Keeping On Track

ontrack

A friend wrote to me:

“Regarding the Exchanged Life, have you thought about how easy it might be to sort of slip over the line into performance again? I’m struggling there again. I know Christ does the living through me as I yield to Him, but the times that it is flesh and not Christ is because I have taken over again, so I have goofed up… that has slipped into me evaluating the Exchanged Life again in terms of performance. Do you understand where I’m coming from?”[1]

I have found that there is still a tendency to revert to a self-orientation even after experiencing the “paradigm shift” of Galatians 2:20. My associate, Dr. Charles Solomon observed,

“Identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, or the abundant life, is not sinless perfection. The self-life has not been dealt with permanently as has the old man [the “old man” is the unregenerate human spirit, Rom. 6:6; Eph. 2:1]. When we fail to reckon upon our resources in Christ and instead begin again to control our lives, the flesh and the symptoms connected with it are to be contended with. The symptoms may be in the form of depression, anxiety, frustration, defeat, old obsessions, pride, and various forms of mental or emotional symptoms such as neuroses and psychoses. Or, to relate the symptoms to spiritual terminology, the works of the flesh . . .” [2]

We should watch out for stumbling blocks which could get us off track rather than focusing upon Christ as our Life (Rom. 5:10).

Beware of peer pressure. Even Christian fellowship can trigger unhealthy comparisons and competition. For example, the apostle Peter withdrew from eating with his Gentile fellow believers when members of the Jerusalem church arrived (Gal. 2:11,13). If peer pressure can cause us to view others according to the flesh, it can cause us to view ourselves apart from our identity in Christ also.

Beware of legalistic teaching. If Bible teachers have a works orientation to Christian living, we are liable to shift our focus off of the dynamic of Christ living through us. Remember why Paul needed to correct the Galatian believers (Gal 3:1-3).

Beware worldy values. We can revert to evaluating our lives by the world’s temporal value system, instead of focusing on our glorious position in God’s kingdom (Rom. 12:1,2; Col. 1:13).

The episode of Peter walking on the water to Jesus is so instructive to us (Matt. 14:22-33). As long as we keep looking unto Jesus as our Savior, Lord, Sanctifier and Life-Giver, we can walk supernaturally. If we allow self to gain control, or permit our faith’s focus to be distracted from Christ, then–like Peter–we begin to sink. Praise God that He is there to lift us up again when we reaffirm our trust in His all-sufficient strength and grace!

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1,2).

Let’s keep on track by looking unto Jesus continually!

Our Father we are so prone to let our focus stray from Your total provision for us in Christ. Guard us from unhealthy peer pressure, legalistic teaching, and temporal values. We rejoice that our life is hid with Christ in You. Amen.


[1] Used by permission.

[2] The Ins and Outs of Rejection, p.197.

Copyright by John Woodward, 1998, 2012. Permission if granted to reprint this article for noncommercial use if source credit is given to the author and Grace Notes. Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version (copyright by Thomas Nelson).

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Copyright, John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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