Devotional | Who Are You Listening To?
"For we also were once thoughtless and senseless, obstinate and disobedient, deluded and misled; [we too were once] slaves to all sorts of cravings and pleasures, wasting our days in malice and jealousy and envy, hateful (hated, detestable) and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior [as man] to man appeared, He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:3-6 AMP)
This verse is a beautiful illustration of what happens to us when we become Christians. We receive the Holy Spirit, who sets to work cleaning, renovating and redecorating, transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. As Paul said, it is “no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”(Galatians 2:20 NKJV) Our old identity, the ‘sin nature’ that this verse describes, well that’s gone, finished, dissolved in the wash. Great!!! However, I don’t know about you, but it’s taking a while for this new identity to bear fruit in my thought-life. My heart needs some time to catch on and truly grasp these truths. I don’t look in the mirror and say, "Hello Jesus, good morning!" The truth is, many of us still carry the identity that the world created for us and we can see some of those labels in the passage: ‘deluded’, ‘misled’, ‘hated’, ‘detestable’, ‘obstinate’, ‘disobedient.’ I would add to this any area of sin that we may have struggled with because these issues often come to define us. Whenever we mess up, the accuser is quick to remind us of just how much we fall short of the glory of God.
This is the battle: Who do we listen to? Who do we believe?
Both the accuser, Satan, and the Holy Spirit are talking to us constantly, sharing their version of events. So how do we distinguish between the two? It’s very simple: The accuser is easy to spot because the words he speaks are full of condemnation, negativity and downright nastiness. Some of my personal favourites are, "If you really loved God, you never would have… (insert mistake here)." And, "You’ll never change, you’ll always be this way…." etc. which, of course, flatly contradicts the word of God that we have just read.
The Holy Spirit tells the truth about who you already are: a new creation in Christ. And it is this revelation that enables us to live free from sin. He encourages, comforts and convicts. He also forgives and forgets.“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 NIV) For precisely that reason: we are IN Christ Jesus. We have only to make the choice to believe. This means a daily discipline of submitting our minds to the ‘cleansing bath’ of the Holy Spirit, allowing his words of truth to change the way we think about ourselves, choosing to agree with Him. It also means disagreeing and, in fact, completely rejecting the accusing thoughts that Satan sends our way.
I want to challenge you today, how is your thought-life? Who are you listening to? Ask the Holy Spirit what He thinks about you.