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If You're His, Stop Living For Yourself

I used to be heavily involved in a recovery ministry. One thing I understood from watching people go from a life of addiction to a life of freedom FROM addiction was that there didn't need to merely be a desire to change, but a complete lifestyle change. Many people want, or may even desire to change, but they don't want to change how they live, and so continue the cycle of addiction. This is no different than anyone else, really. All of us have an addiction to ourselves. It's what we fight from the moment we first draw breath. What is more, the world seems to cement this idea in to our heads at an early age: "Love yourself, follow your heart, chase your dreams." The problem with this line of thinking is that we tend to plow over anyone who gets in our way when we take this advice. If I was more trustworthy, if I was more pure in thought, if my heart was literally right, perhaps, then, I could do this; but I can't. I'm selfish, self-centered, and self-seeking. What is my hope, then? It only comes through Jesus Christ. What is more, when I come to Him, it's not merely to erase my past, but to change my whole future. Jesus said that if anyone is to see the Kingdom, they must be born again (John 3:3). That means a complete renewal. It means a change of thought, habits, and, perhaps, even friends and environments. It's a complete renovation, from top to bottom. We die to the old, and are born again to God through Christ. In other words, we need to live for Him, and not ourselves. Yes, the great commandment tells us to love God with all we are, and our neighbors as ourselves, but it does not say to love yourself first. This commandment requires us to put God first, others second, and then us. We are to love each other with a love that sacrifices our flesh for what God wants, and what serves others best. This is how we become His. This is how we find life that is true life. This is how we follow Jesus, through the example He set for us. Will you join me in doing this? Romans 8:1-11 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

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