Do you ever notice that you often have at least two voices in your head telling you what to do…or not to do? Sometimes, they can get very loud and detailed! It isn’t simply “do this” or “don’t do that.” It can also be things like “Why did you do that? That is the dumbest thing you have ever done!” Then it goes on and on detailing all the dumb things you have ever done in your life! As you listen, you feel worse and worse by the minute.
Or, you may hear a voice that says, “I’m so proud of you. You did a great job when you did ___. You were do kind to that person even when they didn’t deserve it. It reminds me of the time you did ____ and stayed calm when ___ was bawling you out. You kept your cool and didn’t lose you temper. I was so proud of you that day…just like today. I know that didn’t come naturally to you. I know that came as a result of My work of change in your heart.” But it seems that the latter voices tend to be much more quiet and less frequent than the former.
You have those good voices and the lousy one. Sometimes, other voices join in and you can even identify the actual people who are most likely to say those things, both encouraging and discouraging, to you. It’s more difficult to identify GOD’s voice, but in many of our memory banks are Scripture verses that either say tender things to us or harsh things. It all depends how the Bible was used in our lives when introduced to us .
What does it mean to be in Christ or in union with Christ?
The whole idea that Christians are “in Christ” (as described in other passages) or “with Christ” (as described here) is a truth that can be very encouraging. We are connected to Him in a unique way and He is connected to us. It’s our connectedness to Him that resulted in our forgiveness when He died on the cross as well as His resurrection from the dead. (To get an even broader context, read Romans 5 and the whole of chapter 6.)
So as those who are united with Christ in His death and resurrection, Christians receive a new nature. We are now able to not sin at times, because we have a new nature within us. We are now able to respond to GOD and obey Him like we weren’t able to before.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
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.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus…
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:5-11,14 ESV
We are living in the in-between: Between Creation and Restoration that is coming…this is where the Fall and Redemption must co-exist
We are living in a world, with people, in a world, who are affected by the Fall. Our bodies and the world around us are affected by the Fall. There is no perfection as there once was in the Garden of Eden and as there will be in the new heavens and new earth when all is made new. There are still weeds and evil and rust and sadness and grief and the tendency for things to rot.
We still hear those negative voices telling us we’re ugly and won’t amount to much. That we can’t succeed. But the other voice is telling us we are a beloved daughter of Christ. That He adores us and finds us to be beautiful. We don’t have to prove anything to Him. We are precious to Him.
I have been challenged recently to recognize the sources of the words I hear and turn down the volume of those negative voices that don’t come from God. And turn up the volume of those good words He has to say to me. They are true. He doesn’t see me through the eyes of a perfectionist, He sees me through the filter of Jesus, who paid for all my sin and gave me His perfect record.
Turn up the volume of what GOD says about you.
Turn down the volume of what you think others think of you or
what those negative voices tell you in your head.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
I Peter 2:9-10 ESV