2022-04-07
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Some days can feel like a struggle. We get weary in the battles, stuck in challenging places, or feel pressure in the heat of hard times. And though it’s true, we can never entirely escape all the mess this world may bring our way because we live in a fallen place, we can choose to rise above. Amid whatever we face, we can remain steadfast, strong, and faithful. Not because we are strong in ourselves, but because He is strong, and as believers, God’s Spirit lives powerfully within us.

Being able to rise above the fear, temptations, and hard places of this life is wrapped around the truth of who we are in Christ. We are redeemed and set free. We are being renewed day by day and His workmanship in Christ Jesus, a new creation.

Many verses in the Bible remind us we are made new in Christ when we accept Him into our lives as Lord and Savior. We’re made new as believers in Him and are continually being “made new,” for it’s a constant process until we are in Heaven. This sentiment means we must choose to put off the old self, letting go of all the old habits, patterns, or sins, and take up the new, focusing our thoughts and heart on Christ’s truths. It requires action on our part to continue to seek Him daily. We won’t just naturally be drawn to always thinking “God thoughts.” Unfortunately, our sinful nature is strong, and the enemy wants nothing more than to make us fall. It’s a daily battle and a choice we must make to walk in God’s ways.

In the book of Colossians, Paul reminds us that we have everything we need when we have Christ. He is all-sufficient. He is the head over all, supreme, and greater than any other power or authority. Because of this, as Christ-followers, we have His Spirit within us to equip and empower us to walk in freedom and light. Here are some ways to let go of earthly things.

Make a choice daily.

Pray and confess your need for Him. Confess any sin you know you’ve been holding onto that isn’t easy to let go of. Ask Him for the help of His Holy Spirit. He may show you things you weren’t aware of that have caused your downward spiral into sin or despair. He may lead you to make better decisions, let go of toxic attitudes or relationships, and guide you into healthy new places.

If we’re not asking for His help or seeking to hear His voice, then we will never be able to set our minds on things above fully. We can’t operate in our flesh, trying to live out His Word. It doesn’t work. The number one way to begin to see things from God’s perspective is to come before Him daily or many times through each day, learning to walk with Him and recognize His power and presence in our lives. God loves us more than we could ever fully know. He longs to help us and is always there. His words of life remind us that He is our strong tower. He promises to draw near to those who are seeking Him and is faithful to see us through the struggles of this world.

Recognize that this is bigger than you.

Sometimes, we can know the right things to do yet struggle to do them. We fail, we fall short, and we don’t follow through. Other times, it’s a battle to trust that God’s ways are better. We might think He missed it or forgot us or doesn’t care or understand how complex this world might be. Or we start to believe that we know better somehow. Like God needs our help to know what to do. We get in a hurry. It’s hard to wait for answers, or we feel like we’re wasting time. And often, it might just be that we’re in such a pattern of “go” that we rarely stop long enough to see if we’re even heading in the right direction, doing what He’s asked us to do.

Choose to listen to God’s voice.

God has a plan for our lives. The enemy has a plan for us too. We have to decide which voice we will listen to and who we will choose to follow each day. If we don’t make a determined choice to follow God, we may eventually fall into the enemy’s trap. The Bible has much to say about Satan’s devious schemes and how he operates. He is a twister of truth, deceptive, and the father of lies.

He becomes very in tune with our weaknesses and will use anything he can to bring us down. Though God never tells us to walk in fear, He tells us to be on guard and live aware. As we keep pressing in to know God, who is honest, who is truth, and we set our minds on His Word, spending time there, meditating on it, eventually we become very trained in detecting the fake.

Put on the armor of God.

God gives specific instructions in His Word; He gives us all we need to stand firm in this life and keep our eyes on Him. Yet we often race through busy days, ill-equipped, unprepared, or simply not aware of what we’re up against or who the real enemy even is. The forces of darkness don’t wait for us to be ready for their attack. If you’re a believer living like salt and light in this dark world, you won’t go for long without encountering obstacles and attacks the enemy will hurl straight in your direction. This battle is real, and it’s intense.

Guard your heart and let go of sin.

Our inner thoughts, words, and even what’s spoken to our matter. It can hold power to run our lives and dictate our choices. All the more reason to make sure our thinking is based on truth, on what God says. Guard, protect, keep safe; your heart – innermost being, which represents the core of your thoughts, mind, actions, and decisions; everything you do flows from it.

It’s that vital. All of our lives depend on that choice to guard our hearts and set our minds on the things above. And when we fill our minds, thoughts, and hearts with the right things, the wrong things won’t have any room to enter. His Word, His truth, offers protection, a guard over our hearts and lives, for our decisions and thoughts. Casting our cares to Him, releasing our problems and burdens, and seeking forgiveness over sin, doesn’t allow us to sit numbly with anxious thoughts spinning. Choosing not to stress or walk out old patterns is an active choice we must make. It’s not about pretending like we don’t have worries, ignoring our problems, or living a life of passivity.

The world will never tell us to live this way because it goes against the very mindset of current popular opinion. But we were not set free to fit in; we’ve been changed to make a difference. Romans 12:2 sums it up nicely, saying, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you and develops well-formed maturity in you.”  

May God help us to walk wisely and live free. May He remind us daily to set our minds on Him. May He give us the power we need to extend love and light to a world that desperately needs His hope.

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