What’s In a Name? Part 1

Today I was in a phone conversation with a friend who was telling me about some people who don’t want to attend their church any more because it’s full of hypocrites. That statement made my mind flash back to a conversation the Lord and I had back in 2017. I remembered hearing someone, a believer, say, “I’m a hypocrite.” This wasn’t the first time I heard a believer label themselves a hypocrite, but it frustrated me! So, as is normal for me, I went to the Lord with a “why” – Lord, why are Christians referring to themselves as hypocrites? Hypocrite is a label that the world sticks on Christians. Why are they sticking it on themselves?

What is a hypocrite? A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs. principles etc. that he or she does not actually possess. Especially a person whose actions be lie (fail to give true notion or impression of something) stated beliefs. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you can not identify yourself as a hypocrite, your identity is in Christ. You are a son/daughter of God. (2 Corinthians 6:18) So if you are in Christ, the only way you can say you are a hypocrite is He would have to be a hypocrite. (Yes, a person who only says they believe in Jesus and really doesn’t could label themselves this way, but I’m talking about true believers.) – Jesus is no hypocrite. He is holy. We are the righteousness of God in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:21) – So what’s in a name? A lot! Because we identify with who we say we are. –

Living Set Apart Part 2

Sanctification means to be set apart; to consecrate; to free from sin; to purify. It is the process of being made holy. Sanctification is a gift given to us from God, but what we fail to realize often is that this is a process that requires action on our part. This is God’s will for those who profess to follow Jesus. 1 Peter 1:15 “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” That is what we should be striving for daily! The process of sanctification and transformation come by the Holy Spirit working in us and He will always do His part, but we have to do ours. In 2 Peter 3:18 we are told to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” Grow is an action. Growing in grace is our increasing in Christ likeness and growth in knowledge is growing in our relationship with the Lord through the study of His Word and placing our lives under its authority.

Another verse that shows that we are to be active in the process of sanctification is Romans 12:2 “Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” If we aren’t changing, we aren’t growing. We are told to grow. We are told NOT to copy the behavior and customs of this world. Those sound a lot like commands. We are called to be set apart, but so many in the Church today blend in with the world more than they do Christ. As we step into this new year, I want to encourage you to be a woman who lives her life daily ‘set apart’! Will it be easy? No. Will it be uncomfortable? At times, because you might find yourself having to let go of people (even other Christians), things, or activities in order to live a life set apart for Jesus. Let the Holy Spirit find those ugly bumps and be willing to let Him grind them down!

Living Set Apart Part 1

One of my favorite things to do is create things, specifically crosses (the Lord’s choice) out of metal. When I create with metal, the Lord speaks! I’m not the best welder so I had to grind down my welds on the crosses (it adds some neat character anyway). As I was grinding the welds on the first cross, the Lord said, “This is sanctification. The daily grinding away of the flesh until perfection.” Biblically ‘flesh’ is speaking to our natural desires and/or our worldly desires, so the image of the “daily grinding away of our flesh” was really a neat picture of the process.

Most of us know that sanctification is a process and part of that process is transformation. If you imagine my metal cross with some ugly bumps scattered here and there – our fleshly desires – then imagine the transformation of the metal as I used the grinder to remove those ugly bumps. It was a process. This process is sometimes where the Church goes overboard in grace giving and not calling out sin because we are all in the ‘process’ that won’t be completed until Jesus comes once and for all. Yes, those who believe in Jesus are in this process, but this is a process that brings about transformation. Transformation is change!

Walking in the Newness of Christ

I’m not really one to make New Years resolutions, but I do usually ask the Lord for a word or scripture to give me an idea of where we (He and I) are going to be focusing for the new year. This year my word is Renewal. This could be speaking to a few things in my personal life, I’m not really sure yet – it is only the end of the first week of the new year! In reality, I could use renewal on a daily basis – I could use a renewal of strength, a renewing in my desire to persevere in the hard things I deal with, and some days I need a renewing of my mind. As the Lord has been talking about sanctification and I have thought about the word He gave me ‘Renewal’ – it led Him to talking about newness in Christ. I love when He reminds me that I am a new creation in Christ! I have been made in His likeness, to walk in His purpose, by His power! I need this reminder, because Satan is always on the attack and I don’t want to be pulled back into who I am apart from Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, ” Therefore, (what is that there for…) if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” Do we really get this? Sometimes I wonder. ‘ Therefore’ refers back to verses 14-16 where the Apostle Paul tells us (believers) that we have died with Christ and we no longer live for ourselves. I came across this in a commentary a couple of years ago and I love it!

Jesus didn’t die for you so you could keep living your life. Jesus died for you so He could live His life in you.” – Unknown

Let that sink in! It is not about us! It is ALL about Him! But so many of us still live as though it is about us. So many of us live as if we are still stuck in our old sinful nature following the motto of ” I love Jesus, but I cuss a little” and other motto’s of the same nature. There’s a problem when the Church is living by this type of motto – we are new creations in Christ! If we are in Christ, if we are living in the newness of Christ, if we are renewing our minds with the Word – this should not be a motto we claim. Instead, we should be claiming, even declaring “I am a New creation! I am created in the IMAGE of God!” Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (1 Peter 3:10, James 3:9-12). The old is gone! That is EVERYTHING that is apart of our old nature – pride, love of sin, depending on works, fleshly opinions, habits, and passions. They are gone. We have to stop dragging them along with us as we walk in our new nature. We need to delight in the things of God and hate the things that are of the world (basically the age and culture we live in).

Sanctification, the day by day process of being made holy, sinning less and hating the times we do sin more and more. Romans 6:6-7 “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.”

It’s time to start walking in the newness of Christ! It’s time to remind the devil that you are no longer bound by your sin! YouTube Chris Tomlin’s song Resurrection Power make it your new motto! – That’s it. StraightUp!

Why StraightUp?

For sometime there has been something stirring in me regarding a blog, but I have never been one of those women who just sit around dreaming of being a blogger. I began praying about this! Asking the Lord if this is just me or if it was in fact Him nudging me to step out into another means of serving Him, a new way of encouraging women and building them up? I just didn’t know.

One night after some prayer time, where I again asked the Lord about this ongoing thought of writing a blog, I told the Lord, “Okay. If this is You…okay, but You need to give me a name for the blog so I know it is You!” Later that night about 2:30 am I was awakened to ‘Straight Up’ – followed by, “So much in the Church is dipped in grace and laced with Truth rather than being dipped in Truth and laced with grace.” That is why the blog is ‘StraightUp’. I believe what He gives me to write will be straight up, direct, blunt, challenging, non-sugar coated words. We are in a time where being followers of Jesus doesn’t really mean following His Word or His way, but instead it is a Christianity that fits the ideas of today’s secular culture. We have our get out of hell card, our comfortable lifestyles, and our grace dripping theology where we no longer call out sin, instead we make up some lame response that doesn’t offend anyone. Here is the thing, Truth is offensive! It isn’t meant to make us all feel warm and fuzzy, it is meant to convict the sinner of their sin that we might find forgiveness and redemption in Jesus Christ. If I am to be a voice to wake up the Church, great. If I am just to share lessons He teaches me that will build up and encourage other women in Christ who want to walk a surrendered, obedient walk with Him, awesome. I am just going to walk this out in obedience. So, there you have it- StraightUp!