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Next Step – Day 13

Next Steps

How do I handle tough times and temptations?

Some people falsely think that when a person becomes a follower of Christ, he or she is immune to difficulty. This idea doesn’t align with scripture or our experience. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33NIV). I don’t know one region of the world today where God’s people are not beset by trouble (including severe persecution in some nations). Even though I’ve been a Christian for many years, I still face difficulties, wrestle with temptations, and encounter family and work-related challenges — at times, intense.

Here is the encouraging news. Through your faith in Christ, you are equipped to confront and work through trouble in a whole new way, so much so that Paul said that in Christ, “We are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).

There are various aspects of the daily battle you encounter. Today’s topic is the “old self,” or the old nature. (Fasten your seat belt. These concepts are weighty, but very important.)

In Romans Chapter 6, a masterful summary of who we are in Christ, Paul says, “We were therefore buried with Him (Christ) through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (v.4 NIV).

Just what was buried? Verse 6 says, “Our old self was crucified with Him.” This old self is the flawed human nature we inherited as the result of Adam’s sin. Thankfully that is not the end of the matter. You put that nature to death with your commitment to Christ and your daily actions. Paul continues, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v.11 NIV). In other words, you have to walk out what was accomplished when you identified with Christ in His death. (Note that baptism — immersion in water — is the outward evidence of your old self being buried with Christ. The water in baptism literally represents a burial vault for that “old nature.”)

Walking out the new life in Christ is a lifelong journey. In writing to the Galatians, Paul describes it:

So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other (Galatians 5:16,17 NIV).

He goes on to describe various aspects of the sinful nature — all of which degrade human character and damage interpersonal relationships. Then Paul explains what the “fruit of the Spirit” looks like — qualities such as love, joy, peace and faithfulness — which reflect the nature of God Himself. Don’t you want your life to produce that kind of fruit?

Here’s the bottom line: You were given a “new nature” when you committed yourself to Christ. But you must walk out the implications. How? By “walking in the Spirit.” That means you allow the Holy Spirit Who lives in you to shape your thoughts, guide your steps, govern your reactions and correct you when you stray. The old nature is real. The warfare is real. But God has made it possible for you to walk in victory.

Key Scripture Take off the old self with its practices … and put on the new self (Colossians 3:9,10 NIV).
Key Thought Through God’s Spirit I can walk in daily victory.
Copyright © 2006 by John D. Beckett

Walking the journey of Christianity is a process that does take time. During this time that I’ve taken a break from the Next Step devotions I’ve still stayed in His Word daily as I stated in previous posts we’ve been very busy over here. I’m sorry for the delay, but must share this devotion *step, is coming now to me at His perfect timing. A new small group recently started for me and we began be watching a Nooma video.

If you haven’t seen them (Nooma), please do take the time to check them out – I’ve only seen two and they’re awesome!

I watched #8 – Dust with my group which goes along with the above. It takes time to develop into the disciples He wants us to be. But realize He believes in you – He choose you – He has faith in you. Isn’t it wonderful?!? He has faith in you, faith in me, YES – faith in you!

Take the time to enjoy the process, walking through this journey with His help.
God Bless, HL


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