not reign here
No room for flesh on parade
I will not fear the sin inwardly
I’ll walk closely with the Father; crucifying the flesh daily
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