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Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Walking Dead Challenge

Many today are not walking in the power God made available to believers and don't know they may be, "The Walking Dead." Their old nature, the carnal man, may have been buried in the waters of baptism. Yet instead of being "raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead" (Col. 2:12), they stayed down under! I say this not to condemn, but as a warning to  us and a wake up call to those who have slipped into this lingering death. 

You see it every day. Christians who are  defeated, depressed, angry, anxious or on the other end of the spectrum, complacent. They are living under their circumstances instead of above. Perhaps, they overcame the spirit of  death for a while, but Satan made sure to knock them down again or lull them to sleep. Their faith may have shriveled to a point that it bears no fruit. So how can we enliven our faith, stay above our circumstances and avoid mediocrity? If you like challenges keep reading!

Colossians 2: 12 supplies the key to being raised from the dead--"belief in the power of God."  This simple phrase packs a powerful truth. Believing, not just inactively, such as  "I believe, passively, in God, but dynamically. "I posses a faith that believes there is a God who is all powerful and is working on my behalf  to bring good out of everything that happens in my life." Not that everything that happens is good. We know bad things can happen to good people, but we are convinced God has the power to transform everything in our lives: the good, the bad and the ugly.   

This kind of faith is the kind that rips apart hatred, bitterness and pride. It  brings healing between peoples and races, wipes out depression and anxiety. It transforms the desperate and the addicted. It is a dunamis faith that explodes within and changes every sin infested fiber of our being into a Christ like image. The word dunmais is Greek and it is the derivative of our English word, dynamite. Like these powerful sticks of dynamite, the Holy Spirit can come in and blow up our suppositions of how things should be. 

It can happen overnight, in the blink of the eye. The Holy Spirit can invade us and imbue us with powers as the apostles were visited with power on the day of Pentecost, when they were gathered together in prayer waiting for the Holy Spirit. He exploded on the scene, preaching the gospel in every tongue to every nation gathered in Jerusalem at that time. It caused a revolution in thought and action and turned the world upside down.

So how do we acquire this dunamis faith? A power so strong that it can blow up sin and annihilate sickness, disease, anxiety, depression, addiction and the like. As Colossians states it emanates from "faith in the power of God." It all begins with faith and how  we view God. Do we see him as an unjust judge or a loving Father who disciplines us? Do we think He is working for our ultimate good, or out to get us?  Do we believe He has the ability to transform lives and is true to His Word? Do we believe He has the power to conquer sin and death? 

When we believe in our deepest being that His Word is truth, and  He can move any mountain He wills to move, this is dynamic faith. It is the same power, a dunamis power,  that  brought Christ back from the dead, after three days being entombed. The word dunamis is actually used over 120 times in the New Testament and illustrates the importance of walking in this kind of faith--the powerful type of faith the New Testament refers to, not a pallid, sickly faith but alive!

This faith  has the power to lift us from our spiritually dead conditions--addiction, hopelessness, overwhelming sorrow, pride, hatred, bitterness or complacency. And Satan knows this!  He will do everything in his power to keep us from this dunamis faith and suppresses the truth. He is after all, "the father of lies." He will deceive us whenever possible, rob us of truth, kill our joy and destroy our relationships. He knows once a child of God gets a hold of this truth, this kind of faith can hit any problem out of the ball park. It can extinguish any flaming arrow the enemy hurls our way.

Te apostle Paul was well acquainted with dunamis faith. It gave him the power to overcome his weakness' and to endure, "shipwrecks, beatings, lashings, stoning and imprisonment." Yet he was not defeated by any of these things, and he went on to write over 2/3 of the New Testament. His letters are filled with encouragement to new believers and admonition for beleivers to "stand firm." He brought many into the kingdom through his words of truth, his example and in  establishing churches, and he continues to strengthen us in active faith.

Yet we are not all like Paul, nor should we be except in faith. There was also Peter, Nathanael, Thomas, John and a variety of other believers. Though different in personalities and presentation of the gospel, one thing  they all held in common was a vibrant and dynamic faith. One powered by their belief that "God is able." He either removes every obstacle or teaches us eternal truth through our perseverance and forbearance that He supplies graciously as we seek Him. In all things, He works character into our being as we allow Him to work in us His dunamis.   This is what it takes to be a Living Disciple, full of dynamic faith, rather than barely hanging on like the Walking Dead!

If you are trying to break free from a weak faith, here are a few power packed verses to help you overcome darkness and set you free from mediocrity or a zombie like faith.:

 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
"For God has not be given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind"(2 Timothy 1:7). 

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus " (Philippians 4: 19).

"So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing  will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). Mountains of fear, anxiety, depression addiction etc.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
 "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins  of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,  buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2: 1-12).

If you take one of these verses and focus on it for a day, after one week, you'll start changing your thinking patterns and will be on your way to a deeper, more vibrant faith. Take the challenge and let me know what happens! 

You might also want to check out Dunamis Faith Ministry.