There are many ways to talk about this subject. I could just as easily have entitled this article what kind of Christian are you? God has made us many promises in His Word. One of them being that we as His children can expect to have an even closer relationship with Him and His only begotten son than Israel ever had with Him (so how active is your prayer life?). So do we stand fast in the liberty that comes with a knowledge of the truth, or do we act like Israel did during the Exodus. They were released from the bondage that was their experience in Egypt and they refused to think they could have Him give them the promised land. Nu 13-14. These were the same people who had daily witnessed the miraculous way God was working with them. Their deliverance from the plagues, the dry land they walked across after the Red Sea was parted, the wiping out of the most powerful Military in the world as they tried to follow them, etc. This story is well known. We have been released from the bondage of the Law of Moses, We are not bound to keep the law concerning the Sabbath day, or food to eat or beverages to drink. We have been given the power to do miracles in our daily lives as well. The laws are designed to be enforced against those who willfully disobey and violate the principles that are at His heart. We are free to go beyond the law and show ourselves to be in His family by making our decisions from the motivation of returning and sharing His love. A talk show host the other day stated that no matter how the government defines it, all crime is a hate crime, because no one is going to commit a crime against you because they love and care about you. In fact what comes out from studies of the criminal mind is that those that the criminals act against are only perceived as worthy of being prey. They are thought of as marks, rubes, people who have somehow wronged the group that the criminal identifies himself with. The rich have no right to enjoy their wealth because they cannot have earned it, but since they have something they must have done something immoral to get it, thus it is justified to relieve them of their unfair advantage. This is not a sound business practice. It used to be taught in America, if you wish to get ahead, you put in your honest days work and learn what hard work must be done to get to be successful. God says work that which is good so that you can have to share with those who need the help Ep 4:28. The poor we will always have with us Mt 26:11, but teach those that are willing to learn how to fish or farm (or at least be productive) so that they are not always in the state of poverty. If you just feed them they will not learn to be self sufficient. These examples are poor ways to express what God would have us learn, for He wants us to learn that we can depend on Him to assist us to be successful with our endeavors/our work, that are in line with His Word. No work is dishonorable to do if it does not defraud others of their just rewards. But work is required if you want to eat II Th 3:10
Knowledge of the truth makes us free so how do traditional Christians live in the freedom they should have? Many spend hours studying Matthew, Mk, Lk, Jn and the old testament, thinking that there is where they are going to find out how they are to live. Although they are new creatures in Christ, they want to live as did the Judeans, starting with the 10 commandments and picking and choosing what other parts of the Mosaic Law they want to observe. In Romans, Paul lets us know that if you think you are going to be made righteous by the law you had better observe every last jot and title of the law or you are subject to the curse of the law. The Law points out to you what is sin and if you dwell on knowing what is the law you end up being the more sinful. The true Christian’s righteousness is by grace not by the works of the Law. You do not earn your righteousness even as you do not earn your salvation, it is a gift of God. We are to live expecting to receive more and better things from God than any of the old testament believers. God was a fortress, a refuge, a victory provider, He directed their steps in paths where they would receive blessings and do profitable endeavors Ps 91 and elsewhere. He is the ultimate physician that gives you health. The vast majority of those that call themselves Christian have such low expectations of what Our Heavenly Father will do for us. We seem to choose to enslave ourselves to one thing or another rather than choosing to live free. Would that more people would choose to spend more time in Romans through Thessalonians than in the old testament. We need to be aware of lessons in the old testament so that we can raise our expectations to higher levels, but to know why that is so we need to know the promises in the new testament. After we get those promises into our minds by reading them, then we have to build our ability to claim them.
Confessing that we have that which is promised is a starting point. (Every morning is a starting point of the rest of our lives.) Action is a part of believing, so beyond confessing that we have what God promises us, we have to take the actions that having it enables us to do. When we are beset by symptoms of a cold for instance, do we set off all sorts of alarm bells and start building a mindset of how we are “getting a cold” so I need to go buy this or that and change my plans and not do that. Or do we start confessing by his stripes we were healed I Pe 2:24 and many other verses that God shares how he wants us to be in health III Jn 2 so that we keep the mindset that we are healthy enough to stick with the plans we have made. Do we live our lives with discipline and practicing healthy habits? Do we then build space in our minds to see God’s ability to heal at work or do we make our condition deteriorate faster by claiming at the first sniffle that we have a cold. Don Gossett wrote a book “What you say is what you get”. If you are in the habit of claiming the disease at the first symptom, STOP DOING IT. Don’t spend time building a mind picture of yourself being defeated by this or that. Build that Mind set of you being more than a conqueror in all the situations you face (Ro 8). God honors faithful, consistent believing.
Miraculous healing is available, I have witnessed it. Aim for that first, but if say your ankles are not restored whole like the man in Ac 3, don’t try to leap and walk on you weak ankles. Build your deliverance in smaller steps if you need to but keep building your vision of yourself as better than the symptoms you are experiencing say you should be. If you don’t hold yourself as being better, guess what, you will get worse. The symptoms will disappear as you stay focused on receiving your deliverance. If you are under a doctors care for some condition , I am not suggesting you abandon that care, if you receive your healing your body will act and respond reflecting that you are healed and your doctor will let you know you can change and/or stop your treatment. Build your belief in the power of God, Not because you earned it but because He, God loves you and wants the best for you. People around you that don’t believe, you may need to deal with, Paul’s thorns in the flesh were just that (people who followed him around tearing down the believing his teaching had engendered), God did not remove the people from the scene and told Paul to be grateful for the grace and mercy shown to him for that was sufficient II Co 12:9. We can’t legislate other peoples beliefs. (A MAN CONVINCED AGAINST HIS WILL IS OF THE SAME OPINION STILL.) As we make our lives to be the shining examples of the advantages that come from being in the Family of God, others may entertain that they also want in and become teachable, but in the meantime build that vision of yourself whole because that is how God wants you to be. Be the best that you can be. Romans – Thessalonians every book starts and ends with a reminder that we are to be remembering that God’s grace is tantamount to the reason we can live the life that Jesus made available Jn 10:10 So live free and with thanksgiving for there is really no other way, the other ways are just ways to die not live. Eternal life is a long time to live but the second death is permanent as well, it is your choice. Details matter. Selah