Are there times in your life when you say, “I’ve invited Christ into my life, and yet I’ve gotten glimpses of myself not really living the Christian life, and I’m struggling with this realization”?
Maybe you are you still trying to deal with your feelings through “self expression” as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 3:3 (KJV), “For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal?”
Or maybe you’re trying “self restraint” – attempting on your own to “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV).
But all you’re accomplishing is putting a smile on your face to look like you’re loving the person who has upset you, but you’re still experiencing the same nasty reaction on the inside.
This is carnality–strife and division–life “in the flesh.” This negative spirit is captivating you. It works against the Spirit of God, which is love, and joy, and peace, and gentleness, and kindness, and long suffering, and temperance.
It’s important to know where your own adequacy is: what it is that you can do without God’s help, and what you can’t do without God’s help.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 (KJV) tells us, “Such trust have we through Christ to God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”
The place to start is with God. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess ours sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
There is a concept called Spiritual Breathing that can help us to live this verse out daily. Spiritual Breathing simply means exhaling and inhaling like you breathe air: Exhaling – confessing your sin, inhaling – breathing in God’s Spirit, expecting the forgiveness of God. He promises us that if you’ll confess your sins, He will forgive you your sins, and cleanse you of all unrighteousness. We can experience God’s power and presence in our lives if we start with Him!
Take a step . . .
Take some time to identify the sin in your life. It may be pride, or stubbornness, or rebellion, or hostility, or anger, or a lack of love, or insincerity. Practice the concept of Spiritual Breathing: exhale and confess your sin to God, inhale the forgiveness of God. Ask Him to fill you and empower you with His Spirit so your behavior will become pleasing to Him.
This is a summary from Dr. Brandt’s message, Growing Up–2.