The Nicene Creed: A ‘Declaration of Dependence’

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

This morning in church I heard the Nicene Creed called the ‘Declaration of Dependence.’ I love that.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

In the United States we talk of independence; in the Kingdom we talk of dependence. This is as it should be.

Overactive Sin Consciousness

We are the ‘righteousness of God in Christ’, (1 Cor. 5:21) which means that by virtue of being permanently united with Christ, we have perfect, unchangeable, right standing with God always.

That doesn’t mean that our mind always agrees, though. While renewing the mind, sometimes we discover that automatic thoughts come to our mind, an instant reminder of something we messed up. It doesn’t even have to be a sin, per se. Maybe it was just a mistake–you accidentally looked at someone funny, or stumbled over your words. Perfectionism attacks and sometimes it sounds like a voice. If we haven’t renewed our minds to understand God’s grace and love, we can think that that ‘voice’ keeping us in line is God.

It’s not.

The voice of the Holy Spirit doesn’t bug you about everything. He corrects, but his correction doesn’t come out of a heart of perfectionism. You are indeed perfect, objectively, in Christ! Your subjective experience, however, might not match what you think to be perfection. But that’s OK–it means you’re human, and God is an expert at relating to humans. He’s been doing that for a long time. Your performance, whether good or poor, is no surprise to Holy Spirit.

We can have a righteousness consciousness–the Holy Spirit reminding us that yes, we are perfect, holy, as righteous as Christ, and deeply loved. Or we can have a sin consciousness, bugging us every other moment with every little mistake. There’s a transition period when you’re renewing your mind where both ‘voices’ compete for your attention. I challenge you to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and to learn to overcome the ‘voice’ of the sin consciousness.

Learn to absorb God’s love in every area of your life. Did you do something that hurt someone? Apologize and make it right! I’m not saying sin doesn’t exist, but sometimes we can have such a hyperactive sin consciousness that we spend all day chasing our proverbial tails, apologizing to God for stuff we’ve apologized for. He keeps no record of wrongs! Learn to let go of your sin consciousness and embrace your God consciousness, and start today!

A few grace nuggets from May

I recently had a grace awakening when I started listening to the audiobook to Mystical Union by John Crowder. Here are a few posts from Facebook since then. I hope to have more to share with you on this blog in the near future.

 


Learning to remind myself, ‘no, God is still good’…despite atimes-massive disappointments that threaten to destroy my sometimes-fragile happiness. ‘It didn’t happen, it didn’t come through, it didn’t work out…but I am still in Christ, I am a new creation, I am still deeply loved and deeply treasured, and nothing will ever change that…so there.’


Worried about money much of the day.

Remembered that even with problems, I still live in the top 1% when compared to much of the world.

It changed my perspective a bit.


Grace means a lot less of,

‘I’m sorry for what I’ve done, Lord,’

and a lot more,

‘I’m so grateful for what You’ve done, Lord.’


 

When Does The Grace of God Kick In?

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It already has.

The grace of God has already been given to us, just as every spiritual gift in the heavens (Ephesians 1) has. Titus 2:11 says that the grace of God has already appeared.

Why do we need to wait sometimes for grace to seemingly ‘kick in’?

You don’t.

Why? Because grace has already kicked in.

When something needs to change in your life, your desires change. You decide, sooner or later, to pray about it and ask God to make it happen.

Because of the grace of God that has already given you, when something needs to change, it will change, naturally. It starts with a realization: This needs to change. Then, sooner or later, a prayer: Lord, please make this change. Then, at some point, the change.

You might need to do something. Ask the Holy Spirit about that, and don’t be confused or in torment about it. God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear, so don’t be afraid.

Perhaps you need to go to a certain meeting or talk to a certain person and get them to pray for you. There’s no shame in that–the Bible tells us to respect body ministry and let the elders of the church pray for you (James 5:14).

Perhaps you need to change a certain habit, such as when one needs to lose weight. (author silently raises his hand). Maybe your eating habits need to change, and you need grace for that.

Perhaps you need to do nothing at all, except continue to pray and wait. While you’re waiting, you might meditate on Bible verses about grace (I mentioned a couple above, but there are plenty more). Pray in tongues if you know how, because that strengthens your spirit (1 Corinthians 14:4).

Above all, know that grace is already at work within you. Trust that God’s grace is enough for you (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that you will get through.

The Restart

Photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash
Photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash

It’s a new beginning!

I’ve been racking my brain to try to get going again with the writing thing. It seems like I have nothing to say and everyone else does! But then I remember that comparison is poison to the soul, and I realize that it’s a good time to soak in good teaching.

This year I’m in growing mode again, after the Lord rescued me from a long five-year period of backsliding and boredom. It’s time to get my writing muscles warmed up again, as I believe 2018 is going to be the year where I enter into–and stay in–a flow of writing regularly. This is just the beginning of a grand year of thriving. 

In order to have something to write, however, I have to have a continual intake of reading and hearing the Word. That’s why I am spending plenty of time during my commutes to and from work and all the extra time I can spend, ingesting Scripture and teaching in order to grow–soaking in the Word. With all this concentrated intake, I know that a concentrated outflow will happen naturally. That’s where true ministry comes from: good stuff in, good stuff out!

Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash
Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash

2018 is also the year of Glory Tribe Atlanta, a new Facebook group I’ve formed with the idea of forming an in-person glory community in Atlanta. There are New Covenant fellowships springing up all over the United States and the world (see the group Kainos Koinonia to find a group near you), and here in Georgia we want to be a part of that. If you’re anywhere near Atlanta, look us up on Facebook and join the group and we will keep you posted on our next gathering!

2018 is a year of grace, glory, and perfection in Christ!